The problem: You guessed it...money. It would be natural for the recommendations to be followed by legislation that would provide funding to put the suggestions into effect. Imagine the response such a bill would get in a state where state employees are working (or more accurately, getting paid for) only four days a week because of the budget crunch. It wouldn't be pretty.
The state senator who introduced the legislation creating the task force says she was pleased with the work the task force did. However, no funding legislation appears imminent. Despite that, Senator Fran Pavley told us she and her legislative colleagues will work "to explore ways we can implement improvements to our emergency alert systems during these challenging times".
Meantime, state emergency management officials are trying to figure out how to put as many of the recommendations into effect as possible, without spending much money on it. California Emergency Management Agency (CALEMA) Deputy Director Kelly Huston told us CALEMA has taken the report and broken it down into areas of responsibility within the agency to begin expanding on the recommendations. A public/private work group is being consulted. (See our earlier post: Strong Emergency Notifications Recommendations in California.)
Yes, money is tight, but considering the amount of time it takes to get things done in government, we suggest that now is the perfect time to start pushing forward ambitious notifications, alerts and warnings initiatives. The economy will improve. Plus, we suspect (and hope) Congress and the feds will start putting more money into this critical area.
All the best,