Senate Passes Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Legislation Introduced by Senators Johnson, McCaskill

Washington – Thursday, the Senate passed the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Modernization Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in May.  This bill would modernize the nation’s public alert and warning system to ensure that federal, state and local officials can effectively warn citizens during times of disasters, acts of terrorism, and other threats to public safety.  

“In times of an emergency, information is crucial,” said Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “This bill takes important steps to expand our nation’s public warning system to ensure the largest number of people are reached.   The IPAWS Modernization Act of 2015 also ensures effective training and collaboration so that when an emergency hits, we are ready. I was pleased to have shepherded this bipartisan bill through the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this year and am equally pleased to see the bill pass the Senate yesterday.  I encourage the House to quickly take up and pass this important bill.”  

“This is a terrific next step toward ensuring our communities are prepared and have the best protection possible when we face a disaster or other unexpected event,” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “In Missouri, we’re all too familiar with that need—and this bipartisan bill would result in more families and businesses receiving lifesaving information quickly, and would ensure our government has the flexibility it needs to evolve with future changes in technology. Now it’s up to the U.S. House to get it across the finish line.”

The National Association of Broadcasters released these comments: “NAB applauds the Senate’s bipartisan passage of this important legislation modernizing our public alert warning system. 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. 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.”

The Wisconsin Association of Broadcasters said, We thank Sen. Johnson for his leadership and commitment to our shared goal of informing and protecting the public and congratulate him on Senate passage of this important bipartisan legislation that will help keep his constituents and our viewers and listeners safe and will strengthen our nation’s public warning system.” 

CTIA – The Wireless Association weighed in, saying,  “CTIA congratulates Sens. Johnson and McCaskill on the Senate passage of the Integrated Public Alert Warning System Modernization Act. The bill’s unanimous approval is a testament to their thoughtful, bipartisan approach. CTIA greatly appreciates Sen. Johnson’s and Sen. McCaskill’s willingness to structure their bill in a way that preserves the successful Wireless Emergency Alert system that has been used to notify the public of imminent threats and Amber alerts more than 11,000 times since it went live in 2012.”