Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/21/2002 01:40 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB 235-EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE COMPACT                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
MR. WAYNE RUSH, Alaska Division of  Emergency Services, Department                                                              
of Military and Veterans Affairs,  said this bill accomplishes two                                                              
things. The following is his written statement:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     It  repeals   the  outdated  Interstate   Civil  Defense                                                                   
     Disaster  Compact  and replaces  it with  the  Emergency                                                                   
     Management  Assistance  Compact   (EMAC).  Secondly,  it                                                                   
     updates AS26.30.244 to provide  Workers Compensation for                                                                   
     specific  categories  of  disaster   volunteers,  namely                                                                   
     those who  perform duties in  another state  under EMACV                                                                   
     or  those  who  perform  duties   in  Alaska  under  the                                                                   
     Division of Emergency Services.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC  allows   states  to  assist  one   another  during                                                                   
     emergencies. It  offers a quick and easy  way for states                                                                   
     to send personnel and equipment  to help disaster relief                                                                   
     efforts in other states. There  are times when state and                                                                   
     local resources  are overwhelmed and federal  assistance                                                                   
     is inadequate  or unavailable. Our-of-state  aid through                                                                   
     EMAC helps fill such shortfalls.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC establishes  a firm legal foundation.  Requests for                                                                   
     EMAC   assistance  are   legally  binding,   contractual                                                                   
     arrangement   which  make  state   that  ask  for   help                                                                   
     responsible for  reimbursing all out-of-state  costs and                                                                   
     liable for out-of-state personnel.  States that send aid                                                                   
     will not incur a financial burden.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC provides fast and flexible  assistance. EMAC allows                                                                   
     states to ask for whatever assistance  they need for any                                                                   
     emergency from earthquakes to  acts of terrorism. At the                                                                   
     same  time, EMAC  makes no  requirement for  a state  to                                                                   
     send  assistance unless  they determine  to provide  the                                                                   
     requested assistance.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     While    Alaska   is    capable    of   handling    most                                                                   
     disaster/emergencies,  as demonstrated  by past  events,                                                                   
     there are  times when disasters  exceed state  and local                                                                   
     resources  and  therefore  require  outside  assistance.                                                                   
     Normally  this assistance  comes  from federal  agencies                                                                   
     through the Federal Emergency  Management Agency (FEMA).                                                                   
     However,  not all disasters  qualify for a  Presidential                                                                   
     Disaster Declaration and therefore  are not eligible for                                                                   
     federal assistance.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     EMAC provides  a means for Alaska to  receive interstate                                                                   
     assistance  when federal  assistance is  not merited  or                                                                   
     available.  Even  when federal  assistance  is  merited,                                                                   
     EMAC assistance  may be more  readily available  or more                                                                   
     cost  effective, or  it may be  necessary to  supplement                                                                   
     federal  assistance.  In  any case,  EMAC  allows  other                                                                   
     member  states to  assist  Alaska by  rapidly  providing                                                                   
     their unique  resources and expertise in the  event of a                                                                   
     large-scale   disaster.  EMAC   costs  incurred  for   a                                                                   
     disaster   that   receives   a   presidential   Disaster                                                                   
     Declaration  are reimbursable by  FEMA at the  same cost                                                                   
     share (75/25) as other costs incurred by the state.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Membership  in EMAC  will also allow  Alaska to  rapidly                                                                   
     provide  requested  assistance  to  other  states  in  a                                                                   
     process   that  provides   mutually   agreed  upon   and                                                                   
     understood    requirements    for   reimbursement    and                                                                   
         responsibility for the welfare of personnel and                                                                        
     resources.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  STEVENS asked  him if  the  Pacific Northwest  Emergency                                                              
Management Arrangement would supercede EMAC.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUSH  replied that  they are  separate agreements.  It doesn't                                                              
affect the international agreement with the Canadians.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS  asked if the  Canadians were involved  with EMAC                                                              
at all.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUSH answered that they are not  at this time, but he wouldn't                                                              
rule it out the future. We would  be the 44th state to adopt this.                                                              
There is no fiscal note.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN  asked if  there was a  provision for amendments  or                                                              
modifications  to  the  compact,   since  there  typically  is  on                                                              
interstate compacts.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUSH replied that he didn't think there was.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  moved to  pass CSSB 235  (STA) from committee  with                                                              
individual  recommendations  and $0  fiscal  note.  There were  no                                                              
objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                               

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