Legislators passed many high priority emergency management bills to address preparedness as well as recovery and response, including bills that withdraw billions from the Rainy Day Fund and that will help secure billions more from federal recovery and flood mitigation dollars. Two high priority bills, Senate Bill 6 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and House Bill 2305 by Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) direct the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to make recommendations to have better qualified emergency management directors, coordinators and other emergency personnel charged with overseeing response and recovery efforts at both the state and local levels. The TDEM's recommendations are developing through work groups of emergency managers with equal representation from small, medium and large counties and cities including both rural and urban areas.
Chaired by Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, the Emergency Management Professional Development Working Group (EMPDWG) is studying professional development of Texas emergency managers. The group continues to meet and discuss how best to prepare emergency managers and what those qualifications and specifications look like. While the goal is to better serve all Texas communities by advancing the emergency management profession, the EMPDWG is sensitive to the smaller entities that do not have the budget to pay for additional training, traveling or other costs associated with increasing qualifications.
The EMPDWG webpage is now live and listed on the TDEM website under Texas Emergency Management Advisory Committee. The webpage displays a timeline of important items including the comment period that is open for public input, beginning April 15. The comment period ends June 15.
Additionally, in December 2019, Governor Abbott's office released the State of Texas Emergency Management Plan for Catastrophic Debris Management, which directs TDEM to prepare and keep current a comprehensive state emergency plan. TDEM also developed the Local Catastrophic Debris Management Guide to assist local jurisdictions in the planning, response and recovery coordination for disasters that generate catastrophic amounts of debris as mandated by SB 6 amendments to Tex. Gov. Code Ch. 418.
The EMPDWG work group will continue to meet in the coming months to complete their webpage and collect public input on the recommendations which are due to the legislature in November. TAC staff will keep you updated on the continued progress of the EMPDWG.
For more information, contact Aurora Flores at (800) 456-5974.