W.Va. first responders oppose Homeland Security bill

Published: May. 11, 2019 at 1:11 PM EDT
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West Virginia first responders have voted unanimously to oppose any legislation that would reorganize the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports the vote Friday from emergency management directors in all 55 counties in Moundsville was in anticipation of the introduction of a potential bill at an upcoming special legislative session. A similar bill died during the regular session earlier this year.

The plan would establish the Cabinet-level position of state resiliency officer under the state National Guard.

The division has operated under the National Guard's authority since Gov. Jim Justice's order in October. Justice said then the move would make the division more effective and efficient.

Some emergency managers say they are civilians and don't want to be working within a military presence.