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  By: Raymond H.B. No. 12
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to a study on a statewide disaster and extended power
  outage alert system and implementation of that system.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 418, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter J to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER J. STATEWIDE DISASTER ALERT SYSTEM
         Sec. 418.301.  DEFINITION. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Alert system" means the standardized statewide
  disaster alert system described by this subchapter;
               (2)  "Commission" means the public utility commission
  of Texas;
               (3)  "Disaster" has the meaning assigned by Section
  418.001 and includes an extended power outage;
               (4)  "Electric utility" means an entity, including a
  river authority, electric cooperative, or municipally owned
  utility, that:
                     (A)  provides power generation service in this
  state; or
                     (B)  provides transmission or distribution
  service in this state;
               (5)  "ERCOT" means the Electric Reliability Council of
  Texas or a successor independent organization established by the
  commission under Chapter 39.151, Utilities Code;
               (6)  "Extended power outage" means a power outage
  lasting more than 24 hours.
         Sec. 418.3015.  STUDY ON STATEWIDE DISASTER ALERT SYSTEM.  
  (a)  The division shall conduct a study on the efficacy of existing
  mass notification deployments by local governmental entities
  throughout this state and the feasibility of establishing a
  statewide disaster alert system. The study must:
               (1)  identify the costs to local governmental entities
  associated with existing local disaster alert or notification
  systems;
               (2)  examine the potential benefits to local
  governmental entities of implementing an alert system in
  coordination with this state, including:
                     (A)  improving this state's ability to coordinate
  state and local responses to disasters; and
                     (B)  eliminating barriers to successful mass
  notification and communication encountered by local governmental
  entities during disasters;
               (3)  examine the importance of a local governmental
  entity's discretion regarding the entity's level and manner of
  participation in the alert system;
               (4)  examine potential costs to local governmental
  entities or this state associated with implementing the alert
  system;
               (5)  examine the ability of local governments to
  communicate with ERCOT, the PUC, and electric utilities that serve
  their area;
               (6)  identify any state or local governmental entity
  actions necessary to implement a comprehensive alert system that
  would include alerts related to extended power outages.
         (b)  Not later than March 1, 2022, the division shall prepare
  and submit to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the
  legislature a report on the findings of the study.
         (c)  An electric utility, ERCOT, and the commission shall
  provide information related to the implementation of a
  comprehensive alert system to the division on request. Information
  provide to the division, the commission, or ERCOT under this
  subchapter is confidential and excepted from disclosure under
  Chapter 552, Government Code.
         (c)  This section expires September 1, 2027.
         Sec. 418.302.  ESTABLISHMENT OF ALERT SYSTEM.  (a)  The
  division, with the cooperation of the office of the governor, the
  commission, and ERCOT, may develop and implement a statewide
  disaster alert system to activate in the event of a disaster
  affecting any location in this state.
         (a-1)  If, based on the findings of the study conducted under
  Section 418.3015, the division and office of the governor conclude
  that the benefits to this state and local governmental entities of
  implementing a coordinated alert system outweigh any additional
  costs, the division, with the cooperation of the office and other
  appropriate state agencies and using money available for the
  purpose, shall develop and implement the alert system. This
  subsection expires September 1, 2027.
         (b)  A local governmental entity that chooses to participate
  in an alert system implemented under this subchapter may use
  available local funds for that purpose and may contract with the
  department for services associated with the alert system. A local
  governmental entity is not required to use local funds to allow an
  electric utility to participate in the alert system.
         (c)  An alert system implemented under this subchapter may
  be:
               (1)  operated in conjunction with any other emergency
  alert system required by federal or state law; and
               (2)  designed to notify persons statewide of a disaster
  affecting any location in this state.
         (d)  An alert system implemented under this subchapter
  designed to communicate about an extended power outage must apply
  to areas served by non-ERCOT utilities.
         Sec. 418.303.  ACTIVATION OF ALERT SYSTEM.  (a)  When the
  division determines a disaster has occurred or the occurrence or
  threat of disaster is imminent or is notified of a declaration of
  disaster under this chapter, the division may immediately activate
  any alert system implemented under this subchapter. A participating
  local governmental entity may, in coordination with the division,
  choose the manner in which the alert system is activated and
  notifications are issued within the entity's geographic region.
         (b)  The division, or local governmental entity, as
  appropriate, may issue updated notifications for the duration of
  the disaster.
         (c)  An electric utility shall notify ERCOT, the commission,
  and the division of an interruption in service that is likely to
  last more than 24 hours.
         Sec. 418.304.  CONTENT OF ALERT SYSTEM NOTIFICATION.  A
  notification issued under an alert system implemented under this
  subchapter may include information necessary to:
               (1)  assist a person affected by the disaster with
  making informed decisions regarding the person's safety; and
               (2)  enable a person in another location in this state
  to assist an affected person.
         Sec. 418.305.  TERMINATION OF ALERT SYSTEM. The division may
  terminate the activation of an alert system when:
               (1)  the division determines that:
                     (A)  the threat or danger has passed; or
                     (B)  the disaster has been addressed to the extent
  that emergency conditions no longer exist
               (2)  the service interruption caused by the extended
  power outage has ended; or
               (3)  the state of disaster is terminated as provided by
  this chapter.
         Sec. 418.306.  RULES.  (a)  The division may adopt rules
  necessary to implement this subchapter.
         (b)  The division may consult with the commission, ERCOT, or
  an electric utility when drafting the rules required by subsection
  (a)
         SECTION 2.  As soon as practicable after the effective date
  of this Act:
               (1)  the Texas Division of Emergency Management shall
  conduct the study required by Section 418.3015, Government Code, as
  added by this Act; and
               (2)  based on the results of the study, if applicable,
  the chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management shall
  implement an alert system under Subchapter J, Chapter 418,
  Government Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2021.