Legal Aspects of Terrorism


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Proposed State Bioterrorism Preparedness Act
(H.R. 3153 & S. 1520)

Rep. Blagojevich (D-IL) introduced H.R. 3153 Sen. Bayh (D-IN) introduced S.1520

A BILL

To assist States in preparing for, and responding to, biological or chemical terrorist attacks.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the 'State Bioterrorism Preparedness Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) State governments are viewed as strong partners in the United States' national security efforts, particularly as related to domestic terrorism.

(2) Information sharing is a critical part of terrorism preparedness activities.

(3) Coordination efforts with public, private, nonprofit, and for-profit hospitals and medical providers are essential to the success of preventing the spread of a biological terrorist attack.

(4) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have implemented a solid structure with which to combat terrorism. However, additional resources and direction are needed to expand upon the program and accelerate its results.

(5) There are hundreds of infectious agents and toxins, but only a small subgroup has the physical and biological properties needed for a mass casualty producing biological weapon.

(6) Most biological weapons programs concentrate on between 10 and 15 agents sharing the common characteristics of ease of production, infectivity or toxicity, stability during processing, storage and in the environment, and the ability to effectively cause illness or death to an exposed population with anthrax and small pox common to most lists.

(7) A comprehensive strategy that involves preventing an attack from occurring and preparing the Federal, State, local and private sectors in case such an attack were to occur is critical to reducing the incidence of fatality if such an attack were to occur.

(8) The intelligence community must make far greater use of the biomedical communities in and out of government and the United States national security community should include the medical, public health and human service communities, which all are critical to bioterrorism preparedness and response.

(9) Enhancing domestic preparedness by developing a national bioterrorism surveillance and detection capacity, developing and distributing rapid and more reliable diagnostic capabilities and systems, developing a comprehensive strategy for assuring surge capacity for health care, streamlining national pharmaceutical stockpiling efforts, and increasing research and development for new pharmaceuticals, vaccines and antidotes are essential endeavors.

(10) Developing a clear strategy for working with the media to help manage public apprehension and panic and to reexamine and modernize the legal framework for epidemic control measures and civil liberties, including working with States to achieve greater harmony at the State and local level with management of new threats must be done.

(11) The Administration of President Clinton took the initiative to strengthen the public health infrastructure by creating a pharmaceutical stockpile for civilian use, awarding contracts for new small pox vaccine, researching the development of new and improved diagnostics, drugs and vaccines, helping to train first responders (police, fire fighters and public health officials) and investing in new technologies to help with detection of biological agents, but this effort must be dramatically accelerated and far more money and energy is needed to address the today's threats.

SEC. 3. GRANTS TO IMPROVE STATE PREPAREDNESS.

(a) IN GENERAL -- The Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in this Act as the 'Secretary'), acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall award grants to States to enable such States to prepare for and respond to bioterrorism. The grant program established under this section shall be administered through the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Initiative.

(b) ELIGIBILITY -- To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), a State shall prepare and submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, including a plan for preparing for and responding to bioterrorism. Such plan shall include --

(1) a description of the process the State will implement in order to detect and response to bioterrorism, including how the State will manage State detection and response efforts and coordinate with national efforts;

(2) an assurance that the State will coordinate with all emergency responders, health care providers, Federal, State and local governmental agencies, and law enforcement personnel during all stages of the State bioterrorism initiative;

(3) a description of the activities that the State will conduct to build local infrastructures for the prevention, detection, and response to biological or chemical attacks;

(4) a description of State efforts to stockpile medications, vaccines, antibiotics, and medical supplies;

(5) an assessment of the threat of biological or chemical attacks in the State;

(6) a media and communication plan relating to the dissemination of information to the public to inform the public of any biological or chemical threat without creating panic;

(7) a description of the training initiatives that the State will carry out with respect to local emergency personnel, law enforcement officials, and health care providers relating to the detection of and response to a biological or chemical attack;

(8) a description of the cleanup and contamination prevention efforts to be implemented in the event of a biological or chemical attack;

(9) an assurance that the State will coordinate its bioterrorism efforts with public, private, and faith-based organizations that are able to provide necessary supplies and equipment, such as medical products and personnel;

(10) a description of the State mechanisms in place for improving the health care infrastructure in the State through the building of workforce capacity and competency, information and data systems, and up to date health departments and local laboratories;

(11) a description of the State procedures for holding practice biological or chemical attack drills and simulations;

(12) an assessment of State and local public health laws relating to bioterrorism, and the interaction of such laws with similar Federal laws;

(13) the designation of a State official to serve as a liaison to the Office of Homeland Security; and

(14) the general goals and needs of the State relating to bioterrorism.

(c) ANNUAL SUBMISSIONS -- A State that receives a grant under this section shall annually submit to the Secretary an updated State plan that contains the information described in paragraphs (1) through (13) of subsection (b).

