House Passes Rockefeller-Hutchison Public Safety Communications Bill

Chairman Rockefeller and Ranking Member Hutchison Issue Statement

October 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Ranking Member, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, issued the following statement today after the House passed S. 1694, a bill that extends the Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant program established under the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 to remain available until expended through fiscal year 2012.  The PSIC grant program provides funding for state projects that arm public safety personnel with interoperable communications equipment and the necessary training for system users.  The bill now will be sent to the President for his signature.
“The PSIC grant program extension is important public safety communications legislation, and I am very pleased to see it pass the House,” said Chairman Rockefeller.  “Interoperable communications resources help first responders keep Americans out of harm’s way and protect the brave emergency response personnel who put their lives on the line.  I am proud to say that we have taken another step forward today in our strong commitment to public safety and providing resources for those who do all they can to keep us safe.  I look forward to the President signing this very important legislation for our brave first responders.”     

“Extending this grant program is an important step in helping state and local first responders improve public safety communications so crucial during natural or man-made disasters,” said Senator Hutchison.  “Preserving this critical funding will help the nation’s public safety personnel bring their equipment into the 21st century.”

This legislation is supported by groups such as the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, the National Governor’s Association, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).