Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) scored a win this week as the National Urban Search and Rescue Parity Act passed the Senate.
The legislation eliminated a policy that currently prevents federal employees from helping the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue efforts.
Speaking on the matter, Senator Rick Scott explained that “During my time as Governor of Florida, my state experienced a number of devastating hurricanes that required quick action on the local, state and federal levels.”
Moreover, “search and rescue teams are a critical component of disaster recovery, and I’m proud to co-sponsor the National Urban Search and Rescue Parity Act, which will give federal employees the ability to provide lifesaving help during times of crisis.”
With the passing of the bipartisan bill, the Senator took to twitter to voice his support for the move, saying that “Floridians have experienced first-hand the devastation that comes from a disaster.”
Floridians have experienced first-hand the devastation that comes from a disaster.
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) August 8, 2019
As well, he assured that the bill will be beneficial because it “allows federal employees to assist FEMA in search & rescue efforts.”
In 2016, the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System Act made sure that non-federal employees would be allowed to participate in Urban Search and Rescue task forces, which provided them with federal protections from risks including liability, illness, personal injury, disability or death.
Federal employees would not receive the same protections because they are protected elsewhere in U.S. Code because of their full-time federal government employment.
In turn, FEMA interpreted the law to mean that federal workers would be prohibited from participating in task forces. This affects US&R members in the United States who are prohibited from active involvement in saving lives.
The bill is now sent to President Trump’s desk for him to sign.