Disaster response
5:29 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Mo. House committee releases disaster recommendations

A Missouri House committee that’s been looking into natural disaster response has released a list of recommendations for lawmakers to take up next year.

One of them would create a joint House-Senate committee that would have oversight into the use of the state’s Rainy Day fund for disaster expenses.   Speaker Pro-tem Shane Schoeller (R, Willard) supports the idea.

“Certainly the only time we’ve accessed it was in the floods in the early to mid-90’s, and so at this point I think we’re trying to determine how much local resources are," Schoeller said.

State Representative Terry Swinger (D, Caruthersville) opposed that provision and voted “no.”

“I know how things go in the legislature a lot of times," Swinger said.  "A lot of times, these folks can’t agree on things, and if it’s something that needs a quick, rapid response, I still think you need the Chief Executive (i.e. Governor)…I think that’s what the Chief Executive is there for.”

Other recommendations include providing interest-free loans for uninsured disaster victims and to help offset insurance deductibles, a property tax break for businesses damaged by floods or storms, and allowing doctors and nurses licensed in other states to work in Missouri disaster zones.  The regular legislative session begins January 4th.