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S. 2971 (114th): National Urban Search and Rescue Response System Act of 2016

The text of the bill below is as of Aug 30, 2016 (Reported by Senate Committee).


II

Calendar No. 578

114th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2971

[Report No. 114–307]

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 23, 2016

(for himself, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Carper, Mr. Booker, Mr. McCain, Mrs. Feinstein, and Mr. Bennet) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

August 30, 2016

Reported under authority of the order of the Senate of July 14, 2016, by , with an amendment

Omit the part struck through and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To authorize the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System Act of 2016.

2.

National Urban Search and Rescue Response System

(a)

In general

Title III of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5141 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

327.

National Urban Search and Rescue Response System

(a)

Definitions

In this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)

Administrator

The term Administrator means the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(2)

Agency

The term Agency means the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

(3)

Hazard

The term hazard has the meaning given the term in section 602.

(4)

Nonemployee system member

The term nonemployee System member means a System member not employed by a sponsoring agency or participating agency.

(5)

Participating agency

The term participating agency means a State or local government, nonprofit organization, or private organization that has executed an agreement with a sponsoring agency to participate in the System.

(6)

Sponsoring agency

The term sponsoring agency means a State or local government that is the sponsor of a task force designated by the Administrator to participate in the System.

(7)

System

The term System means the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System to be administered under this section.

(8)

System member

The term System member means an individual who is not a full-time employee of the Federal Government and who serves on a task force or on a System management or other technical team.

(9)

Task force

The term task force means an urban search and rescue team designated by the Administrator to participate in the System.

(b)

General authority

Subject to the requirements of this section, the Administrator shall continue to administer the emergency response system known as the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System.

(c)

Functions

In administering the System, the Administrator shall provide for a national network of standardized search and rescue resources to assist States and local governments in responding to hazards.

(d)

Task forces

(1)

Designation

The Administrator shall designate task forces to participate in the System. The Administration shall determine the criteria for such participation.

(2)

Sponsoring agencies

Each task force shall have a sponsoring agency. The Administrator shall enter into an agreement with the sponsoring agency with respect to the participation of each task force in the System.

(3)

Composition

(A)

Participating agencies

A task force may include, at the discretion of the sponsoring agency, 1 or more participating agencies. The sponsoring agency shall enter into an agreement with each participating agency with respect to the participation of the participating agency on the task force.

(B)

Other individuals

A task force may also include, at the discretion of the sponsoring agency, other individuals not otherwise associated with the sponsoring agency or a participating agency. The sponsoring agency of a task force may enter into a separate agreement with each such individual with respect to the participation of the individual on the task force.

(e)

Management and technical teams

The Administrator shall maintain such management teams and other technical teams as the Administrator determines are necessary to administer the System.

(f)

Appointment of system members into federal service

(1)

In general

The Administrator may appoint a System member into Federal service for a period of service to provide for the participation of the System member in exercises, preincident staging, major disaster and emergency response activities, and training events sponsored or sanctioned by the Administrator.

(2)

Nonapplicability of certain civil service laws

The Administrator may make appointments under paragraph (1) without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service.

(3)

Relationship to other authorities

The authority of the Administrator to make appointments under this subsection shall not affect any other authority of the Administrator under this Act.

(4)

Limitation

A System member who is appointed into Federal service under paragraph (1) shall not be considered an employee of the United States for purposes other than those specifically set forth in this section.

(g)

Compensation

(1)

Pay of system members

Subject to such terms and conditions as the Administrator may impose by regulation, the Administrator shall make payments to the sponsoring agency of a task force—

(A)

to reimburse each employer of a System member on the task force for compensation paid by the employer to the System member for any period during which the System member is appointed into Federal service under subsection (f)(1); and

(B)

to make payments directly to a nonemployee System member on the task force for any period during which the nonemployee System member is appointed into Federal service under subsection (f)(1).

(2)

Reimbursement for employees filling positions of system members

(A)

In general

Subject to such terms and conditions as the Administrator may impose by regulation, the Administrator shall make payments to the sponsoring agency of a task force to be used to reimburse each employer of a System member on the task force for compensation paid by the employer to an employee filling a position normally filled by the System member for any period during which the System member is appointed into Federal service under subsection (f)(1).

(B)

Limitation

Costs incurred by an employer shall be eligible for reimbursement under subparagraph (A) only to the extent that the costs are in excess of the costs that would have been incurred by the employer had the System member not been appointed into Federal service under subsection (f)(1).

(3)

Method of payment

A System member shall not be entitled to pay directly from the Agency for a period during which the System member is appointed into Federal Service under subsection (f)(1).

(h)

Personal injury, illness, disability, or death

(1)

In general

A System member who is appointed into Federal service under subsection (f)(1) and who suffers personal injury, illness, disability, or death as a result of a personal injury sustained while acting in the scope of such appointment, shall, for the purposes of subchapter I of chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code, be treated as though the member were an employee (as defined by section 8101 of that title) who had sustained the injury in the performance of duty.