(d) USE OF FUNDS -- A State shall use amounts received under a grant under this section to carry out the State plan under subsection (b). Additionally, a State may use such funds to --

(1) prepare for and prevent a biological or chemical attack;

(2) carry out surveillance and detection activities relating to biological or chemical attacks;

(3) carry out activities to improve communications and coordination efforts within the State and between the State and the Federal Government;

(4) carry out activities to improve emergency response capabilities in the State; and

(5) make public health infrastructure improvements, including --

(A) carrying out activities relating to rapid disease detection and investigation;

(B) carrying out activities to improve State and local laboratories, including improving biological and chemical agent identification, classification, and characterization (bacteria, viruses, and toxins);

(C) carrying out coordinated public health response activities;

(D) carrying out activities to improve public health information technology;

(E) providing training for health care workers and otherwise addressing staffing needs;

(F) the development of comprehensive statewide electronic public health reporting systems; and

(G) carrying out cooperative efforts with State and local public and private hospitals;

(e) AMOUNT-

(1) IN GENERAL -- Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amount of a grant to a State under this section for a fiscal year shall be an amount equal to the sum of --

(A) $5,000,000; and

(B) an amount that bears the same ratio to the amount appropriated under subsection (g) for such fiscal year as the total population of the State bears to the total population of all States.

(2) SMALL STATE MINIMUM -- Subject to the extent of amounts made available under subsection (g), the amount determined under paragraph (1)(B) with respect to a State shall not be less than an amount equal to 1 percent of the amount appropriated for the fiscal year involved.

(3) INDIAN TRIBES -- The Secretary shall reserve 1 percent of the amount appropriated for each fiscal year under subsection (g) to award grants under this section to Indian tribes and tribal organizations. The Secretary shall develop guidelines to determine the eligibility of such tribes or tribal organizations for a grant under this section.

(f) ANNUAL REPORTS -- Not later than January 1, 2003, and annually thereafter, the General Accounting Office shall prepare and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress, a report concerning the implementation of this section. Such report shall include --

(1) an assessment of the progress made by States in preparing for and being able to respond to a biological or chemical attack; and

(2) recommendations for areas in which the States can improve their preparation for, or ability to respond to, a biological or chemical attack.

(g) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS -- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section --

(1) $250,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2002 through 2006, for base allocations under subsection (e)(1)(A); and

(2) $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2002 through 2006, for allocations based on State population under subsection (e)(1)(B).

(h) DEFINITION -- In this section, the term 'State' means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

SEC. 4. PROVISION OF INFORMATION BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

(a) IN GENERAL -- Each agency of the Federal Government that collects or prepares information of the type described in this subsection shall provide to each State the following --

(1) a description of the probable agents that may be utilized in a biological or chemical attack, the characteristics of such agents, their impact on people, and appropriate risk assessments;

(2) model or proposed bioterrorism plans, based on Federal standards and guidelines, for the surveillance, detection, response to, and management of a biological or chemical attack;

(3) information relating to biological or chemical attacks that is based on best practices;

(4) emergency health information;

(5) bioterrorism preparation and response training information;

(6) bioterrorism-related emergency information;

(7) a list of available resources maintained by public, private, nonprofit, and for-profit entities that have compiled bioterrorism training data and other related information; and

(8) in times of war, heightened threat, or risk of war, critical information relating to the health and safety of the State's residents.

(b) COORDINATION -- The Secretary shall coordinate the provision of information under subsection (a) to avoid duplication of efforts.

(c) BEST PRACTICES -- There is authorized to be appropriated, $50,000,000 in each fiscal year to enable the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue and enhance the efforts of the Centers in developing best practices relating to biological or chemical attacks.

(d) STATE SECURITY COORDINATOR -- There shall be established within the Office of Homeland Security, a position to be known as the 'Assistant Director for State Coordination'. The Director of the Office of Homeland Security shall appoint an individual to serve as the Assistant Director and act as a liaison between the Office and the States.

SEC. 5. DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS.

(a) IN GENERAL -- The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in consultation with the heads of other Federal departments and agencies, shall --

(1) carry out activities to implement a national communications system, including the establishment of a national electronic infrastructure, to improve the exchange of emergency health information among Federal, State, and local health agencies;

(2) develop a national emergency communication plan that ensures the rapid dissemination of health information to the public during actual, threatened, or suspected acts of biological or chemical terrorism; and

(3) establish an Internet web-site that contains training information and bioterrorism-related emergency information for use by States.

(b) COMPLETION -- Not later than December 31, 2002, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall complete the system, plan, and web-site described in subsection (a).

(c) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS -- There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

SEC. 6. SIMULATIONS.

(a) GRANTS -- The Secretary shall award a grant to each State to enable the State to carry out table-top and computer-based biological or chemical attack simulations.

(b) EXERCISES -- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall provide each State with a set of exercises for the simulations to be conducted under subsection (a).

(c) COMPLETION -- Not later than December 31, 2002, a State that receives a grant under this section shall complete at least one of the simulations required under subsection (a).

(d) NOTICE SIMULATIONS -- The Secretary shall provide for the conduct, in three geographically diverse States that receive a grant under subsection (a), of a biological or chemical attack simulation. Such simulations shall be conducted after notice is provided to the States involved by the Secretary.

(e) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS -- There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.