The Public Safety Radio bill, a MACo Initiative is proceeding steadily through the Senate and the House. On Wednesday, the House version passed second reader on the House floor. A day earlier, the Senate crossfile was voted favorable unanimously out of the Senate Finance Committee. While it still has a few more steps, MACo’s initiative bill seems to be on its way to passage.
The Senate Finance hearing on SB 338 – Public Safety – Statewide Interoperability Radio Control Board – Established went very smoothly, with Chairman Mac Middleton and Vice Chairman John Astle expressing their support for the bill. Talbot County’s Clay Stamp testified with MACo at the hearing, speaking about the importance of the bill to the nine counties that make up the Eastern Shore Communications Alliance, and also as a next step in our state’s public safety communications structure.
The Washington Post recently reported on the progress of the bill, stating that the House of Delegates is set to vote today on whether to create a board governing the new statewide emergency radio system. As described in the Post’s coverage,
The state has been working for more than a decade to create one secure radio system on which police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency workers can easily talk. It’s now in place in many areas, but several counties are waiting to join. They want to have a voice in how it’s run, said Robin Clark, a policy analyst for the Maryland Association of Counties.
HB308/SB338 will create a governance body for the Statewide Public Safety Radio System, MD FiRST. Creation of a representative governance body for Maryland FiRST was a MACo initiative for the 2014 Legislative Session.