The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Monday, August 26, 2002, at 1:00 PM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Dan Seum, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Dan Seum, Co-Chair; Senators Tom Buford, Paul Herron Jr, David K. Karem, Gerald Neal, Joey Pendleton, Albert Robinson, Richard Roeding, Tim Shaughnessy, Katie Stine, Elizabeth Tori, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Sheldon Baugh, Carolyn Belcher, Larry Belcher, Kevin Bratcher, Tom Burch, Bob DeWeese, Danny Ford, Gippy Graham, Fred Nesler, Steve Riggs, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Dottie Sims, Jim Thompson, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Donna Moore, R. Ball, Mark McChesney, Eric Scott, Mark Farrow, Cathy Allgood Murphy, Bert May, William Bowker, and Marty Whip.
LRC Staff: Clint Newman, Scott Varland, Mike Bennett, and Wanda Gay-Hollon.
Senator Dan Seum, Co-Chair, opened the meeting by announcing that Representative Mike Weaver, Co-Chair, could not be present due to the death of his brother Roy Weaver.
Senator Seum said that this was the first meeting of the committee that he had chaired, and that he was very proud to be chosen to serve as chairman. He said that as a person who believes in God and country he wanted to start the meeting off with an opening prayer. He asked Senator Albert Robinson to lead the committee in prayer.
Senator Seum asked Representative Kevin Bratcher to lead the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Senator Seum announced that Clint Newman, Committee Staff Administrator, had decided to retire, and a Resolution honoring Clint for his service had been prepared. He then read the Resolution to the committee. Representative Tom Burch made a motion to accept the Resolution. Senator Paul Herron seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Representative Tom Burch recommended that a Resolution be prepared to honor the memory of Representative Mike Weaver's brother. Senator Dick Roeding seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Senator Seum introduced Scott Varland to the committee and informed members that Mr. Varland would be serving as the Committee Staff Administrator upon Clint Newman's retirement. The committee then welcomed Mr. Varland.
Senator Seum called the members' attention to a document in their meeting packets explaining the committee's jurisdiction and the differences between the Senate and House jurisdictions.
Senator Seum asked members to make known any issues that need to be addressed by the committee in the future. Representative Charles Siler said that he believed that the junior ROTC programs in schools throughout the state are in jeopardy because of the limit on electives and the failure to award credits that meet the graduation requirement. Representative Siler asked the committee to address this issue.
Senator Elizabeth Tori suggested the committee should receive quarterly reports from the Veterans' Administration hospitals. These reports are important, because the hospitals frequently undergo major changes.
Senator Dick Roeding suggested that utilities be included under the committee's jurisdiction.
Senator Seum called the members' attention to a form in their meeting packets which members were asked to complete to indicate their preferences for subcommittee assignments.
Senator Seum announced his choices for co-chairs of the subcommittees. Senator Albert Robinson would chair the Subcommittee on Military Affairs and Public Protection. Senator Elizabeth Tori would chair the Subcommittee on Seniors and Veterans.
Senator Seum said Representative Mike Weaver would announce his choice for House co-chairs in the near future.
Senator Seum asked Virginia Fox, Executive Director, Kentucky Educational Television, to speak to the committee on datacasting emergency information. Ms. Fox gave a history of Kentucky Educational Television (KET) and spoke about KET's broadcast capabilities. She stated that KET switched from analog to digital broadcasting in August of 1999 to meet the Federal Communications Commission's deadline for public TV conversion. As a result of switching to digital broadcasting, KET has the capability to transmit emergency information data to television sets, personal computers, and network servers throughout the state.
Representative Sheldon Baugh asked if datacasting emergency information could be transmitted to older television sets or if people would need to purchase a new, very costly, digital television to be able to receive datacasting. Mike Clark, KET Program Operations Director, responded by saying that a converter would be needed for older television sets.
Representative Danny Ford asked how much a converter would cost for a television set. Virginia Fox responded by saying that the converter would cost between three hundred and six hundred dollars. She noted that two converters would be needed, one for television sets and one for personal computers. The cost of the converter for the personal computer would be between two hundred and three hundred dollars.
Representative Tom Burch asked if a converter would be needed for every television set in the home. Virginia Fox stated that a converter would be needed for each set in the home.
Senator Seum asked Adjutant General Allen Youngman to begin his presentation on homeland security. General Youngman began by thanking Clint Newman for his service and vast store of knowledge.
