Texas House Advances Bill to Establish Regional Search and Rescue Teams
With only two weeks left, the Texas House Advances a bill establishing search and rescue response teams in each of the Texas disaster response regions.
With two weeks left in the legislative session, the Texas House of Representatives advanced a bill establishing regional search and rescue teams to the floor vote. The next phase is for the bill to be considered by Senate Committee hearings and a vote by the full senate before moving to the governor for action.
This bill represents one of the only disaster management related legislative actions to advance from committee this legislative cycle. HB 1970 (defining a new disaster victim lighted identification system), 2376 (relating to the creation of a disaster relief fund), and 4085 (relating to state disaster declarations are made) were either withdrawn from the schedule or left pending in committee.
The State of Texas currently operates six field response regions. The state expects for this bill to have no impact on local government fiscal requirements, while adding nine state employees to administer the program and provide training to local entities. The concept behind this program would be to synchronize training and coordination among individual volunteers and volunteer organizations instead of creating a new organization of full-time employees.
With an estimated initial investment in 2016 of $12.5 Million into starting the program (equipment, facilities, hiring, and initial training), it is estimated that approximately $1.6 million will be spent annually on upkeep.
Read the State Committee Report here.