Security Newswire

Chemical Facility, Border Security Bills Clear House

Bipartisan legislation designed to enhance chemical facility and border ports of entry security and improve emergency communications were passed by the House Tuesday, according to Homeland Security Today.

The House passed the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program Authorization and Accountability Act of 2014 (HR 4007), which will codify and strengthen the Department of Homeland Security’s CFATS program, which issues and enforces security standards for high-risk chemical facilities, the article says.

The bill also passed the Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications Act (HR 4289), which addresses the recommendations of a November 2012 DHS Office of Inspector General report, which found DHS lacks an effective governance structure to ensure interoperable communications among its components – for example, ensuring first responders can communicate with each other and the public during a terrorist attack or natural disaster.

DHS was also authorized to establish a social media working group under HR 4263, the Social Media Working Group Act of 2014. According to Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), “Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate with each other, and using it the right way can save lives when disaster strikes.”

The working group will be required to file a yearly report with Congress demonstrating new strategies for using cutting-edge tools to keep citizens safe, Brooks says.

In addition, the House passed the Preclearance Authorization Act of 2014 (HR 3488), which establishes the conditions under which the Secretary of Homeland Security may establish preclearance facilities, conduct preclearance operations and provide customs services outside the U.S., the article says. This is meant to help officials deter and detect threats before they reach U.S. soil, for example, beefing up security and screening for passengers boarding flights bound for the U.S. from international airports. 

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