Senate Panel Approves Beach/Norcross Measure Allowing Paperless Submission Of Emergency Plans

Senator James Beach's participates in his first roll call.

Legislation Senators Jim Beach and Donald Norcross sponsored to allow for the paperless submission of emergency operation and evacuation plans to state officials was released yesterday by a Senate committee.

“To the degree that we can make it easier for state emergency management officials to receive, review and archive crisis plans in a timely fashion, the better,” said Beach (D-Camden). “And to the degree that we can save local governments and school boards the costs of printing and mailing plans that can be sent electronically, the better, as well.”

The legislation (S-1839) would allow any public or private entity, organization or educational institution required to submit an emergency response plan to the state Office of Emergency management to do so through secure electronic transmission. The bill specifically includes all safety and security plans required by school districts, counties and municipalities.

“The important thing is that counties, towns and schools have workable emergency management plans in place, not that they spend money to print out and mail paper copies to the state,” said Norcross (D-Camden). “We need to start embracing more efficient ways for local organizations to meet state reporting requirements. Allowing schools, towns and counties to rely more on paperless solutions is a good place to start.”

The bill would not override any requirement that a paper copy of an emergency management plan be kept on-site for reference during an actual crisis situation.

The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee released the measure 5-0. It now is poised for a vote by the full Senate.

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