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2008 SESSION


CHAPTER 450
An Act to amend and reenact 44-146.18 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 1 of Title 23 sections numbered 23-9.2:9, 23-9.2:10, and 23-9.2:11, relating to crisis and emergency management for public institutions of higher education.
[H 1449]
Approved March 7, 2008

 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 44-146.18 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding in Chapter 1 of Title 23 sections numbered 23-9.2:9, 23-9.2:10, and 23-9.2:11 as follows:

23-9.2:9. Institutional crisis and emergency management plan; review required.

The board of visitors or other governing body of each public institution of higher education shall develop, adopt, and keep current a written crisis and emergency management plan. Every four years, each institution shall conduct a comprehensive review and revision of its crisis and emergency management plan to ensure the plan remains current, and the revised plan shall be adopted formally by the board of visitors or other governing body. Such review shall also be certified in writing to the Department of Emergency Management. The institution shall coordinate with the local emergency management organization, as defined by 44-146.16, to ensure integration into the local emergency operations plan.

23-9.2:10. Violence prevention committee; threat assessment team.

A. Each public college or university shall have in place policies and procedures for the prevention of violence on campus, including assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of the campus community.

B. The board of visitors or other governing body of each public institution of higher education shall determine a committee structure on campus of individuals charged with education and prevention of violence on campus. Each committee shall include representatives from student affairs, law enforcement, human resources, counseling services, residence life, and other constituencies as needed. Such committee shall also consult with legal counsel as needed. Once formed, each committee shall develop a clear statement of: (i) mission, (ii) membership, and (iii) leadership. Such statement shall be published and available to the campus community.

C. Each committee shall be charged with: (i) providing guidance to students, faculty, and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community; (ii) identification of members of the campus community to whom threatening behavior should be reported; and (iii) policies and procedures for the assessment of individuals whose behavior may present a threat, appropriate means of intervention with such individuals, and sufficient means of action, including interim suspension or medical separation to resolve potential threats.

D. The board of visitors or other governing body of each public institution of higher education shall establish a specific threat assessment team that shall include members from law enforcement, mental health professionals, representatives of student affairs and human resources, and, if available, college or university counsel. Such team shall implement the assessment, intervention and action policies set forth by the committee pursuant to subsection C.

E. Each threat assessment team shall establish relationships or utilize existing relationships with local and state law enforcement agencies as well as mental health agencies to expedite assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior may present a threat to safety.  

23-9.2:11. First warning and emergency notification system required.

By January 1, 2009, the governing boards of each public institution of higher education shall establish a comprehensive, prompt, and reliable first warning notification and emergency broadcast system for their students, faculty, and staff, both on and off campus. Such system shall be activated in the case of an emergency and may rely on website announcements; email notices; phone, cellular phone, and text messages; alert lines; public address systems; and other means of communication. In addition, each institution shall designate individuals authorized to activate the warning system and provide such individuals with appropriate training for its use.  

44-146.18. Department of Emergency Services continued as Department of Emergency Management; administration and operational control; coordinator and other personnel; powers and duties.

A. The State Office of Emergency Services is continued and shall hereafter be known as the Department of Emergency Management. Wherever the words "State Department of Emergency Services" are used in any law of the Commonwealth, they shall mean the Department of Emergency Management. During a declared emergency this Department shall revert to the operational control of the Governor. The Department shall have a coordinator who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor and also serve as State Emergency Planning Director. The Department shall employ the professional, technical, secretarial, and clerical employees necessary for the performance of its functions.

B. The State Department of Emergency Management shall in the administration of emergency services and disaster preparedness programs:

1. In coordination with political subdivisions and state agencies, ensure that the Commonwealth has up-to-date assessments and preparedness plans to prevent, respond to and recover from all disasters including acts of terrorism;

2. Conduct a statewide emergency management assessment in cooperation with political subdivisions, private industry and other public and private entities deemed vital to preparedness, public safety and security. The assessment shall include a review of emergency response plans, which include the variety of hazards, natural and man-made. The assessment shall be updated annually;

3. Submit to the Governor and to the General Assembly, no later than the first day of each regular session of the General Assembly, an annual executive summary and report on the status of emergency management response plans throughout the Commonwealth and other measures taken or recommended to prevent, respond to and recover from disasters, including acts of terrorism. This report shall be made available to the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports. Information submitted in accordance with the procedures set forth in subdivision 4 of 2.2-3705.2 shall not be disclosed unless:

a. It is requested by law-enforcement authorities in furtherance of an official investigation or the prosecution of a criminal act;

b. The agency holding the record is served with a proper judicial order; or

c. The agency holding the record has obtained written consent to release the information from the State Department of Emergency Management;

4. Promulgate plans and programs that are conducive to adequate disaster mitigation preparedness, response and recovery programs;

5. Prepare and maintain a State Emergency Operations Plan for disaster response and recovery operations that assigns primary and support responsibilities for basic emergency services functions to state agencies, organizations and personnel as appropriate;

6. Coordinate and administer disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery plans and programs with the proponent federal, state and local government agencies and related groups;

7. Provide guidance and assistance to state agencies and units of local government in developing and maintaining emergency management and continuity of operations (COOP) programs, plans and systems;

8. Make necessary recommendations to agencies of the federal, state, or local governments on preventive and preparedness measures designed to eliminate or reduce disasters and their impact;

9. Determine requirements of the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions for those necessities needed in the event of a declared emergency which are not otherwise readily available;

10. Assist state agencies and political subdivisions in establishing and operating training programs and programs of public information and education regarding emergency services and disaster preparedness activities;

11. Consult with the Board of Education regarding the development and revision of a model school crisis and emergency management plan for the purpose of assisting public schools in establishing, operating, and maintaining emergency services and disaster preparedness activities;

12. Consult with the State Council of Higher Education in the development and revision of a model institutional crisis and emergency management plan for the purpose of assisting public and private two-year and four-year institutions of higher education in establishing, operating, and maintaining emergency services and disaster preparedness activities and, as needed, in developing an institutional crisis and emergency management plan pursuant to 23-9.2:9;

13. Develop standards, provide guidance and encourage the maintenance of local and state agency emergency operations plans;

14. Prepare, maintain, coordinate or implement emergency resource management plans and programs with federal, state and local government agencies and related groups, and make such surveys of industries, resources, and facilities within the Commonwealth, both public and private, as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter;

15. Coordinate with the federal government and any public or private agency or entity in achieving any purpose of this chapter and in implementing programs for disaster prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery;

16. Establish guidelines pursuant to 44-146.28, and administer payments to eligible applicants as authorized by the Governor;

17. Coordinate and be responsible for the receipt, evaluation, and dissemination of emergency services intelligence pertaining to all probable hazards affecting the Commonwealth;

18. Coordinate intelligence activities relating to terrorism with the Department of State Police; and

19. Develop an emergency response plan to address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals in the event of a disaster and assist and coordinate with local agencies in developing an emergency response plan for household pets and service animals.

C. The State Department of Emergency Management shall during a period of impending emergency or declared emergency be responsible for:

1. The receipt, evaluation, and dissemination of intelligence pertaining to an impending or actual disaster;

2. Providing facilities from which state agencies and supporting organizations may conduct emergency operations;

3. Providing an adequate communications and warning system capable of notifying all political subdivisions in the Commonwealth of an impending disaster within a reasonable time;

4. Establishing and maintaining liaison with affected political subdivisions;

5. Determining requirements for disaster relief and recovery assistance;

6. Coordinating disaster response actions of federal, state and volunteer relief agencies;

7. Coordinating and providing guidance and assistance to affected political subdivisions to ensure orderly and timely response to and recovery from disaster effects.

D. The State Department of Emergency Management shall be provided the necessary facilities and equipment needed to perform its normal day-to-day activities and coordinate disaster-related activities of the various federal, state, and other agencies during a state of emergency declaration by the Governor or following a major disaster declaration by the President.

E. The State Department of Emergency Management is authorized to enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to performance of any of its duties stated in this section or otherwise assigned to it by law, including contracts with the United States, other states, agencies and government subdivisions of the Commonwealth, and other appropriate public and private entities.

F. The State Department of Emergency Management shall encourage private industries whose goods and services are deemed vital to the public good to provide annually updated preparedness assessments to the local coordinator of emergency management on or before April 1 of each year, to facilitate overall Commonwealth preparedness. For the purposes of this section, "private industry" means companies, private hospitals, and other businesses or organizations deemed by the State Coordinator of Emergency Management to be essential to the public safety and well-being of the citizens of the Commonwealth.