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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Bill targets continued federal anti-terrorism support

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U.S. Reps. Val Demings (D-FL) and Don Bacon (R-NE) last week introduced legislation to create a plan to continue federal anti-terrorism support for Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)-funded homeland security capabilities.

The Homeland Security Capabilities Preservation Act (H.B. 5615) directs the Department of Homeland Security to review past disbursements under UASI.

“The safety and security of every person who lives, works, and travels in Florida is my top priority,” said Demings, a former 27-year law enforcement officer and Orlando, Florida Chief of Police. “Our previous experience in Orlando showed that critical public safety funding can be inconsistent, leaving important programs without necessary support. This new legislation would provide much-needed stability and peace of mind to emergency planners across Florida, who will rest easier knowing that when they begin a new initiative to keep Floridians safe, they will be able to sustain those efforts.”

Bacon, a former U.S. Air Force Brigadier General and Wing Commander, said keeping Americans safe from all threats, both foreign and domestic, is a top priority.

“I’m glad to help lead this effort alongside Rep. Demings to direct DHS and FEMA to assess UASI capabilities and ensure federal assistance is made available for these anti-terrorism law enforcement programs, especially in urban areas, which are potential targets for terrorist attacks,” Bacon said. “In fact, Omaha had not received UASI funds since FY2010, leaving our community more vulnerable and unprotected. As a retired Brigadier General and Air Force veteran, I believe that if another terrorist attack like 9/11, a natural disaster, or worldwide pandemic occurs, our first responders, non-profits, and other public safety personnel must be equipped to protect our citizens and preserve our communities.”