Sometimes health issues grow large enough that they become public safety issues.   Governor Nixon will propose steps to move some health department functions into public safety for faster response.

Governor Nixon has seen the biggest emergency management challenges in his first term tied to the weather–floods, tornadoes, droughts.  But he says the federal government has passed laws on food safety that might require a coordinated, broad, response. He remembers recalls on peanut butter or e coli concerns about lettuce, or Missouri cheese that caused health problems.  Sometimes, he says, the situation becomes so big that order has to be restored and kept while proper emergency responses can be made. He says those emergencies need a command and control that public safety can provide.

He’ll be proposing some realignments with a few weeks moving some functions of the state health department into public safety.

Nixon says the state needs to make sure it can respond quickly and efficiently if a terrorist attack or an incident endangers not only public safety but public health, too.  He says his office will ut forth some specific proposals by the middle of next month.  Some suggestions might be things he can do through executive orders.  But he says these and other agency realignments might require new laws or even constitutional changes.

 AUDIO: Nixon interview (excerpt) 3:57