STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE EMERGENCY EPIDEMIC RESPONSE
|Time:||10:03 AM to 11:55 AM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
|Review of Committee 2008 Final Report|
Status Report on State Government Continuity Plan
The chair, Senator Sandoval, called the meeting to order.
10:05 AM -- Review of Committee 2008 Final Report
Debbie Haskins, Office of Legislative Legal Services, discussed the charge of the committee and briefed the committee on the 2008 final report that was issued by the committee. Ms. Haskins discussed the composition, charge, and scope of authority of the committee pursuant to Section 2-3-1503 C.R.S. Committee members received a handout summarizing this state law (Attachment A). Ms. Haskins discussed action items that were completed and items that still need to be completed by the committee. She talked about different topics that were considered by the committee, as well as testimony that was taken during 2008, and distributed the 2008 meeting summaries to the committee members (Attachments B and C).
Ms. Haskins discussed a past presentation from National Conference of State Legislatures that covered other states' laws relating to the continuity of government, including: the continuity of government statutes, emergency interim succession acts, moving the seat of government in an emergency, and rules on required votes or allowing paired or proxy voting (Attachment C). She discussed the issue of relocating the seat of state government in the event of an emergency, explained that the General Assembly could meet outside of the Capitol building, and referred to a memo from the Office of Legislative Legal Services addressing the issue (Attachment D).
Ms. Haskins discussed the summary of recommendations by the 2008 committee and referred to a section of the final report that was distributed to the committee members (Attachment E). She explained the committee's decision tree for responding to an epidemic declaration and discussed Joint Rule 44, which was recommended by the committee and adopted under Joint Resolution 09-004. Joint Rule 44 addresses the procedures for and restrictions on the General Assembly in order to meet in regular session or in a special session following an emergency declaration by the governor. Ms. Haskins explained the recommendations made by the committee in the final report, explained possible action items that were not adopted, and referred to a handout that was distributed to the committee (Attachment F).
The committee discussed a recommendation in the 2008 final report concerning legislative vacancies and different legislative options that the committee could recommend to address legislative vacancies. Committee members received a copy of Section 1-12-203 C.R.S., which addresses vacancies in the Colorado General Assembly (Attachment G). Committee discussion ensued concerning legislative vacancies and succession of members of the General Assembly in the event of an epidemic emergency.
10:44 AM -- Status Report on State Government Continuity Planning
General Mason Whitney, Governor's Office of Homeland Security, addressed the committee to discuss emergency planning for the state of Colorado and distributed a handout to the committee (Attachment H). General Whitney talked about his background and talked about the Governor's Office of Homeland Security. He discussed continuity of operations planning (COOP) and continuity of government (COG). COOP addresses the problem of providing essential functions from a different location until the primary facility becomes usable. COG concentrates on the continued performance of essential agency functions and support of county and state government during emergency or disaster situations. General Whitney discussed COOP/COG planning for each state agency and talked about the oversight by the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and the structure of emergency planning for the state. He talked about the number of state agencies that have completed COOP/COG plans and the need to continue to test and revise the plans. He also discussed the long-term strategies and future challenges for COOP/COG training and exercise efforts.
General Whitney addressed questions from committee members concerning pandemic emergencies and COOP/COG plans between Colorado and neighboring states, the federal government, and different global regions. Committee discussion ensued concerning the status of the Colorado legislative COOP/COG plan. General Whitney discussed problems created by different COOP/COG plans that use different types of software and discussed the criteria of federal homeland security funding. Committee discussion ensued regarding the need to implement COOP/COG plans for the Colorado General Assembly that are coordinated with other state agencies and local jurisdictions.
11:35 AM -- Other Business
The committee talked about the status of individual COOP/COG plans for each legislative department to address an epidemic emergency. The committee members discussed potential action items for the committee to consider, including: a Senate resolution to allow the Senate president to address matters not covered by the Senate Rules, a Senate resolution to provide a line of succession for the secretary of the Senate, and legislation to address legislative vacancies. Committee discussion ensued concerning the potential action items and future meeting dates.
The committee adjourned.