Senate Passes Alerting Bill; NAB Pleased

WASHINGTON - The NAB is pleased with the Senate’s passage of a bill aimed at modernizing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS.

“As America’s hometown ‘first informers,’ radio and television broadcasters know the crucial need for up-to-the-second information that can keep lives and property safe,” NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said in a statement. 

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2015 was introduced by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo.). It aims to ensure that warnings about natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other disasters or threats are disseminated quickly and effectively “across all viable communications platforms. It had been passed out of committee in May; now it has passed the full chamber by unanimous consent. 

The bill calls for a training program to instruct government officials on how to use IPAWS. A similar bill has been introduced in the House and passed two committees there.

“We thank Sens. Johnson and McCaskill for their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with stakeholders to ensure all Americans have access to emergency alerts,” NAB stated.

As we reported earlier, the Broadcast Warning Working Group — whose membership is made up of several leaders of the U.S. EAS broadcast community — support the legislation, calling it “a first step to the United States having a true, real and comprehensive public warning policy called for by the Partnership for Public Warning in 2002 following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.”