Legislature(2001 - 2002)
02/21/2002 01:40 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 The following is his written statement: It repeals the outdated Interstate Civil Defense Disaster Compact and replaces it with the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).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.