(2)

Election of benefits

(A)

In general

A System member (or, in the case of the death of the System member, the System member’s dependent) who is entitled under paragraph (1) to receive benefits under subchapter I of chapter 81 of title 5, United States Code, by reason of personal injury, illness, disability, or death, and to receive benefits from a State or local government by reason of the same personal injury, illness, disability or death shall elect to—

(i)

receive benefits under such subchapter; or

(ii)

receive benefits from the State or local government.

(B)

Deadline

A System member or dependent shall make an election of benefits under subparagraph (A) not later than 1 year after the date of the personal injury, illness, disability, or death that is the reason for the benefits, or until such later date as the Secretary of Labor may allow for reasonable cause shown.

(C)

Effect of election

An election of benefits made under this paragraph is irrevocable unless otherwise provided by law.

(3)

Reimbursement for state or local benefits

Subject to such terms and conditions as the Administrator may impose by regulation, if a System member or dependent elects to receive benefits from a State or local government under paragraph (2)(A), the Administrator shall reimburse the State or local government for the value of the benefits.

(4)

Public safety officer claims

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to bar any claim by, or with respect to, any System member who is a public safety officer, as defined in section 1204 of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3769b3796b), for any benefits authorized under part L of title I of that Act (42 U.S.C. 3796 et seq.).

(i)

Liability

A System member appointed into Federal service under subsection (f)(1), while acting within the scope of the appointment, shall be considered to be an employee of the Federal Government under section 1346(b) of title 28, United States Code, and chapter 171 of that title, relating to tort claims procedure.

(j)

Employment and reemployment rights

With respect to a System member who is not a regular full-time employee of a sponsoring agency or participating agency, the following terms and conditions apply:

(1)

Service

Service as a System member shall be considered to be service in the uniformed services for purposes of chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code, relating to employment and reemployment rights of individuals who have performed service in the uniformed services (regardless of whether the individual receives compensation for such participation). All rights and obligations of such persons and procedures for assistance, enforcement, and investigation shall be as provided for in such chapter.

(2)

Preclusion

Preclusion of giving notice of service by necessity of appointment under this section shall be considered to be preclusion by military necessity for purposes of section 4312(b) of title 38, United States Code, pertaining to giving notice of absence from a position of employment. A determination of such necessity shall be made by the Administrator and shall not be subject to judicial review.

(k)

Licenses and permits

If a System member holds a valid license, certificate, or other permit issued by any State or other governmental jurisdiction evidencing the member’s qualifications in any professional, mechanical, or other skill or type of assistance required by the System, the System member is deemed to be performing a Federal activity when rendering aid involving such skill or assistance during a period of appointment into Federal service under subsection (f)(1).

(l)

Preparedness cooperative agreements

Subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, the Administrator shall enter into an annual preparedness cooperative agreement with each sponsoring agency. Amounts made available to a sponsoring agency under such a preparedness cooperative agreement shall be for the following purposes:

(1)

Training and exercises, including training and exercises with other Federal, State, and local government response entities.

(2)

Acquisition and maintenance of equipment, including interoperable communications and personal protective equipment.

(3)

Medical monitoring required for responder safety and health in anticipation of and following a major disaster, emergency, or other hazard, as determined by the Administrator.

(m)

Response cooperative agreements

The Administrator shall enter into a response cooperative agreement with each sponsoring agency, as appropriate, under which the Administrator agrees to reimburse the sponsoring agency for costs incurred by the sponsoring agency in responding to a major disaster or emergency.

(n)

Obligations

The Administrator may incur all necessary obligations consistent with this section in order to ensure the effectiveness of the System.

(o)

Equipment maintenance and replacement

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees (as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101)) a report on the development of a plan, including implementation steps and timeframes, to finance, maintain, and replace System equipment.

(p)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out the System and the provisions of this section such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019.

.

(b)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Applicability of title 5, United States Code

Section 8101(1) of title 5, United States Code, is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (D), by striking and at the end;

(B)

by transferring subparagraph (F) to between subparagraph (E) and the matter following subparagraph (E);

(C)

in subparagraph (F)—

(i)

by striking United States Code,; and

(ii)

by adding and at the end; and

(D)

by inserting after subparagraph (F) the following:

(G)

an individual who is a System member of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System during a period of appointment into Federal service pursuant to section 327 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act;

.

(2)

Inclusion as part of uniformed services for purposes of USERRA

Section 4303 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(A)

in paragraph (13), by inserting , a period for which a System member of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System is absent from a position of employment due to an appointment into Federal service under section 327 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act before , and a period; and

(B)

in paragraph (16), by inserting System members of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System during a period of appointment into Federal service under section 327 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, after Public Health Service,.

August 30, 2016

Reported with an amendment