The6th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, November 3, 2005, at 1:00 PM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Elizabeth Tori, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Elizabeth Tori, Co-Chair; Representative Mike Weaver, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Joey Pendleton, Richard "Dick" Roeding, Dan Seum, Katie Stine, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Sheldon E Baugh, Carolyn Belcher, James Carr, Bill Farmer, Mary Harper, Gerry Lynn, Fred Nesler, Tanya G Pullin, Steve Riggs, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, Charles L Siler, and Ancel Smith.
Guests: Aba Wilson, APA; Alecia Webb-Edgington, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security; Maxwell Clay Bailey, Director Kentucky Division of Emergency Management; Mike Inman, Commissioner, Commonwealth Office of Tecnology, Finance and Administration Cabinet.
LRC Staff: Scott Varland, Clint Newman, Mustapha Jammeh, Ashley Sanders, and Rhonda Schierer.
Co-Chair Tori called the meeting to order and asked the Secretary to call the roll. A quorum was present.
A motion was made to approve the Minutes from the October 6, 2005 meeting. All were in favor. The Minutes were adopted.
The Committee acted upon a resolution honoring Staff Sergeant William A. Allers III. A moment of silence was observed in his memory. The resolution was adopted.
Co-Chair Tori introduced General Clay Bailey, Director, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. He was joined by Alecia Webb-Edgington, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security and Joel Schrader, Deputy Director, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. The panel presented the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS) Annual Report. This report is mandated annually.
Executive Director Webb-Edgington thanked the Committee for the opportunity to appear. Deputy Director Schrader explained that they would talk about initiatives for the year and give an idea and understanding of what the Office of Homeland Security does. The report would discuss strategic plan goals, a supplemental federal funding report, and the policy and procedure for grant distribution.
Mr. Schrader gave a PowerPoint presentation. (A copy of Mr. Schrader's PowerPoint presentation may be found in the Committee's meeting folder stored in the LRC Library.) The first strategic plan goal is to ensure that response procedures are coordinated appropriately. One of the biggest issues in disasters is command and control. The Office of Homeland Security mandates that every state conduct National Incident Management System (NIMS) training yearly. Kentucky met its goals for the past year and was the first state in the nation to do so. He said that Kentucky has a great partnership with the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT). In 2006, DOCJT will begin training every law enforcement officer in the state of Kentucky. Mr. Schrader said that each county has its own emergency response plan, as does the National Guard and the Kentucky State Police.
The second strategic plan goal is to ensure a regional approach to preparedness. Mr. Schrader discussed first responder exercise and training programs and that grant distribution is enhanced by a regional approach. Each training has a regional focus, and this year 30,000 first responders were trained. He said that Deputy Director Andrew Klein intends to double that to 60,000 next year. The state is divided into fourteen emergency management regions; each region is made up of seven to ten counties. Every region has the ability and equipment to respond to any kind of disaster. He said that there is a push for a regional approach in funding the grant application process. For the technical review portion, applicants that partner together are given bonus points.
The third strategic plan goal is to ensure a plan is developed to protect major infrastructure throughout Kentucky. The federal Department of Homeland Security has instituted a buffer zone protection plan that mandates every state identify its most vulnerable targets. Local, state, and federal entities work together to produce an assessment of the critical targets across Kentucky. Once that assessment is completed, there is a stipend given to those entities to harden targets and improve first responder capabilities. A major program that Kentucky has launched is the Community Preparedness Program. A team of trained experts goes to small and medium-sized communities to assess the vulnerabilities and provide a list of what can be done to harden targets.
The fourth strategic plan goal is to strengthen information and collaboration capabilities. Mr. Schrader discussed how the Fusion Center and the Kentucky Open Portal Solution (KY OPS) would help meet this goal. Each state will develop a Fusion Center. The Fusion Center is a 24/7 all-crimes approach to intelligence that is designed to collect intelligence in one place for analysis. It will eventually house people from the Kentucky State Police, the National Guard, and all law enforcement entities that have the security clearance. Kentucky Open Portal Solution utilizes Kentucky-owned software that allows officers to fill out electronic intelligence reports. This is the first time that state intelligence has been collected in an electronic format. The intelligence will be stored and analyzed at the Fusion Center.
