Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Proposed Revisions to HR 3283 and HR 4263

As I noted in an earlier blog post the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications will be holding a markup hearing on Thursday that will look at two bills that I have already covered (HR 3283and HR 4263). They will be considering substitute language in the hearing, so it seems logical to look at the changes that are already being considered.

HR 3283

 The substitute language for the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2013 contains the most modifications of the two bills. It starts out by changing the title slightly to reflect the change in the year and it eliminates the short hand name for the new alert system, preferring to use the full descriptive name; the ‘national integrated public alert and warning system’. Note the use of lower case in the name throughout the bill, a more formal name is yet to come.

Some relatively minor changes in wording are made in the findings section of the bill (§2). For example the words “integration, flexibility, comprehensiveness” are added to the description of the expected benefits in §2(2)(A). More significantly there is more emphasis on ‘individuals with disabilities’ in this section; adding §2(2)(D), “an improved ability to notify individuals with disabilities” to the description of benefits. Additionally, the coverage of ‘individuals with disabilities’ is expanded in many places in the bill to specifically address individuals with “sensory disabilities” {see, for example §2(6)}.

Section 526 that is added to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 has seen extensive revisions. In the paragraph describing the program implementation requirements {§526(b)} the first subparagraph was rewritten to explain that the system would be used for alerts related to “an act of terrorism, a natural disaster, war, other man-made disasters, or other hazards to public safety” {§526(b)(1)}. Three other sub-paragraphs were added:

(2) establish or adapt, as appropriate, common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures for the integrated public alert and warning system;

(3) include in the integrated public alert and warning system the capability to adapt the dissemination of homeland security information and other information, and the content of communications, on the basis of geographic location, risks, and multiple communications systems and technologies, as appropriate; and

(7) conduct periodic nationwide tests of the integrated public alert and warning system.

More interestingly, §526(b)(6) from the original bill was removed. That was the only place in the bill that referenced the current National Terrorism Advisory System. It would seem that the never used NTAS would be phased out if this bill becomes law.
Section 526(d), dealing with the establishment of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Advisory Committee (IPAWSAC), has some changes made to it as well. The subparagraph dealing with the Federal government representatives on the IPAWSAC adds the Director of the United States Geological Survey (or the Director’s designee) {§526(d)(2)(D)}. Changes are also made to the non-Federal representative in the next subparagraph:

• Adding a ‘consumer or privacy advocates’ category;
• Separating out as a separate category ‘national organizations representing the elderly’; and
• Changing ‘the cellular industry’ to the ‘commercial mobile radio service industry’.

HR 4263

The changes to the Social Media Working Group Act of 2014 are much less extensive, which is appropriate considering how recently it was introduced. Section 318 being added to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 is being changed in three places {§318(g)(1), (2) and (6)}  to add the phrase ‘other emergencies’ in describing when the use of social media is being considered in the bill.

It also amend the reporting requirement for the Social Media Group to require the recommended improvements to social media use be specifically targeted at the use of social media for emergency management purposes [emphasis added].

The Third Bill

The other piece of legislation has now been given the bill number HR 4289, the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act. I have not yet had a chance to completely review the committee draft of that bill. It will be done before the Thursday hearing.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */