Drones versus Privacy Advocates in California

17 12 2012

I recently posted an item about the use of drones by local municipalities, especially by first responders.  Today, I ran across the article below indicating that some individuals have great concerns about the use of drones by local governments.  The location of this dispute is in Alameda County, California.  As published by the Homeland Security News Wire, December 17, 2012:

Congress earlier this year passed legislation  ordering the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to accelerate the approval of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for law enforcement and other domestic purposes, and law enforcement agencies around the country are moving to purchase drones. Some months ago  Alameda County sheriff Gregory Ahern said the county would purchase a drone to help with “emergency response.” According to Ahern, Alameda Sheriff’s personnel tested a UAV late last year and gave a public demonstration of the machine’s usefulness for emergency responses during the Urban Shield SWAT competition in late October.

Not everybody is happy with the domestic use of UAVs.  Arstechnica reports that Sheriff Ahern and his staff will have to wait to buy their drone  as the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-Norcal) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), have forced the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to pull a last minute agenda item from their meeting earlier this month which would have approved $31,646 in grant money from the California Emergency Management Administration. The ACLU-Norcal and the EFF are accusing Sheriff Ahern of attempting of securing funding for the drone without public scrutiny.

“Public policy shouldn’t be made by stealth attack,” ACLU-Norcal attorney Linda Lye told Arstechnica. Ahern denied trying to hide the purchase of the drone from the the public, and in  an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle claimed the UAV would not be used for blanket surveillance, as feared by opponents.

“This device is used for mission-specific incidents. We strive to gain the public’s trust in everything we do, and I would never do anything of this nature that would destroy the public’s trust beyond repair,” Ahern told the Chronicle. Documents obtained by the EFF say otherwise.

The documents show that sheriff department personnel have other intentions on how they would use the drone. A memo written by Captain Tom Madigan of the County Sheriff’s office in July, say potential uses for the drone include a range of policing uses that are exactly what concerns the ACLU-Norcal and EFF.

The memo reads:  The Alameda County Tactical Commanders were consulted, a regional group of SWAT team commanders throughout the County of Alameda. A UAV would be valuable to assist with barricaded suspects, surveillance (investigative and tactical) perimeters, intelligence gathering, rough terrain, suspicious persons, large crowd control disturbances, etc.

“UAVs have unprecedented capabilities to infringe on our civil liberties,” Trevor Timm, an attorney with the EFF, told Arstechnica. Timm added that drones can be equipped with cameras that can read heat signatures through a building or facial recognition programs.

Before a decision is made, the EFF and ACLU-Norcal want a public discussion to take place over the use of drones as well as a set of guidelines which would protect individual privacy and place limits on how drones can be used in domestic policing. The proposal would then be taken up by the County Board of Supervisors early next year.

The ACLU-Norcal released documents last week showing that the Sheriff’s office began receiving bids for drones from Aeryon, Lockheed Martin, and ING Engineering.

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Are Drones a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

12 12 2012

The following article was first published in Governing magazine, and then later in Emergency Management magazine.  Written by Eli Richman, and published by Emergency Management on November 30, 2012, the article provides an overview of the use of drones by emergency responders in the United States.  It is becoming apparent that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, can assist law enforcement agencies in a variety of activities.  As pointed out in the article, perhaps it could be helpful in finding a lost hiker in a national forest.  Closer to home, perhaps a drone could have been used a few years ago when local responders attempted to find a missing kayaker lost on a stream in Fort Bend County?

Drone owned by Montgomery County TexasFire first responders could use such a tool also; perhaps for getting a birds-eye view of a hazardous materials incident or major fire.  Think about how valuable the use of such equipment might be as hundreds of responders attempt to fight a raging wildfire in close proximity to a subdivision.  Emergency managers could use an unmanned aerial vehicle for conducting damage assessments after a hurricane.  It would seem to be an efficient way of getting needed information without putting responder lives at risk.  As a matter of fact, it has recently become known that NASA is readying a couple of experimental UAVs to track future storms.  Why?  To assist communities in preparing for the storms.  

For more information on NASA’s use of drones:   http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/hurricane-hunters/

But, the use of drones is not without controversy.  Many individuals have privacy concerns, thinking that use of such equipment is confirmation that “Big Brother” lives and is trying to gain personal information from innocent citizens.  In addition, some politicians have indicated that the purchase of drones with homeland security monies is a suspect expenditure.  Hopefully, any legislation related to government’s use of drone technology will incorporate logical regulations that will still allow first responders to use UAVs for saving lives, arresting criminals, and assisting responders to extinguish fires.

No jurisdiction within Fort Bend County owns a drone.  As you will note in Mr. Richman’s article, Montgomery County does have a drone in their equipment inventory.  What does Fort Bend County do when we need to get a birds-eye view?  Probably, the first request would be to the Houston Police Department; we would request for assistance from one of Houston’s police helicopters.  Another possibility, would be utilizing the Civil Air Patrol (CAP); today, Texas has 3500 volunteer members who are active in Civil Air Patrol.  CAP is an outstanding resource for conducting inland search and rescue missions.  And, of course, contacting Montgomery County, and requesting mutual aid assistance would be another option.  Over the last several years, counties in the Houston area collaborate closely in matters of emergency response.

So, to give you an overview of this topic, please read the attached article.  It provides a balanced viewpoint on the issue of using drones.  If you have any thoughts on the subject, please feel free to make a comment on the blog site.

 

Drones:  The Future of Law Enforcement?

Eli Richman

Law enforcement officials say that’s not their intention, and they couldn’t use drones that way even if they wanted to. “We did not obtain this for the purpose of surveillance,” says McDaniel. “Our ShadowHawk’s maximum aloft time is only two hours and 20 minutes, and you would never fly it for that length of time to begin with.” FAA regulations prohibit drones from flying higher than 400 feet, and they require that drones remain in line of sight of the user. In other words, says McDaniel, if a drone’s around, you’ll know it. “It’s not like its 30,000 feet up in the air and you can’t see it and you can’t hear it. It’s going to be visible to the naked eye, and you’re certainly going to hear it.”

Current drone technology may not lend itself to stealth surveillance, but that’s why privacy legislation should be passed now, before it becomes a problem, say advocates. “While drones are new and novel and everybody’s worried about the privacy issue,” says Stanley, “we need to put in place some farseeing rules and protections that will cover every possible evolution of this technology.”

So far, no state has passed legislation regulating drones, although New Jersey took a preliminary step in June by introducing a bill that outlined warrant procedures for law enforcement’s use of drones. In August, the International Association of Chiefs of Police adopted guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft. The guidelines call for transparency in how the vehicles are used, and say that any images captured by aerial drones and retained by police should be open to the public. In cases where drones might collect evidence of criminal wrongdoing, or if they will intrude on reasonable expectations of privacy, guidelines suggest police should obtain a prior search warrant. Those instructions aren’t binding, but they’re a good start, privacy advocates say.

At the federal level, the ACLU has recommended that government use of drones be banned except in very specific cases. One piece of legislation has been introduced in Congress by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, which would ban domestic governmental drone use except in patrolling the border or in high-risk security situations. The bill currently lacks bipartisan support. While the ACLU says the bill isn’t perfect, its legislative counsel Chris Calabrese says the bill is “starting in the right place, and we’re going to work with him as he moves forward.”

In addition to questions about privacy, another concern is drones’ security. First, there’s the immediate worry that comes from allowing individually operated aircraft in domestic airspace, particularly in a post-9/11 world. That concern was borne out last year, when a man in Massachusetts was thwarted after attempting to equip several drones with C4 explosives and fly them into the Capitol and Pentagon. Second, civilian drones can be hacked, or “spoofed,” by a counterfeit GPS signal. (Unlike military GPS signals, civilian signals are not encrypted.) The spoofed drone thinks it’s in a different place, allowing the hacker to take rudimentary control of it. In a demonstration in June, the University of Texas’ Humphreys led a team of researchers who successfully hacked into one drone’s navigation system.

Regulating this type of vehicle typically would fall under the purview of Homeland Security, but that department has so far declined to regulate the UAV industry. That’s a major problem, says Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management. “I find this to be a bit of a ‘nobody’s minding the store’ type scenario,” McCaul says. “No federal agency’s willing to step up to the plate, and when you have the [Government Accountability Office] saying the DHS needs to do it, I tend to agree with them.” Without regulation at the federal level, security oversight could fall to individual states.

For his part, Humphreys says he’s not overly worried about drone security. Spoofing a UAV requires a high level of expertise and very expensive software. But as with the privacy issues, it’s an issue that almost certainly will be exacerbated as technology advances. “What my nightmare scenario would be,” he says, “is looking forward three or four years, where we have now adopted the UAVs into the national airspace without addressing this problem. Now the problem is scaling up, so that we have more heavy UAVs, more capable UAVs and yet this particular vulnerability isn’t addressed.”

There’s no question that unmanned aerial vehicles could forever change crime fighting, disaster response and a host of other functions. Given the push from the federal government, it seems inevitable that drones will increasingly be a part of police assets around the country. But it’s important to address concerns over privacy and security now, says Humphreys. “Let’s let it go ahead,” he says. “But let’s be vigilant.”





Fort Bend County Regional SWAT Obtains New Vehicle

5 02 2012

The following item is an article that was published online by yoursugarlandnews.com on February 2, 2012.  It provides good information about an effort over the last two years to build a Fort Bend County team of law enforcement officers capable of responding to high-risk situations.  It is important to note that the “Fort Bend County team” is a multi-agency collaborative effort involving the cities of Missouri City, Rosenberg, Stafford, Sugar Land and the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.  Danny Jan, Captain in the Sheriff’s Office, has been integral part in facilitating meetings and getting all the agencies to come together to form the team.  The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management has played a key role in the development of the grant applications required to fund the team’s formation.  By using Urban Area Securities Initiative (UASI) monies, the Fort Bend County Regional SWAT effort is able to be deployed anywhere in the five-county Houston Urban Area should a need arise.  The article below provides more information about the team and the new vehicle it has just recently received:

Leaders of the Fort Bend Regional SWAT Team are shown with the team's new Bearcat. They include, from the left, Capt. Scott Soland, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and West Division Commander; Sgt. Wayne Coleman, Sugar Land Police Department, East Division; Sgt. Kurt Maxheimer, Missouri City Police Department, East Division; Sgt. Brian Baker, Rosenberg Police Department, West Division; Sgt. Patrick Herman, Stafford Police Department; Capt. James Davis, Sugar Land Police Department and East Division Commander; and Sgt. Reggie Powell, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, West Division.

Fort Bend County’s new tactical, armored response and rescue vehicle is expected to enhance the safety of SWAT officers throughout the region.

Known simply as the Bearcat, the newly realigned Fort Bend Regional SWAT Team will utilize the vehicle for deployments throughout the county. The Bearcat, which carries up to 10 people, can traverse a variety of terrain. The vehicle has been utilized by police for barricaded situations, high-risk warrants, active shooters, dignitary transport and more. The Bearcat has proven itself in the field as an invaluable resource in high-risk situations, most recently in Tyler, Texas, where a SWAT team last year approached a kidnapping and murder suspect who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle.

Excerpts from a PoliceOne.com article follow:

The officers were investigating the house of Howard Granger, a suspect in the murder of Benjamin Gill Clements – the son of a former Texas governor. The suspect fired 35 rounds at the Bearcat before a sniper brought him down.  “It allowed officers to approach the residence safely and protected them under heavy fire from a very high-powered rifle,” said Tyler PD SWAT Commander Rusty Jacks, noting the vehicle saved lives and prevented injury to SWAT officers.

Fort Bend County purchased its Bearcat with an Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Homeland Security Grant Program.  According to FEMA, the UASI Program provides funding to address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas and assists them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism. Per the 9/11 Act, states are required to ensure that at least 25 percent of UASI appropriated funds are dedicated towards law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.

The Fort Bend Regional SWAT team is comprised of an east division staffed by the Missouri City, Sugar Land and Stafford Police Departments and a west division comprised of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and the Rosenberg Police Department.  The effort through the five agencies here is also a component of a higher security push in the Greater Houston area with other law enforcement agencies.

The objective of the regional team is to:  1) allow for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure; 2) enable a coordinated response among various jurisdictions; and 3) establish common processes for planning and managing resources.

The acquisition of the new Bearcat is one example that illustrates a year-long effort by law enforcement agencies throughout the county to collaborate more closely on regional partnerships, especially in the area of SWAT response.





2011 Texas Legislative Session – March 13th

13 03 2011

Below you will find a listing of  Emergency Management related bills as of March 13, 2011.    Information about 53  bills is noted below.