The fifth strategic plan goal is to strengthen interoperable communications capabilities. Interoperable communications are broken down into two categories, data and voice. Data involves moving information around on a statewide mobile data network. The network will be completed by the end of May. Mr. Schrader said that interoperable communications represent over 50% of homeland security dollars given on a discretionary basis. Ms. Webb-Edgington added that in the event that the voice communication does not work, law enforcement officers can car-to-car text message if they need help.
Mr. Schrader said that the voice component of communications is a more difficult problem to solve, because many first responder agencies already have a system in place. He explained that the problem is compounded because there are three different frequencies on which to communicate (150, 450, 800 mhz). There are two approaches to this problem: mutual aid and a base-interface module. Mutual aid takes one channel of three bands that every radio can tune to and is monitored by a Kentucky State Police post. The base-interface module is an electronic device where everyone can plug in to talk through radios at a Kentucky State Police post. He said that they are working on a longer-term plan for interoperability throughout the state and that Kentucky is one of two states for a pilot project to solve the problem. They are currently having meetings where first responders are invited to tell what they want out of an interoperable communication solution. Their needs will then be given to technical experts to produce a plan. Ms. Webb-Edgington said that the SafeCom pilot project will generate savings of $3 to $4 million that they will then be able to put towards their voice solution.
The sixth goal is to strengthen chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear detection response and decontamination capabilities. Medical Assistance Tactical Teams (MATT) train law enforcement and first responders in bio-surveillance, meth-lab situations, and suiting up in protective gear. There is one HazMat team for each of the fourteen regions of emergency management. These teams ensure that everyone has the equipment to respond to any type of disaster.
Mr. Schrader then discussed the seventh goal, which is to strengthen medical surge and mass prophylaxis capabilities. For a biological event and the response, antidotes, immunizations, or medications will be given out to the public. The federal government has stockpiles of medicine, and it is their job to make sure that the medication gets where it is needed during a disaster. This goal involves partnering with local, state, and federal health agencies.
Mr. Schrader next explained that local communities and state agencies must report all of the homeland security dollars that come into the state. Kentucky has received a reported total of $504,096,041 in the state fiscal year 2004. $69,695,895 was received by the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS) in the state fiscal year 2004. $13,934,634 was direct funding to Louisville through KOHS. $420,465,512 was reported to KOHS by local and state agencies and did not pass through he KOHS.
Mr. Schrader discussed the policy and procedure for grant distribution. Initially, there is an award notification from the Department of Homeland Security that there are funds available, and KOHS must apply for them. The federal government provides guidelines on how to apply. KOHS has sixty days to respond as to how the money will be spent. The past two years they have split that time with locals. Local governments have 30 days to apply to KOHS.
First, a KOHS technical review panel scores the grant applications. Each panel is made up of three people who have a relevant background. A check is made to be sure that bonus points were awarded correctly. The Office of Homeland Security staff then does a functional review of every application and considers the technical scoring of those applications. For low-scoring applications, if items are routinely funded for other counties, then they attempt to fund those items in spite of the low score. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor make recommendations. Then all recommendations go to a blue-ribbon panel for a final determination.
Ms. Webb-Edgington next described two grants, one that had been approved and one that had been denied. She explained that an application from the Casey County Fire Department received a low technical review but was awarded the grant anyway because the request was for a core component, self-breathing equipment, that Casey County could not afford. On the other hand, a grant for wireless data infrastructure for the Bluegrass area received a high score for being well-written, but was denied because the technology was available through other means. Mr. Schrader noted that this was a good example of intervention by the office.
