On the morning after tornados devastated the southeast, with TV stations in affected areas keeping viewers apprised of the threats, the Senate Commerce Committee released its witness list on a May 3 hearing on disaster preparedness and WJLA senior meteorologist Bob Ryan to give broadcasters view.
The hearing is focused on federal investments in natural disaster preparedness and the government's plans for response, including on Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act of 2011, and S. 692, the National Hurricane Research Initiative Act of 201. But Rockefeller also signaled it would involve his Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act. That is the one that approves broadcasters incentive auctions as a way to help pay for a national, interoperable broadband emergency communications network Rockefeller has been pushing for some time now.
His and other legislators have been pushing for passage of an emergency communications bill before the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and what that would signal in terms of the lack of progress on one of the recommendations of the 9/11 commission.
In announcing the witnesses, the committee said that network "would put the necessary communications resources in the right hands to keep Americans safe" when disasters -- like this week's killer tornadoes--strikes.