The 82nd Texas Legislature will be in session 140 days.  The first day of the session was Tuesday, January 11, 2011 and the last day of the session is Monday, May 30, 2011.  The last day to file regular bills was Friday, March 11, 2011.  Governor Perry has until June 19th to review bills passed by the State Legislature.  He can sign a bill to authorize new law, or he can let a bill become law without signing, or he can veto a bill.

HB 1  – (Pitts) Relating to General Appropriations.  Among other things, this bill would reduce expenditures for 9-1-1 Network by 27%; reduce by 48% disaster funding to state and local agencies when the Governor finds the demands on funds regularly appropriated are insufficient to respond to a particular disaster; reduce by Criminal Justice grants by 55%, impacting the number of grants awarded from an estimated 900 in FY 2011 to approximately 520 each fiscal year of the 2012-13 biennium; and eliminate funding for the Flood Control Dam Grant Program which provides operations and maintenance, structural repair, and rehabilitation needs to flood control dams across the State.

HB 614   –  (Hopson)  Relating to allowing health care providers to provide services across state lines in catastrophic circumstances.

HB 803 – (Bonnen) Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area.  SB 432 is identical.

HB 805 – (Callegari) Relating the requirement that certain water service providers ensure emergency operations during an extended power outage.

HB 837 – (Taylor, Van) Relating to the authority of peace officers to request thumbprints during motor vehicle stops.

HB 993 – (Rodriguez, E.)  Relating to the closure of a road or highway by certain firefighters.

HB 1030 – (Miller) Relating to the powers and duties of certain emergency services districts.

HB 1075 – (Anderson) Relating to the consolidation of certain alert system into a single statewide alert system and to the addition of other factors that will prompt an alert under the consolidated system.

HB 1092 – (Christian)  Relating to the exemption from certain construction requirements for volunteer fire departments in certain counties.

HB 1125 – (Burnam)  Relating to a study regarding the odorization of natural gas transported in gathering and transmission lines located in populated areas.

HB 1147 – (Smith) Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products.  SB 442 is identical.

HB 1174 – (Workman) Relating to the expiration of a county burn ban.

HB 1217 – (Miles)  Relating to a residential tenant’s right to vacate a dwelling and avoid liability for rent following the declaration of a state of disaster; providing a civil penalty.

HB 1319 – (Laubenberg) Relating to the calculation and reporting of water usage and conservation by municipalities and water utilities.

HB 1354 – (Davis, S.)  Relating to liability of certain certified municipal inspector for services rendered during an emergency or disaster.

HB 1379 – (Anchia)  Relating to the purchasing of a firearm from the county by an honorably retired law enforcement officer.

HB 1476  –  (Riddle)  Relating to the grounds for revocation of an emergency medical services personnel certification.

HB 1561  –  (Orr)  Relating to the authority of a municipality to implement a photographic traffic signal enforcement system and impose civil penalties.

HB 1619 – (Orr)  Relating to emergency services districts.

HB 1711 – (Davis, John)  Relating to disaster remediation contracts; providing penalties.

HB 1750 – (Darby)  Relating to the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation to lease and contract for the operation of rolling stock during certain emergencies.

HB 1765 – (Miller, Sid)  Relating to an emergency public service messaging network.  Identical to SB 971

HB 1791 – (Kleinschmidt)  Relating to emergency services districts.

HB 1861 – (Anchia)  Relating to the continuation and functions of the Commission on State Emergency Communications.  Identical to SB 648.

HB 1878 – (Miller, Doug)  Relating to emergency service districts.  Identical to SB 917.

HB 1911 – (Bonnen)  Relating to the liability of certain persons for damages arising from training exercises to prepare the persons to respond to certain emergencies.  Brazoria County emergency management officials worked to get this legislation proposed for consideration.

HB 1917 – (Schwertner)  Relating to the removal of appointed emergency services commissioners by a commissioners court.

HB 1986 – (Turner)  Relating to the authority of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to ensure the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has adequate reserve power to prevent blackout conditions.

HB 2035 – (Hamilton)  Relating to the temporary relocation of alcoholic beverage distributor’s or wholesaler’s premises during a period of emergency and delivery of alcoholic beverages to a distributor’s or wholesaler’s premises.

HB 2040 – (Hamilton)  Relating to critical incident stress management and crisis response services.

HB 2075 – (Martinez, Mando)  Relating to certain diseases or illnesses suffered by firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

HB 2099 – (Truitt)  Relating to an alert for a missing person with an intellectual disability.

HB 2158 – (Coleman)  Relating to a prohibition against the use of a stun gun or taser by school district peace officers, security personnel, and other employees against certain public school students.  Identical to SB 1239.

HB 2239 – (Coleman)  Relating to the minimum number of county jailers necessary to staff a county jail.

HB 2257 – (Phillips)  Relating to communications during a disaster or an emergency by public service providers.  Identical to SB 1238.

HB 2369 – (Quintanilla et al)  Relating to the accreditation of training programs and examinations for certain emergency medical services personnel.

HB 2390 – (Davis, Sarah)  Relating to the types of information relating to emergency responses that are confidential.

HB 2411 – (Miles)  Relating to a residential tenant’s right to vacate a dwelling and avoid liability for rent under certain circumstances following the declaration of a state of disaster; providing a civil penalty.

HB 2462 – (Bonnen)  Relating to motor vehicles used for fire, emergency or disaster response purposes.

HB 2858 – (Gallego)  Relating to the definition of emergency services personnel for purposes of the enhanced penalty prescribed for an assault committed against a person providing services in that capacity.

HB 2979 – (Hunter)  Relating to county authority to provide certain exemptions to restrictions on outdoor burning.

HB 3060 – (Smithee)  Relating to arbitration of certain claims under residential property insurance policies.

HB 3219 – (Thompson)  Relating to intelligence data standards and protected personal information.

SB 9 – Relating to Homeland Security.  The content of this proposed legislation relates to verification of immigration status of person charged with committing offense.

SB 106 – (Davis, Wendy)  Relating to condemnation of municipal property for, and municipal regulation of, pipeline operations.

SB 319 – (Carona)  Relating to financing programs for low-income electric customers and certain other electric customers.

SB 389 – (Williams)  Relating to emergency preparedness during an extended power outage of a water service provider with at lease 250 connections.

SB 418   –   (Williams)  Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting.

SB 617  –  (Rodriguez)  Relating a manifest system to record the transportation of certain liquid wastes.

SB 917 – (Wentworth)  Relating to emergency service districts.

SB 969 – (Nelson)  Relating to the establishment of the Public Health Funding and Policy Advisory Committee with the Department of State Health Services.

SB 1205 – (Jackson)  Relating to the application of the limit on appraised value of a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes to an improvement that is a replacement structure for a structure that was rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage.

SB 1206 – (Deuell)  Relating to medical care and health care services provided by a health care professional in a licensed freestanding emergency medical care facility.

SB 1461 – (Lucio)  Relating to the creation of the disaster reconstruction coordination office withing the governor’s office; creating the disaster contingency account.

For a PDF listing:  billreport 3-13-11

The PDF lists the bills, and includes information on the status of each bill.  At this point, many of the bills have been assigned to committees for review.  Public hearings have been called to hear testimony on some bills.

If you know of other bills that I may have missed, please leave me a comment and let me know!  Thanks to those of you who have contacted me and made suggestions.

Also, please consider subscribing to this blog to receive the legislative information directly.





Discovery Channel airing show highlighting Texas fight against drug smugglers at the border

11 03 2011

From a March 9th Texas Department of Public Safety News Release:

This Saturday, March 12th, at 9:00 pm Central Time,  the Discovery Channel is scheduled to give the public an inside look at the state’s efforts to fight transnational gangs and drug cartels at the Texas border.

The show, titled “Texas Drug Wars” focuses on the Texas Rangers Reconnaissance Team, DPS Aviation and SWAT, Highway Patrol and Criminal Investigation Division agents as they work with local, state and federal agencies and Texas Military Forces to meet the increasing threat posed by vicious cartels and gangs who are determined to transport illegal drugs into the U.S.

“DPS, working with our state, local and federal partners as part of a statewide unified effort, has taken unprecedented steps to protect Texas from an insidious threat,” said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. “This show, which records our brave men and women of law enforcement as they conduct dangerous border operations, gives the citizens of Texas and the nation an opportunity to witness the daily fight to keep them safe.”

For more information about the show, please go to:

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-schedules/series.html?paid=1.14361.26285.40516.1





2011 Texas Legislative Session – March 5th

5 03 2011

Below you will find a listing of  Emergency Management related bills as of March 5, 2011.    Information about 42 bills is shown below.

The 82nd Texas Legislature will be in session 140 days.  The first day of the session was Tuesday, January 11, 2011 and the last day of the session is Monday, May 30, 2011.  The last day to file regular bills be Friday, March 11, 2011.  Governor Perry has until June 19th to review bills passed by the State Legislature.  He can sign a bill to authorize new law, or he can let a bill become law without signing, or he can veto a bill.

HB 1  – (Pitts) Relating to General Appropriations.  Among other things, this bill would reduce expenditures for 9-1-1 Network by 27%; reduce by 48% disaster funding to state and local agencies when the Governor finds the demands on funds regularly appropriated are insufficient to respond to a particular disaster; reduce by Criminal Justice grants by 55%, impacting the number of grants awarded from an estimated 900 in FY 2011 to approximately 520 each fiscal year of the 2012-13 biennium; and eliminate funding for the Flood Control Dam Grant Program which provides operations and maintenance, structural repair, and rehabilitation needs to flood control dams across the State.

HB 614   –  (Hopson)  Relating to allowing health care providers to provide services across state lines in catastrophic circumstances

HB 803 – (Bonnen) Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area.  SB 432 is identical

HB 805 – (Callegari) Relating the requirement that certain water service providers ensure emergency operations during an extended power outage

HB 837 – (Taylor, Van) Relating to the authority of peace officers to request thumbprints during motor vehicle stops

HB 993 – (Rodriguez, E.)  Relating to the closure of a road or highway by certain firefighters

HB 1030 – (Miller) Relating to the powers and duties of certain emergency services districts

HB 1075 – (Anderson) Relating to the consolidation of certain alert system into a single statewide alert system and to the addition of other factors that will prompt an alert under the consolidated system

HB 1092 – (Christian)  Relating to the exemption from certain construction requirements for volunteer fire departments in certain counties

HB 1125 – (Burnam)  Relating to a study regarding the odorization of natural gas transported in gathering and transmission lines located in populated areas

HB 1147 – (Smith) Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products.  SB 442 is identical

HB 1174 – (Workman) Relating to the expiration of a county burn ban

HB 1217 – (Miles)  Relating to a residential tenant’s right to vacate a dwelling and avoid liability for rent following the declaration of a state of disaster; providing a civil penalty

HB 1319 – (Laubenberg) Relating to the calculation and reporting of water usage and conservation by municipalities and water utilities

HB 1354 – (Davis, S.)  Relating to liability of certain certified municipal inspector for services rendered during an emergency or disaster

HB 1379 – (Anchia)  Relating to the purchasing of a firearm from the county by an honorably retired law enforcement officer

HB 1476  –  (Riddle)  Relating to the grounds for revocation of an emergency medical services personnel certification

HB 1561  –  (Orr)  Relating to the authority of a municipality to implement a photographic traffic signal enforcement system and impose civil penalties

HB 1619 – (Orr)  Relating to emergency services districts

HB 1711 – (Davis, John)  Relating to disaster remediation contracts; providing penalties

HB 1750 – (Darby)  Relating to the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation to lease and contract for the operation of rolling stock during certain emergencies

HB 1765 – (Miller, Sid)  Relating to an emergency public service messaging network.  Identical to SB 971

HB 1791 – (Kleinschmidt)  Relating to emergency services districts

HB 1861 – (Anchia)  Relating to the continuation and functions of the Commission on State Emergency Communications

HB 1878 – (Miller, Doug)  Relating to emergency service districts.  Identical to SB 917

HB 1911 – (Bonnen)  Relating to the liability of certain persons for damages arising from training exercises to prepare the persons to respond to certain emergencies.  Brazoria County emergency management officials worked to get this legislation proposed for consideration.

HB 1917 – (Schwertner)  Relating to the removal of appointed emergency services commissioners by a commissioners court

HB 1986 – (Turner)  Relating to the authority of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to ensure the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has adequate reserve power to prevent blackout conditions

HB 2035 – (Hamilton)  Relating to the temporary relocation of alcoholic beverage distributor’s or wholesaler’s premises during a period of emergency and delivery of alcoholic beverages to a distributor’s or wholesaler’s premises.

