Iowa legislative liaison provides update on key initiatives

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Legislative Liaison John Benson recently said that two of the department's initiatives have moved through the first funnel of the legislature, and are still part of the discussion for this session.

Benson said Senate File 2232/House Study Bill 595, which would create a statewide emergency messaging system, was recognized by the governor as a beneficial system and increased the department's budget request to provide state funding.

The second bill, House File 2362/ Senate Study Bill 3102, would allow the governor to enter into interstate memorandums of understanding when emergency response does not warrant an emergency proclamation.

Benson said the department is also in support of HF 2043, which would allow townships to provide monetary support to purchase outdoor warning systems.

Another emergency planning bill going through the legislature is SF 376, which would "allow architects to participate in disaster assessment teams that would supplement and aid local efforts during disasters," according to Benson.

The legislative update included information on a number of bills that provide more allowances and resources for emergency management and homeland security. Benson said three bills deal with the operation of drones, and two bills appropriate funding to the Low Income Heating Assistance Program with regard to rising propane costs.