Hawaii U.S. Senator Brian Schatz officially made his move, hoping to transfer the responsibility of missile warnings to the federal government.
He introduced legislation on Tuesday, called the Authenticating Local Emergencies and Real Threats Act – or ALERT Act - that would keep warnings like Hawaii’s false missile alarm, out of state hands.
Schatz received bipartisan support from the Chairman of Homeland Security, California Senator Kamala Harris, and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner.
Schatz says while the state and local governments have been largely responsible for alerting the public of threats like natural disasters and severe weather, Hawaii’s false alarm scare highlighted some of the weaknesses in the state’s emergency alert system.
“There are 3,017 counties across the country. There are 50 states and 5 territories. Each has its own Emergency Management Agency and they’re just not equipped to make this determination. This really has to be the federal government’s job.” Said Schatz.
Schatz says the ALERT Act would require FEMA to promptly notify state authorities like HI-EMA when a missile alert is issued so the agency can activate its own protective action plans.