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Indiana disaster relief funds more accessible under bill headed to House

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Community, Government, Politics, Weather
Sen. Cyndi Carrasco (R-Indianapolis) is the author of a priority bill of Gov. Eric Holcomb's that expands access to state disaster relief funds. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Hoosiers in need after a disaster would be able to access more money, more easily from the state’s disaster relief fund under legislation headed to the House.

Sen. Cyndi Carrasco’s (R-Indianapolis) bill would provide up to $25,000 — increased from $10,000 — for individuals with lost or damaged property due to a disaster. It also eliminates a requirement that, to be eligible for the funds, the U.S. Small Business Administration must first declare a disaster.

“It is important to remember that the state disaster relief fund is only available when federal assistance is not available,” Carrasco said.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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SB 190 also allows counties to get more money after a disaster if they’ve done disaster mitigation work beforehand. That includes adopting a hazard mitigation plan and performing emergency management exercises.

“Studies show that for every $1 spent on a mitigation activity, $6 to $7 are saved in recovery costs,” Carrasco said.

Indiana’s disaster relief fund is funded by a fee on the sale of fireworks. And the Holcomb administration said it collects enough to cover the expanded relief under the legislation, which is a priority of the governor’s.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.