Two bills at a glance

Name of bill: S. 45, First Responders Support Act

Cosponsors: Sens. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and Susan Collins, D-Maine

Date introduced: Jan. 7

Status: Referred to the Committee on Governmental Affairs

The bill would establish a federal liaison on homeland security in each state to coordinate between the Department of Homeland Security and state and local first responders. It also would direct the agencies within the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate and prioritize their activities that support first responders. An advisory committee would be established in the first-responder community to identify and streamline effective programs.


Name of bill: S. 118, Emergency Warning Act of 2003

Cosponsors: Sens. John Edwards, D-N.C., and Ernest Hollings, D-S.C.

Date introduced: Jan. 9

Status: Referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

The bill, which authorizes $10 million in funding for fiscal 2004, calls for development of a national emergency warning system that can reach citizens wherever they are and provide practical information about what to do in myriad emergencies. The bill calls for development of specifications for a national backbone to be used to collect warnings and route them to dissemination systems. It also calls for using a full range of technologies to provide warnings, including telephones, wireless technology and the Internet; and for the secretary of homeland security to develop and recommend standards and guidelines for universal warning terminology and protocols in coordination with federal, state and local governments and private entities.

Infotech and the Law | by William Crowley

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