Ms. Webb-Edgington said that KOHS was cited by former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge as one of the best state homeland security agencies in the nation, and that KOHS got limited direction from the federal Department of Homeland Security on how to disseminate the funds. She said that it is critical that first responders have equipment they need.
General Bailey discussed Emergency Management. He started by discussing the mission statement. He said the most important part of emergency management was the all-hazards approach. The core of preparedness is the ability to respond to an emergency. The basic principle in emergency management is to try and resolve any situation at the lowest level possible.
In the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, Gen. Bailey has fourteen area managers, and they each have an administrative assistant. So almost thirty of eighty employees work with local emergency people. It is up to the county to manage their individual aspects of public safety. Gen. Bailey said that the state has an emergency operations center and a 24-hour warning post that is integrated with the National Guard. The KY National Guard has been instrumental in helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
A Geographic Information System (GIS) facilitates strategic operational and tactical planning. Kentucky has the best GIS capability in the nation. GIS would be important if there were an earthquake in Western Kentucky. In addition, there is the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, where each state on request can send what any other state needs. Gen. Bailey stated that Kentucky is always first in responding to its own needs. FEMA also has a well-structured system in place. The Central US Earthquake Consortium will focus on national response to the most significant natural disaster that Kentucky could face, an earthquake on the New Madrid fault.
Eleven employees of the Kentucky Department of Emergency Management are federally-funded and focused on the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP). It includes all the counties that would be in a projected chemical spill, and all the counties that would contribute medical services.
Gen. Bailey said that under the guidance of this Committee, there are mutual aid agreements from county to county, wherein responders can cross county lines and operate with the same kind of authority that they have in their own jurisdictions. FEMA coordinates the federal effort, but they also have a great relationship with the Corps of Engineers. The Advance Contracting Initiative provides supplies for disaster cleanup.
There is a boilerplate state emergency operation plan that is offered to the counties. Each county must have an emergency operation plan before they receive any money. Short-term sheltering of a local community is an example of an issue that needs attention. Another important issue is evacuation of the special needs population. The current evacuation plans are fairly generalized. These emergency evacuation plans need to be made available to the special needs communities within one phone call. General Bailey stated that it is easiest to help someone that has taken steps to help himself or herself.
Co-Chair Tori thanked the panel and said that she appreciated their dedication and loyalty. She then introduced Mike Inman, Commissioner for the Commonwealth Office of Technology.
Co-chair Weaver stated that the committee should understand that the Department of Emergency Management is fortunate to have retired Gen. Clay Bailey running it, and they should be thankful for him. He said that Gen. Bailey has leadership experience and he is well-prepared to lead Kentucky during any emergency.
Co-Chair Tori opened the floor for questions.
Representative Riggs stated that he had a two-part question. The first part concerned the Casey County grant. He stated as background that he is chair of the Local Government Committee. He then stated that he was shocked that Casey County does not have self-breathing equipment. He said that is basic equipment. He asked why isn't funding the equipment a core responsibility of local government? Why isn't the local government funding at least part of the grant? He stated that the grant process shouldn't deter local government from using their own resources, and asked if this is taken into account during the grant process. Rep. Riggs then questioned Goal 3 and the vulnerability assessments. He stated that he had criticized the Patton administration in the past. He then stated that in Goal 3, there are forty high target areas that are not secrets and about 1/3 of them are in Louisville. He pointed out that Jefferson County got zero dollars out of the last $22 million awarded because apparently the grant was too vague, even though they are an important threat target. He noted that the grant application was sixty pages and his taxpayers feel "kicked in the can." He stated that Louisville has the largest cargo facility in America, and they did not get any funding. He stated that he deals with grant applications in his business and he believes that Louisville's proposal of wireless interoperability was actually more advanced than the statewide plan.
