Payne Legislation Passes in Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee

May 14, 2015 Issues: Local Issues, National Security
Payne Legislation Passes in Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee

Washington, D.C. – Legislation introduced by Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) to improve interoperable communications for first responders has passed the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications with unanimous bipartisan support. The State Wide Interoperable Communications Enhancement Act or SWIC Enhancement Act (H.R. 2206) will now advance to the full Committee on Homeland Security for consideration.

Congressman Payne, Jr.’s legislation requires states to have a Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC) or to delegate activities related to achieving interoperability to other individuals.

“The derailment of Amtrak train 188 serves as an important reminder that equipping our first responders with the tools they need to do their jobs is not a Democratic or a Republican priority; it’s an American priority,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “Responding quickly and effectively to emergencies requires robust and ongoing communication between emergency personnel across all levels of government.”

“This coordination is possible because of SWICs, who have the experience and strategic vision needed to educate, train, and connect first responders with one another,” added Congressman Payne, Jr. “Without a coordinating body responsible for guiding interoperability efforts, states undermine any gains they have made in emergency communications.”

SWICs work with emergency personnel across all levels of government, guiding the education and training of first responders and communications staff. They are also responsible for leading all coordination efforts, including statewide planning, and developing a strategic vision for interoperability.

The SWIC Enhancement Act is cosponsored by Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (MS-2), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security; Congresswoman Martha McSally (AZ-2), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications; and Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

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