HB 2040 – (Hamilton)  Relating to critical incident stress management and crisis response services.

HB 2075 – (Martinez, Mando)  Relating to certain diseases or illnesses suffered by firefighters and emergency medical technicians

HB 2099 – (Truitt)  Relating to an alert for a missing person with an intellectual disability.

HB 2158 – (Coleman)  Relating to a prohibition against the use of a stun gun or taser by school district peace officers, security personnel, and other employees against certain public school students.

HB 2239 – (Coleman)  Relating to the minimum number of county jailers necessary to staff a county jail.

HB 2257 – (Phillips)  Relating to communications during a disaster or an emergency by public service providers.

SB 9 – Relating to Homeland Security.  The content of this proposed legislation relates to verification of immigration status of person charged with committing offense.

SB 106 – (Davis, Wendy)  Relating to condemnation of municipal property for, and municipal regulation of, pipeline operations.

SB 319 – (Carona)  Relating to financing programs for low-income electric customers and certain other electric customers.

SB 389 – (Williams)  Relating to emergency preparedness during an extended power outage of a water service provider with at lease 250 connections

SB 418   –   (Williams)  Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting

SB 617  –  (Rodriguez)  Relating a manifest system to record the transportation of certain liquid wastes

SB 917 – (Wentworth)  Relating to emergency service districts

SB 969 – (Nelson)  Relating to the establishment of the Public Health Funding and Policy Advisory Committee with the Department of State Health Services

For a PDF listing:  billreport 3-05-11 

The PDF lists the bills, and includes information on the status of each bill.  At this point, many of the bills have been assigned to committees for review.  Public hearings have been called to hear testimony on some bills.

If you know of other bills that I may have missed, please leave me a comment and let me know!  Thanks to those of you who have contacted me and made suggestions.

Also, please consider subscribing to this blog to receive the legislative information directly.





5th Annual Transborder International Police Training Conference

4 03 2011

In November 2007, a group of 37 officials from Texas and Mexico met at Rancho Río Grande in Coahuila and founded Policía Internacional Transfronteriza / Transborder International Police (PIT/TIP).  In attendance were members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Houston Police Department, United States Marshal Service, Texas Attorney General’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Brownsville Police Department, Arizona Highway Patrol and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.  Representing Mexico were officials from the Coahuila State Police, Tamaulipas State Police, Agencia Federal de Investigaciones, Policía Federal Preventiva, and various other state and local law enforcement agencies. 

For the last five years these law enforcement officers have been working cooperatively to expedite the investigation of hundreds of trans-border crimes.   Just recently, a joint operation that began as an auto theft investigation in Houston, Texas resulted in the arrest of 11 suspects in Mexico City and the confiscation of weapons, 499 rounds of ammunition and 16 stolen vehicles.

The Policía Internacional Transfronteriza / Transborder International Police (PIT/TIP) is proud to invite you to the 5th Annual Training Conference. All eligible attendees will be entitled to receive 40 TCLEOSE credit hours and the opportunity to network with Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement Officers from North and Central America.

Theme: Influencing Policy From The Ground Up

Each investigative agency has its unique transborder challenges. As investigators or prosecutors, we find ourselves thinking “my unit could do a more effective job if only ____________.” This conference will serve as as a platform to fill in that blank and to have those wishes be heard by those who actually formulate policies.

Additionally, thanks to the feedback we received in our previous conference, organizers are scheduling more workshops into this year’s agenda. Topics will include:

human trafficking,

money laundering,

homicide,

fugitives,

car bombs,

auto theft, and much more.

The full agenda will be available online as soon as all presenters are confirmed.

Eligibility:

Attendees must be law enforcement officers and security personnel.

Registration Fee:

Registration fee is $200 per participant and it includes three luncheons. Those who register before March 28, 2011 will receive a $25 discount. Register now!

When:

April 4th – 8th, 2011

Venue:

Houston Marriott North Hotel

225 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. East
Houston, Texas 77060

Hotel Accommodations:

Conference participants who stay at Houston Marriott North Hotel will have a special rate of $89 per night/room. This rate includes breakfast, Internet (WiFi), and parking.

Reserve online

• Call 1.800.228.9290