SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced he will seek a supplemental appropriation of $17 million to meet the state’s immediate needs for domestic preparedness. The money will bolster the state’s already proactive efforts to prepare for bioterrorism by investing in the state public health lab system and establishing a pharmaceutical stockpile.
The domestic preparedness supplemental request builds upon aggressive planning already in place under the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, established by Governor Ryan in May of 2000, and the efforts of Homeland Security Coordinator Matt Bettenhausen to ensure the state is prepared to meet today’s security threats.
“Planning and preparation is our focus. Vigilance is our watchword,” Governor Ryan said. “But our mission is never done. So today, I am announcing our plans to request funding from the General Assembly to ensure we have the tools we need to protect our people.”
The $17 million domestic preparedness supplemental appropriation will allow Illinois to meet immediate needs to upgrade state health laboratories and prepare police, fire and National Guardsmen to meet their new missions.
“This is a further investment in the immediate needs of the state,” Gov. Ryan said. “We expect the federal government to act to provide state, county and local governments with significant additional funding to meet these national defense needs and priorities.”
The Governor’s request includes $4 million to enhance the state’s Department of Public Health system, including expanding the ability to test and identify biological agents at the three public health labs. The funding will increase equipment and scientists in Springfield, Chicago and Carbondale, cutting the turnaround time for results from 2 days to 2 hours. The request will also boost capacity for the Department of Agriculture lab facilities to protect our food supplies.
If a biological terrorist act occurs, time is a crucial factor for criminal investigators. Governor Ryan’s proposal would also include creating a laboratory information management system, allowing all three state labs to look for data on cases handled by the lab system. The Governor will also direct the Department of Public Health to create a rapid disease reporting system, to inform all medical and public safety personnel as soon as possible of any outbreaks.
Also included in the Domestic Preparedness Supplemental Request:
- $2 Million to provide more specialized terrorism related training for firefighters across the state.
- $2.5 Million for a pharmaceutical stockpile for first responders, to provide protection so they can respond and assist the public in the event of a chemical, biological or nuclear incident.
- $7 Million to pay for efforts in the future and to cover extraordinary equipment or personnel expenses for security and public safety.
Governor Ryan’s supplemental request unveiled today only addresses Illinois’ immediate needs. Long term projects to enhance the state’s security include a FEMA sponsored urban search and rescue team and an expanded telecommunications system that would allow federal, state and local public safety agencies to communicate in the event of an emergency.
“We will continue to work with Congress as they work to pass a homeland security and anti-terrorism package,“ Governor Ryan said. “We need to act now with our $17 Million domestic preparedness request.”