General Youngman said a lot had happened since the committee last met, and he wanted to bring the committee up-to-date on homeland security issues. He said that mobilization of the Kentucky National Guard is at its highest rate since the Korean War. The first units mobilized in October are coming home, but now another mobilization is taking place. He thanked the committee members who attended home-coming celebrations to show their support for our men and women in uniform.
General Youngman stated that a formalized group has been formed consisting of all the agencies within state government having a role in homeland security. He said that agencies are still being added to the group, a new one every other month or so, as they are identified.
General Youngman said that pursuant to HB 258, passed by the 2002 General Assembly, a formal report on the state government role in homeland security will be given to the committee in December, and the report will be in much greater detail than what the committee would hear today. He then introduced Ray Nelson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office for Security Coordination.
Mr. Nelson asked that members to visit the web site for the Kentucky Office for Security Coordination (http://homeland.state.ky.us) and said comments on the site would be welcomed.
Mr. Nelson stated that he meets with representatives of various federal, state, and local government agencies on a regular basis to discuss such things as where they can share resources, funding, federal grants, etc. He said that the Department of Homeland Security consists of twenty-one agencies and includes the following: Border and Transportation Security; Emergency Preparedness and Response; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Countermeasures; and Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. He deals with each of these agencies on a regular basis. He participates in a bi-monthly conference call with Governor Ridge and meets with Governor Ridge's staff every six weeks to talk through issues.
Mr. Nelson said that the National Homeland Security Department has three strategic objectives: prevent terrorist attacks within the USA; reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism; and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.
Mr. Nelson said that the critical mission areas of the National Homeland Security Department will have a direct impact on us here in the state. The critical mission areas are: intelligence and warning; border and transportation security; domestic counter-terrorism; protecting critical infrastructure; defending against catastrophic terrorism; and emergency preparedness and response.
Mr. Nelson said that the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, local law enforcement, and other intelligence agencies are working on the intelligence and warning critical mission area. Although Kentucky is not a major port facility, he does work with the Coast Guard, Corps of Engineers, and surrounding states to control activities coming in and out of our state. Kentucky is a major throughput area in the country with interstates 64, 65, and 75 running through our state, and there is a definite interest in securing our own borders.
Mr. Nelson said that domestic counter-terrorism is alive and well. This is not limited to Al Qaeda. There are over three hundred registered hate groups in the U.S.
Mr. Nelson said that protecting critical infrastructure was addressed by President Bush in PDD-63. PDD-63 states that the following must be protected: gas and oil production; storage and delivery systems; water systems; banking and financial institutions; transportation systems; electrical energy; information and telecommunication systems; emergency services; government services and operation. President Bush added agriculture and food supply chain.
Mr. Nelson said that what is not included in PDD-63, but is critical to Kentucky, is our: chemical industry and hazardous materials; defense and industrial base; public health system; and postal and shipping systems. We have to develop contingency plans for our academic institutions, our entertainment industry and the icons associated with it, our historical icons, our natural resources, and our religious institutions and facilities.
Mr. Nelson identified state-focused issues in homeland security. General Youngman said the state-focused issues were identified by the National Governor's Association. The state focused issues include: coordinating efforts by all levels of government; receipt and dissemination of timely, actionable intelligence information related to counter-terrorism; interoperable equipment and communications between first responders; identification and protection of critical infrastructure; enhancing the public health system against acts of bio-terrorism (including animal-borne diseases); funding; protection of sensitive information; transportation system, border, airport and river port security; the role of the National Guard in homeland security; immigration and revisions of the visa programs; volunteer programs; lack of a centralized method to identify federal grants coming to the state; elimination of duplication and waste in all programs; interoperability requirements - establishment and enforcement.
Mr. Nelson said that revisions of the visa programs could have a direct impact on our migrant worker force. If those requirements are tightened up, there could be a serious economic impact on the state.
General Youngman commented about the lack of a centralized method to identify federal grant money coming in to the state. He said it would be a major challenge to develop a state strategy for homeland security as long as federal money is flowing into the state to groups, agencies, and locals in ways that have no relationship to the state strategy. Virtually all the money available for homeland security will be federal dollars. Current funding does not flow through an organization designed to integrate a strategy statewide. Therefore, you will see a great deal of effort in some areas and minimal effort in others. He said that this does not necessarily reflect a state's priorities; it is simply where Congress chose to distribute the money. General Youngman said that he did not have a solution to this problem, but he wanted the committee to be aware of this situation.
