The bill creates the school access for emergency response grant program (grant program) in the division of homeland security and emergency management (division) in the department of public safety (department). The purpose of the grant program is to provide funding for interoperable communication hardware, software, equipment maintenance, and training to allow for seamless communications between existing school communications systems and first responder communications systems. Grant recipients may use the money received through the grant program to deliver training programs to teach effective communications with first responders in an emergency, to implement an interoperable technology solution to provide or upgrade a system for effective communication with first responders in an emergency, to maintain, improve, or provide interoperable communications hardware or software, and for any necessary radio system capacity expansions where school loading has been determined to have a significant impact on public safety system loading.
The division, in consultation with the grant selection committee created in the bill, is required to implement the grant program and, subject to available appropriations, award grants to be paid from the grant program fund. The director of the division is required to promulgate rules necessary to implement the grant program. The grant selection committee is created to work with the director of the division to determine whether a grant applicant satisfies the criteria to receive a grant.
To be eligible to receive a grant, a school district, school, charter school of the district, institute charter school, or state charter school institute must have a memorandum of understanding with its regional public safety 911 answering point or the local law enforcement agency that serves the school for communications interoperability and must submit an application, including specified information, to the division. The grant selection committee is required to review the applications received and consider certain criteria in awarding the grants. Each grant recipient is required to submit a report to the division and the department is required to provide an annual update to the general assembly regarding the grant program.
The bill creates the grant program cash fund in the state treasury, which consists of a specified amount of money that the state treasurer transfers to the fund for each of the next 6 fiscal years.
The bill also makes an appropriation.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)