CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, the House will consider S. 1090, the Emergency Information Improvement Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. S. 1090 was introduced on April 27, 2015 by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and passed the Senate by unanimous consent on September 17, 2015.
S. 1090 clarifies that current law, which authorizes disaster assistance to nonprofits that provide critical services to their communities, may also include private nonprofit broadcasting facilities.
Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “provides disaster assistance to eligible state, tribal, and local governments as well as to certain types of private nonprofit organizations through the Public Assistance Grant Program.” The Program “helps eligible governments and organizations cover the cost of debris removal; emergency protective measures; and the repair, replacement, or restoration of publicly owned facilities, including facilities owned by eligible private nonprofit organizations that provide critical services, such as power, water, communications, and education.”
Several private nonprofit broadcast stations have sought financial assistance through this FEMA program over the past several years, “but have encountered difficulties in receiving timely assistance, despite the critical emergency services that those broadcasters provided to their communities.”
Although nonprofit broadcast facilities currently may meet the statutory criteria for eligibility for this assistance, the law does not specifically identify them as an eligible entity. S. 1090 is designed to eliminate any ambiguity and the potential for delayed assistance by specifically listing nonprofit broadcasters as among the entities that are eligible for this assistance.
According to the bill sponsor, “the Senate passage of this bill is an encouraging show of support for public radio and broadcast stations, which provide critical information during natural disasters and emergencies. New Jerseyans and Americans who endured Superstorm Sandy and other disasters know all too well that access to emergency information can be a matter of life or death. The passage of the Emergency Information Improvement Act will ensure that locally licensed stations are eligible for federal disaster relief funding in the event their facilities are impacted by a disaster.”
 See Senate Report 114-142 at 2.
 Id. at 3.
 See Press Release—“Booker’s Emergency Broadcasting Bill Passes Senate,” September 21, 2015.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing S. 1090 would have no federal cost. Enacting S. 1090 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.