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Democrats Propose Legislation to Improve Disaster Communication

November 17, 2005
By: Tim Walker
State Capital Bureau

State Democrats propose legislation to improve disaster preparedness.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Representative Ed Wildberger, a Democrat from St. Joseph, says he proposed the legislation because he thinks Missouri isn't doing enough to prepare.

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"We saw a disaster with Katrina, and I can see some similarities between Missouri and Louisiana, where I think we need to shore things up a little bit."

Governor Blunt's spokesmen, Spence Jackson, says the legislation is unnecessary.

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"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and essentially everything that they're proposing involves things that we're already doing or are actively considering."

This week, Governor Blunt approved a federal program to provide all emergency personnel with the same communication training.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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State Democrats are planning to push legislation to improve disaster preparedness.

Tim Walker has more from the Jefferson City.

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Democrats say the proposed legislation would ensure a quicker response to disasters through improved communication.

Representative Ed Wildberger, a Democrat from St. Joseph, will sponsor the legislation.

He says he hopes Republicans will support it.

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"If they don't see what we've seen as a weakness in the system, that they will adopt what we're saying and join us in trying to get this legislation passed."

But the spokesman for Governor Blunt, Spence Jackson, says the state is already doing what the legislation proposes.

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"Trying to co-opt us out of work that we're already doing, and a lot of other people have put a lot of time and energy into."

The State Emergency Management Agency is overseeing an effort in the state to standardize communication between emergency personnel.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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State Democrats plan to introduce legislation to improve disaster response but the Governor's office says it's unnecessary.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The announcement comes just days after Governor Blunt ordered standardized communication training for emergency responders.

Representative Ed Wildberger, a Democrat from St. Joseph will sponsor the legislation. Wildberger says the Governor's new training program doesn't go far enough.

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"I'd say the biggest problem with the system right now is the lack of a communication system that works properly, and I'm talking about communication on the ground, on the first responders."

The Governor's spokesman, Spence Jackson, says the state is prepared.

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"You can sit around and think about and strategize things and debate things, debate what you might do. But what really matters is what happens once that tornado comes through or once that earthquake hits."

Democrats say they hope Wildberger's says bill will pass next year.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.