Nice work to General Wong and Vice Director Mayne on the Governor’s signing of House Bill 849 for the Hawaii State Civil Defense….I mean the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
It’s always great to see solid progress to benefit residents of Hawaii in case of statewide disaster or local emergency.
Governor Signs Bill Updating Hawaii’s Emergency Management Laws
HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed House Bill 849 (Act 111), a measure that updates the state’s emergency management statues, including clarification of the relationship between state and county emergency management agencies and the emergency management functions and powers of the governor and mayors.
The bill was introduced in the 2013 legislative session and updates laws more than 60 years old that were primarily focused on nuclear attack and civil unrest.
“This measure will ensure that the state is better prepared for all catastrophic events, both natural and manmade, in safeguarding the people of Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In addition, this act will better integrate state and county disaster response planning and reorganizes the authorities and responsibilities of government leaders, providing the public with increased clarity during difficult and uncertain circumstances.”
The signing of this bill also changes the name of State Civil Defense to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii was the last state to retain the use of civil defense in reference to its emergency management agency. This change brings Hawaii in line with modern best practices and updates the outdated language and references used in prior statutes.
Act 111 also establishes an Emergency Reserve Corps and authorizes the 24/7 State Warning Point, both critical increases in the state’s readiness to respond to hazards. It does not significantly change the governor’s emergency powers, but it does vest county mayors with emergency authorities independent of the state emergency management structure.