ALBANY, NY (May 10, 2011)-Senator Greg Ball (R, C Westchester/Dutchess/Putnam), Chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, today released the preliminary report from the first in his series of public hearings “To Determine the State of Security in New York, Ten Years after 9/11.”
In response to the expert testimony heard at the April 8th hearing, Senator Ball has introduced several key pieces of legislation meant to fix issues and vulnerabilities brought to the attention of the committee, which will improve the state’s overall security, as well as enhance the ability of state agencies and first responders to react if an emergency does arise.
Senator Ball Chaired a meeting of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee today, where a range of measures were discussed. Including legislation which addresses core infrastructure issues, calling for the improvement of security measures at rail yards, as well as imposing stricter regulations on foreign agencies with contracts to operate out of New York’s ports.
Senator Ball explained,“ New York has one of the largest coastlines in the United States, our economy and transportation network is tied directly to water and shipping, S5304 addresses major security risk factors in two ways. Requiring a thorough background check and screening of all employees working with a foreign corporation, ensures that all persons working at our port facilities do not pose a security risk. As well as prohibiting foreign contractors from engaging in construction/modification or maintenance of port facilities or port equipment, which alleviates the major security risks associated with foreign knowledge and access to the physical layouts and vulnerabilities of our port facilities.”
The Senator also passed through the committee an initiative aimed at eliminating red tape and getting municipalities federal homeland security dollars as quickly and efficiently as possible. S 5273 creates an exemption from the State Comptroller’s pre audit process for homeland security purchases being made by state and local governments, that are being paid for by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Any funds that New York State or its municipalities receive through Federal Homeland security funds are already subject to substantial screening, internal controls, and strict reporting requirements. Requiring purchases to go through similar procedures at the state level, creates a needless administrative obstacle extending the process for months.
The committee also passed Senator Ball’s legislation S5270 and S5294, creating strict penalties for persons and organizations who obtain funds for terrorist organizations through acts of credit card fraud and money laundering. (will insert specific info on not-for-profit bill)
Senator Ball remarked “On April 8th we learned that security in New York at key locations and targets was either lax or nonexistent. Many in the media attacked the hearings, yet many of our insights and recommendations have taken root, since the hearing. Security has been upgraded on both JFK Air Train and at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and while we still are not where we need to be, our hearing have exposed core weaknesses. My goal is to now put the full weight of our committee and of this legislature behind securing our soft and exposed underbelly.”
The Senator will be holding the second installment of his series of public hearing “To Determine the State of Security in New York, Ten Years after 9/11,” on June 14th 2011 in Hearing Room A of the LOB.
Below you will find a complete list of the legislation passed through the committee today:
S5269- will provide uniform rules and regulations regarding truck rentals
S5270-will provide stricter regulation and penalties against soliciting for or providing financial support to a terrorist organization
S5273- creates an exemption from the State Comptroller’s pre audit process for homeland security purchases being made by state and local governments, that are being paid for by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
S5275-directs the state office of homeland security to review and tighten security measures at rail yards
S5298- requires that any private security guard company or service are approved to provide those services by the division of homeland security
S5304- requires a thorough background check and screening of all employees working with a foreign corporation, ensures that all persons working at our port facilities do not pose a security risk. As well as prohibiting foreign contractors from engaging in construction/modification or maintenance of port facilities or port equipment.
S5305-exempts first responders from civil liability when rendering emergency medical care during a state declaration of a disaster or emergency, excluding cases of gross negligence