Mr. Nelson listed the recommended state actions in the national strategy which include: coordinate suggested minimum standards for obtaining a driver's license; enhance market capacity for terrorism insurance; train for prevention of cyber attacks; suppress money laundering; ensure continuity of the judiciary; and review quarantine authorities.
General Youngman said that the General Assembly passed legislation during the last Session that tightened the standards for obtaining a driver's licenses or a commercial driver's license. He commented that while the debate over the legislation was occurring, he and Colonel Nelson were on the phone daily with the Office of Homeland Security in Washington inquiring about federal guidelines for licenses. He found out that there were none at that time. He said that on the day the General Assembly adjourned he was told that the Office of Homeland Security had a good model for federal guidelines for obtaining a driver's license--the Kentucky's model. General Youngman said that it was a real honor to know that the Office of Homeland Security had chosen Kentucky's legislation as its model.
Mr. Nelson commented on the ongoing debate on a national identification system or card versus a state identification system. He said Kentucky is on the right track with the recent efforts on the licensing of drivers.
Mr. Nelson outlined the Homeland Security Advisory System and noted that we are at the elevated level, which means we are at significant risk of terrorist attacks today.
Representative Tom Burch asked how law enforcement could protect the public from terrorist attacks at large gatherings in the state such as the Kentucky Derby and Thunder Over Louisville.
General Youngman responded by saying that the only way to completely alleviate the threat of a terrorist attack at such a large gathering would be to stop having such events, but that was unacceptable. He gave Israel as an example. Israel is one of the best prepared nations in the world when it comes to terrorist activity preparedness. They have been fighting terrorism for over fifty years and still are unable to control all incidents.
Senator Tim Shaughnessy asked General Youngman if any of the three hundred hate groups identified in the United States have a presence in the Commonwealth. General Youngman responded by saying yes.
Senator Shaughnessy asked how many hate groups are present in Kentucky. General Youngman deferred the question to a representative of the Kentucky State Police who responded by saying that there are nine hate groups present in Kentucky.
Senator Seum called upon Lt. Jerry Provence, Counter-terrorism Coordinator, Kentucky State Police, to update the committee on efforts by the Kentucky State Police.
Lt. Provence said that the three main areas the Kentucky State Police look at with regard to terrorism include prevention, crisis response, and consequence management. The Kentucky State Police have developed partnerships with Kentucky Emergency Management and the Department of Homeland Security to address issues for the safety of citizens.
Lt. Provence said that the sixteen posts of the Kentucky State Police have identified potential threats in their areas which primarily include critical infrastructure areas. Intelligence gathering has been bolstered by identifying a liaison at each state police post as an intelligence liaison. Our state police intelligence section is premier in the nation in the areas of maintaining, gathering, and disimating vital criminal activity intelligence that occurs in our state.
Lt. Provence said that the Kentucky State Police is quite involved with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the creation of several task forces including the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Detectives are assigned to this task force on a full-time basis. Many states have only one JTTF that the FBI sponsors. He said that Kentucky has three. They are located in Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and the Lexington area.
Lt. Provence said that the Kentucky State Police are also involved in the Anti-terrorism Task Force (ATTF) sponsored by the U.S. Attorney's Office. They are located in the Eastern and Western parts of Kentucky. This has been a valuable task force in that it has brought all local law enforcement together. The task forces meet monthly, and numerous state agencies have been involved. Lt. Provence said that this has been an excellent tool to network and share intelligence information and to exchange ideas. Lt. Provence currently serves as full-time Counter Terrorism Coordinator.
Lt. Provence said that crisis response is another area the Kentucky State Police deal with. Crisis response training includes: training in unified command; training in incident command; executive level management of weapons of mass destruction (WMD); and first responders training to WMD.
He said that consequence management is another area the Kentucky State Police train in. This includes an employee's assistance program which provides counseling services to troopers involved in a terrorist event.
Lt. Provence said Kentucky State Police special enforcement efforts focus on the following areas: dams; power plants; the Governor's Mansion; the Capitol; major infrastructure security including the Marathon Ashland Petroleum and Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant; nuclear/radiological escorts provided; Ashland Tri-State Fair and Regatta security; and the Kentucky Derby detail.
Lt. Provence said that the Kentucky State Police will focus on the following areas in the future: interoperable communications systems; manpower resources needed to establish better detection and prevention initiatives; hardening of agency facilities; enhancement of the forensic lab; better gathering of criminal history and AFIS for efficient service to law enforcement; specialized equipment to respond to weapons of mass destruction; and continued training.