Ms. Webb-Edgington first addressed the question about local government and the Casey County grant. She stated that radios are core components, and some counties cannot afford them. If a county is able to partially fund a request, that is taken into consideration. Ms. Webb-Edgington next addressed Louisville's grant. She stated that the Louisville grant was not valid. The grant was for a communications system that would have worked only within Louisville Metro. It would have been a stovepipe system. She explained that urban area security initiative includes more than Louisville and Jefferson County, and that their proposed grant did not help contiguous counties. She stated that they did go back and review the Louisville grant application. She stated that the issue has already been resolved, and that the city of Louisville is set for 2006. The microwave system is tremendous, but too expensive for taxpayers to provide for Kentucky. She said they bought a system that is less expensive but will be great for all counties in Kentucky. She also stated Louisville did receive discretionary funds for its target sites. She added that Louisville and Lexington are medical metropolitan response systems, and they also received discretionary funds. She said that she is confident that the situation has been fixed.
Rep. Riggs asked if she disagreed with the statement that Louisville bought the technology to make it compatible with the other surrounding communities? Commissioner Inman answered that there was a compromise, that Louisville was buying four mobile terminals that will be compatible with the state plan. Rep. Riggs stated that it was his understanding that the compromise fixed the problem, but Louisville would still have to wait until next year to see any money. Ms. Webb-Edgington said the solution was arrived at after the money was allotted for 2005.
Mr. Schrader replied that this started out as a grant from 2004 where Louisville was awarded over $1 million. Then Louisville submitted another incompatible grant, and KOHS would have been funding a $6.5 million stovepipe. He stated that they have since worked out the issues, and it is set in place for next year.
Rep. Riggs said that politics should not get in the way, and he said the Program Review and Investigations Committee needs to find out the truth. His taxpayers think they got zero over technicalities. He praised Executive Director Webb-Edgington for her experience and the fact that she has 20 years in law enforcement experience. Chair Tori stated to Representative Riggs that the team would stay and talk to him more about the Louisville situation after the meeting.
Rep. Riner said that he concurred with Rep. Riggs' remarks. He then stated that the Annual Report gives examples of what Kentucky Office of Homeland Security considers are critical assets. He then asked what those are. Ms. Webb-Edgington replied that she is precluded from specifics, but it includes water, sewer, transportation, airports, bridges, schools, and energy plants. Representative Riner stated that on page 51 it reads that children are state assets. He stated that he believe this dehumanizes them by classifying them as state-owned inanimate objects and he doesn't want the state to treat children as critical assets or objects.
Sen. Stine asked if there was any hope for more vulnerability assessment funding, for cities such as Ft. Thomas. Ms. Webb-Edgington replied that 60 cities were finished. She stated there were 30 more communities to be done in the first half of 2006. She said that there was more funding coming, and that this was a critical component of their office. Bedroom communities are important, and the Fusion Center would be useful to them. Sen. Stine next stated that northern Kentucky was close to Ohio and asked how to facilitate the process with Cincinnati in emergencies. She noted the issue of worker's compensation and other similar problems. General Bailey replied that that his staff meets with Ken Nipper regularly and this was something they needed to do. Sen. Stine responded that she would sponsor whatever legislation is necessary in order to make that happen. Sen. Stine asked how someone monitors every situation going on in Kentucky. Gen. Bailey responded that when they teach the 911 people who to call, and a duty officer is on call 24 hours a day who shares information with the National Guard. Sen. Stine next said that she was in a situation where there were hazardous fumes from Ohio and asked how that information is dissipated in Kentucky. General Bailey replied that they get called directly about such a situation, and then they put out the word. Ms. Webb-Edgington stated that Boone, Kenton, and Campbell Counties were a part of the Cincinnati initiative, and that they will be in dialogue with them. Sen. Stine replied that she did want to rely on Cincinnati.
Sen. Westwood thanked Sen. Stine for the last comment. He said that when Deputy Director Schrader was before the Budget Review Committee, he said that Kentucky was part of that urban area security initiative. Sen. Westwood said he wanted to make sure that they were not forgotten. He said that there are four major hospitals, a bridge and an airport that were potential security risks in northern Kentucky. He noted that some grant requests get extra points and asked if that point is made clear to grant applicants. Ms. Webb-Edgington replied yes. Sen. Westwood then asked if applicants go into the application process knowing this fact, and Ms. Webb-Edgington responded in the affirmative. Mr. Schrader added that Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties were a good example of applicants who have worked together.
