Bill Text: TX HB655 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to a study on a statewide disaster alert system and implementation of that system.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-11-24 - Filed [HB655 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB655-Introduced.html
  87R3722 SRA-D
 
  By: Raymond H.B. No. 655
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to a study on a statewide disaster alert system and
  implementation of that system.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 418, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter J to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER J. STATEWIDE DISASTER ALERT SYSTEM
         Sec. 418.301.  DEFINITION. In this subchapter, "alert
  system" means the standardized statewide disaster alert system
  described by this subchapter.
         Sec. 418.3015.  STUDY ON STATEWIDE DISASTER ALERT SYSTEM.
  (a)  The division shall conduct a study on the efficacy of existing
  mass notification deployments by local governmental entities
  throughout this state and the feasibility of establishing a
  statewide disaster alert system. The study must:
               (1)  identify the costs to local governmental entities
  associated with existing local disaster alert or notification
  systems;
               (2)  examine the potential benefits to local
  governmental entities of implementing an alert system in
  coordination with this state, including:
                     (A)  improving this state's ability to coordinate
  state and local responses to disasters; and
                     (B)  eliminating barriers to successful mass
  notification and communication encountered by local governmental
  entities during disasters;
               (3)  examine the importance of a local governmental
  entity's discretion regarding the entity's level and manner of
  participation in the alert system;
               (4)  examine potential costs to local governmental
  entities or this state associated with implementing the alert
  system; and
               (5)  identify any state or local governmental entity
  actions necessary to implement a comprehensive alert system.
         (b)  Not later than March 1, 2022, the division shall prepare
  and submit to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the
  legislature a report on the findings of the study.
         (c)  This section expires September 1, 2027.
         Sec. 418.302.  ESTABLISHMENT OF ALERT SYSTEM. (a) The
  division, with the cooperation of the office of the governor, may
  develop and implement a statewide disaster alert system to activate
  in the event of a disaster affecting any location in this state.
         (a-1)  If, based on the findings of the study conducted under
  Section 418.3015, the division and office of the governor conclude
  that the benefits to this state and local governmental entities of
  implementing a coordinated alert system outweigh any additional
  costs, the division, with the cooperation of the office and other
  appropriate state agencies and using money available for the
  purpose, shall develop and implement the alert system. This
  subsection expires September 1, 2027.
         (b)  A local governmental entity that chooses to participate
  in an alert system implemented under this subchapter may use
  available local funds for that purpose and may contract with the
  department for services associated with the alert system.
         (c)  An alert system implemented under this subchapter may
  be:
               (1)  operated in conjunction with any other emergency
  alert system required by federal or state law; and
               (2)  designed to notify persons statewide of a disaster
  affecting any location in this state.
         Sec. 418.303.  ACTIVATION OF ALERT SYSTEM. (a) When the
  division determines a disaster has occurred or the occurrence or
  threat of disaster is imminent or is notified of a declaration of
  disaster under this chapter, the division may immediately activate
  any alert system implemented under this subchapter.  A
  participating local governmental entity may, in coordination with
  the division, choose the manner in which the alert system is
  activated and notifications are issued within the entity's
  geographic region.
         (b)  The division, or local governmental entity, as
  appropriate, may issue updated notifications for the duration of
  the disaster.
         Sec. 418.304.  CONTENT OF ALERT SYSTEM NOTIFICATION. A
  notification issued under an alert system implemented under this
  subchapter may include information necessary to:
               (1)  assist a person affected by the disaster with
  making informed decisions regarding the person's safety; and
               (2)  enable a person in another location in this state
  to assist an affected person.
         Sec. 418.305.  TERMINATION OF ALERT SYSTEM. The division
  may terminate the activation of an alert system when:
               (1)  the division determines that:
                     (A)  the threat or danger has passed; or
                     (B)  the disaster has been addressed to the extent
  that emergency conditions no longer exist; or
               (2)  the state of disaster is terminated as provided by
  this chapter.
         Sec. 418.306.  RULES.  The division may adopt rules
  necessary to implement this subchapter.
         SECTION 2.  As soon as practicable after the effective date
  of this Act:
               (1)  the Texas Division of Emergency Management shall
  conduct the study required by Section 418.3015, Government Code, as
  added by this Act; and
               (2)  based on the results of the study, if applicable,
  the chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management shall
  implement an alert system under Subchapter J, Chapter 418,
  Government Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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