Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Cities’ Readiness Initiative study gains traction in Utah

A bill to amend Utah’s Public Safety Emergency Management law was unanimously approved by a key state senate committee on Jan. 28. State Senate Bill 57 was then approved by Utah’s Senate on Feb. 10 and is now awaiting further consideration by Utah’s House.

The bill calls for a study of how the U.S. Postal Service could play a part in emergency assistance during a declared disaster in The Beehive State.

Some postal-specific tasks might include, for example, identifying damaged structures, identifying people in damaged areas and determining whether emergency assistance is needed.

The measure calls for the report to be complete by Nov. 30.

During consideration and preparation of this bill, a number of supporters spoke in its favor, including local NALC members, representatives from the American Postal Workers Union, U.S. Postal Service representatives, emergency personnel and members of other coalition groups—not to mention members of Utah’s legislature, from the national level, representatives from Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ (R-UT) office. (Chaffetz is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has USPS oversight.)

This recent activity in Utah is an extension of federal-level interest in the Cities’ Readiness Initiative, a pilot program that was designed to help major cities increase their ability to respond to bioterrorism and other threats.

Originally created in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, CRI calls for allowing letter carrier volunteers to work with local law enforcement agencies to prepare to respond in case of a catastrophic emergency.

CRI is another example of the value of the Postal Service’s universal delivery network. Renewed local interest in CRI provides letter carrier activists with an opportunity discuss the potential benefits of the program with your federal-level representatives in the House and Senate.

The Utah State Association provides a good example of how state-level activism can have a potential influence on federal interest and activity.

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