(a) The position of Director of Homeland Security is created. The director shall be the head of the department. The director shall be appointed by and hold office at the pleasure of the Governor and shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any person holding the position of director on June 18, 2003, shall not be subject to confirmation by the Senate. The director shall devote his or her entire time to the duties of office and shall be subject to Chapter 25, Title 36, the Alabama Ethics Law. The salary of the director shall be set by the Governor.
(b) The director, subject to the direction and authority of the Governor, shall be the executive head of the department and shall be responsible to the Governor for coordinating, designing, and implementing Alabama's program for homeland security. The director shall be the principal point of contact for and to the Governor with respect to homeland security issues.
(c) The director is given the following additional and cumulative powers and duties to:
(1) Receive intelligence information from federal authorities relating to homeland security and ensure that, to the extent allowed by law, all appropriate and necessary intelligence and law enforcement information regarding homeland security is disseminated to and exchanged among appropriate executive departments responsible for homeland security, and where appropriate, promote the exchange of such information with county and local governments and private entities.
(2) Assist in planning and executing exercises and simulations designed to practice those systems that would be utilized in response to a terrorist threat or attack within Alabama.
(3) Assist in state efforts to ensure public health preparedness for a terrorist event.
(4) Engage in the exchange of information with the federal government relating to immigration and efforts to improve the security of the borders, territorial waters, and ports of the United States.
(5) Coordinate the efforts to protect the people of Alabama and the state's critical infrastructure from terrorist attack, including, but not limited to, energy production, transmission and distribution systems, telecommunications, nuclear facilities, public and privately owned information systems, special public and private events, transportation hubs and networks, livestock, water, food supplies, and research institutions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the director shall not impose security requirements on any private sector facility that are inconsistent with existing or future requirements applicable to private sector facilities pursuant to federal law or regulations, including those adopted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the federal Department of Homeland Security or other federal agencies.
(6) Ensure that state, county, and local governmental agencies and authorities coordinate and cooperate with private sector security forces responsible for the protection of critical infrastructure consistent with federal laws and regulations applicable to private sector security forces related to homeland security issues.
(7) Promulgate, pursuant to the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act, necessary rules to implement and administer this chapter.
(d) The director shall coordinate the strategy of the Executive Branch for communicating with the public in the event of a terrorist threat or attack within the State of Alabama. The director shall also coordinate the development of programs for educating the public about the nature of terrorist threats and the appropriate precautions and responses.
(e) The director shall provide information and advice to the Director of Finance and to the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Finances and Budgets on the level and use of funding for state departments and agencies relating to homeland security. Prior to the Governor transmitting the annual budget to the Legislature, the director shall certify to the Director of Finance the funding levels that are necessary and appropriate to carry out the homeland security activities of the Executive Branch.
(f) The director and other personnel of the department shall be provided with appropriate office space, furniture, equipment, supplies, stationery, and printing in the same manner as provided for personnel of other state agencies.
(g) The director shall have such additional authority, duties, and responsibilities as may be prescribed by the Governor within the confines of this chapter.