Update: State Senate unanimously passes disaster relief bill package

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Senate Bill 7, authored by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, passed unanimously March 20, along with SB 6 and SB 8 as part of a multibillion dollar package, which heads to the Texas House for consideration next.

State Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, filed SB 8 to create a statewide flood mitigation plan dividing Texas into regions based on river basins, allowing regional officials and stakeholders to make decisions on projects to protect local residents and property from flooding.

State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, filed SB 6, intended to create a model guide for what officials should do in the immediate aftermath of flooding based on studies showing Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery, rescue and relief efforts.

SB 7 would create the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund, the funding mechanism for SB 6 and SB 8, according to Creighton’s floor remarks. He said this bill will bring Texas tax dollars back to the state, maximizing federal recovery funds.

“Harvey was a storm of biblical proportions is not an everyday, expected occurrence. We didn’t budget last year expecting to experience the largest storm in U.S. history. However, we have budgeted conservatively over that past years,” Creighton said in his remarks. “We have saved money in our Rainy Day Fund, and it is at a historic balance. The Rainy Day Fund was created precisely for events like this—one-time expenditures to recover and rebuild.”

The fund will be administered by the Texas Water Development Board and is the state’s Texas-sized response for recovery from Harvey and mitigation in the future, according to Creighton.

“[SB] 7 is the next step of stepping up and taking care of each other,” Creighton said in his remarks. “The next storm is ‘when,’ not ‘if,’ so let’s take bold action today to prepare Texas.”

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Jules Rogers
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jules Rogers has been covering community journalism and urban trade news since 2014. She moved to Houston in June 2018 to become an editor with Community Impact Newspaper after four years of reporting for various newspapers affiliated with the Portland Tribune in Oregon, including two years at the Portland Business Tribune. Before that, Jules spent time reporting for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Southern Oregon. Her favorite beats to cover are business, economic development and urban planning.
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