Payne, Jr. Bill Included in 2017 National Defense Authorization Act

December 2, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.’s (NJ-10) State and High-Risk Urban Area Working Group Act (H.R. 4509) was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that won House passage today. The Congressman’s legislation requires decision-makers involved in disaster response planning to work together to gain a complete understanding of a community’s vulnerabilities so that homeland security grant investments can be prioritized appropriately.

“In my capacity as Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, I have seen benefits realized, across the nation, from DHS’ homeland security grant programs,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “Communities throughout my district—from Newark to Jersey City—have built robust capabilities to prevent, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and natural disasters with State Homeland Security Grant and Urban Area Security Initiative grant funding. As successful as DHS’ homeland security grant programs have been, however, more needs to be done to ensure those who are responsible for various aspects of disaster response plan, train, and exercise together before a disaster strikes.”

The State and High-Risk Urban Area Working Group Act would:

  • Require any State or high-risk urban area receiving funding under the State Homeland Security Grant Program or the Urban Area Security Initiative to establish a State planning committee or urban area working group to assist the State in preparation and revision of threat and hazard identification and risk assessments and determining effective funding priorities for grant funds;
  • Require State planning committees and high-risk urban area working groups to include representatives from each of the following stakeholder communities: (1) local and tribal government officials; (2) emergency response providers (fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical services and emergency managers); (3) public health officials and appropriate medical practitioners; (4) individuals representing educational institutions, including elementary schools, community colleges, and other institutions of higher learning; (5) State and regional interoperable communications coordinators, as appropriate; and (6) State and major urban area fusion centers, as appropriate;
  • Require members of the State planning committee or urban area working group to be from the counties, cities, towns, and Indian tribes within the State or high-risk urban area, including rural, high-population, and high-threat jurisdictions; and
  • Clarify that States or high-risk urban areas that already use a multi-jurisdictional planning committee or commission that meets the requirements of this act are not required to create a new State Planning Committee or urban area working group.