Rep. Baugh congratulated General Bailey on an excellent report. He then said that he was concerned about Louisville Metro. He stated that the next terrorist act may be agriculturally-related. He asked what the panel was doing to train agriculture agents to spot viruses and diseases. He stated that perception may be worse than the actual events from a publicity standpoint. General Bailey responded that medical and agriculture are integral parts of the emergency operation center. He said that within the last couple of months, there was an excellent ag-based drill in Northern Kentucky. He said that they could apply GIS capability. Ms. Webb-Edgington said that the exercise was excellent.
Deputy Director of KOHS Andrew Klein said they work in close partnership with the Federal Department of Agriculture. He stated that they just completed a five-state exercise with USDA, partnered with the FBI. He said they have also made strides in surveillance with Health and Family Services and in bio-surveillance for animals. General Bailey said that University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville do bioterrorism research.
Rep. Baugh said that in the report, part of preparedness is identifying vulnerable locations and asked if anyone has information about security of those sites? General Bailey said that this issue has already been addressed in recent legislation that gives more protection to these sites. Ms. Webb-Edgington said that a KRS statute makes vulnerability reduction plans not open to the public. Rep. Baugh then asked how this information is protected, for example, from hackers. Ms. Webb-Edgington responded that the information is kept safe, but she said that there is always potential for breach.
Co-chair Weaver asked whose signature was on the three-page of the Policy and Procedure dated 9/21/05. Ms. Webb-Edgington affirmed it was her signature. She stated that there was not a written policy before her tenure. Co-Chair Weaver addressed Ms. Webb-Edgington's statement that "we can do better" and re-stated that Mr. Schrader says that the blue-ribbon panel makes the last decision in the grant process. He then asked why it is necessary for the Governor and the Lt. Governor to give recommendations after a grant proposal has already been reviewed technically and KOHS is in agreement on it? He next asked about a grant he had seen that was approved as soon as the scores were given and that apparently had skipped the recommendations and blue-ribbon panel.
Ms. Webb-Edgington responded that she is attached to the Governor and Lt. Governor's offices and that they are her bosses. She said that in 2006 there will be changes to the grant awarding process, and that she is in talks with auditors. She then stated that she cannot speak to why there is no written documentation of the Lt. Governor or Governor's recommendations. Mr. Schrader added that neither the Governor nor the Lt. Governor made any changes to these applications. Co-chair Weaver said that the final recommendation is supposed to be made by the blue-ribbon panel. He then asked if it is even possible for the Governor and Lt. Governor to review every grant. He stated that the blue ribbon panel is a good idea and they need to use them.
Sen. Stine said that she did not agree with Co-chair Weaver. She said that the Governor is CEO of the executive branch and that it is part of the job to oversee the process. Co-chair Weaver said that if the Governor makes a recommendation it should be in writing.
Co-Chair Tori said that she wants to reaffirm what Executive Director Webb-Edgington said. The Governor and Lt. Governor are her bosses, and she said that there should be a bill ready to vote on for reorganization of Homeland Security.
Under Other Business on the Agenda, Co-Chair Tori said that Humana is hiring 1100 to 1300 people. She said that they had 132 veterans at the Louisville job fair. There was also a job fair in Radcliff that was well attended by veterans. She said that applicants will receive a veterans preference if they are qualified.
Ms. Webb-Edgington said that there was a state police cruiser in front of the Annex for legislators to view mobile data network equipment.
Co-Chair Tori said there was a box at the door for Katrina relief.
It was noted that there were pamphlets available at the door that tell what individuals can do to be responsible for emergencies and homeland security.
Co-chair Tori stated that there will be a final interim meeting on December 1 at 1:00 p.m. in Rm. 131.
There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned.