Payne Introduces Statewide Interoperable Communications (SWIC) Enhancement Act

Nov 18, 2014 Issues: Local Issues, National Security
Payne Introduces Statewide Interoperable Communications (SWIC) Enhancement Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) introduced the Statewide Interoperable Communications (SWIC) Enhancement Act in coordination with a hearing on “Interoperable Communications: Assessing Progress Since 9/11,” held by the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications where Rep. Payne, Jr. serves as Ranking Member.

“In recent years, States could rely on the Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program to support their Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWIC) and other communications governance structures,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. in his opening statement at the hearing. “But that program has been eliminated. And other sources for Federal support are scarce particularly since the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Area Security Initiative are not funded at the levels they once were.”

Rep. Payne, Jr. continued, “When I joined this panel last year, I was surprised to learn that my home state of New Jersey did not have a SWIC. Now, I understand that a SWIC has been named, but it is one of many hats worn by this official. The challenge of funding SWIC is not unique to New Jersey.  Other States are facing the same funding challenge and, as a result, there is a very real risk that important governance structures that have taken over a decade to build will be abandoned. That is why, today, I am introducing the Statewide Interoperable Communications Enhancement Act, or the SWIC Enhancement Act.”

The legislation will ensure that States maintain the progress that has been made toward achieving interoperability by preserving the governance structures necessary to make the communications technology work. These structures are key to achieving interoperability using existing technology and networks and to realizing the full potential of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.

Please see the text of the bill here and a one pager on the bill here.