Senator Dick Roeding asked if federal funding has been sought to provide equipment such as gas masks, etc. for troopers to safely respond to bio-terrorism events or a chemical spill. Lt. Provence responded by saying that Kentucky Emergency Management has the ability to initiate some things which will help the Kentucky State Police in this area.
Representative Steve Riggs said that he believed if a terrorist attack occurred it would most likely occur in an urban area. He asked if this was taken into consideration in terms of trying to help urban law enforcement with manpower, etc. He stated that Senator David Williams spoke at a meeting last week and said that he was concerned about the fact that urban areas contribute a lot of money to the state coffers and receive very little in services from the Kentucky State Police. Representative Riggs asked Lt. Provence if he had considered changing the structure and putting resources where they are most likely to be utilized in terms of counter-terrorism. Lt. Provence responded by saying that Kentucky State Police's intelligence section is available to all law enforcement agencies in Kentucky. He said his services as Counter-Terrorism Coordinator are available to all law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Ray Nelson responded to Representative Riggs's question by saying that the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond has attempted to focus this year's training for law enforcement, including police chiefs, sheriffs, etc., on the rural enforcement initiative in relation to counter-terrorism and anti-terrorism.
Lt. Provence said that the Kentucky State Police Joint Terrorism Task Force representations are primarily in urban areas including Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Lexington.
Senator Joey Pendleton commented the Kentucky State Police has increased its presence at the Kentucky State Fair, and he thanked them for that effort.
Senator Dan Seum asked Dr. Rice Leach, Commissioner, Department of Public Health, to speak to the committee about bio-terrorism.
Dr. Leach said that he was repeatedly asked what he was most worried about in terms of bio-terrorism. He said that what worried him most was an unbelievably unhealthy population, and any kind of infection would hurt us more than those who are not in such poor health.
He said that he is concerned about the assumption that only the big cities are where an event is most likely to occur and nothing will happen in the rural areas. It is important to maintain balance.
Dr. Leach said that he is also concerned about people panicking. He stated that six hundred people a year are killed by bee stings, yet we have had one death by the West Nile Virus. People are now overly concerned about mosquito bites.
Dr. Leach said that he was especially concerned about smallpox, because there is a large mythology building around that disease. Those who have been exposed to smallpox can be immunized within four days, and they will not contract the disease.
Dr. Leach introduced Dr. William Hacker, Cabinet for Health Services, Department of Public Health, Bio-Terrorism Coordinator, to give a presentation.
Dr. Hacker said that funding is coming into Kentucky from two agencies: the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant, which totals $1,815,805 through 3/31/03; and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) grant, which totals $14,482,941 through 8/30/03.
Dr. Hacker said that the HRSA grant has two major components. The first is to help hospitals and emergency rooms, outpatient centers, emergency management agencies, and other public and private health care entities (e.g. private physicians) to identify and respond to a bio-terrorism event. The second component of the HRSA grant is to coordinate activity on a regional basis to respond to a large number of victims. This requires multi-tier triaging, integrated activity. This means being able to respond to five hundred victims at one time.
Dr. Hacker said that the goal of the CDC grant is to assess public health infrastructure and make improvements that will augment capacity to respond to bio-terrorism, other infectious disease outbreaks, and other public health threats and emergencies.
Representative Susan Westrom asked if funds have been appropriated to vaccinate front line workers from Hepatitis B or any chemical or nerve agents. Dr. Hacker said that the topic they are focusing on at this point is smallpox vaccinations.
Senator Elizabeth Tori asked Dr. Leach why the bio-terrorism focus was on smallpox. Dr. Leach responded by saying that no one has seen smallpox in thirty years. He said that most kids born after 1968 or 1970 are not immunized, so we have the possibility of a serious outbreak of a disease that is thirty percent fatal. However, with a little lead time, those exposed can be immunized within a certain time frame, and they will not contract the disease.
Representative Charles Siler asked General Youngman how many Kentucky guardsmen have been mobilized. General Youngman responded by saying that nineteen hundred soldiers and airmen have been mobilized.
Representative Dottie Sims asked Dr. Leach what year immunizations for smallpox were halted. Dr. Leach said 1972.
Representative Steve Riggs moved to adjourn the meeting and continue the presentation at the next meeting. The motion was seconded by Senator Dick Roeding. The motion carried.