Chairman Morrison files HB 6 and HB 7 to improve Texas’ emergency management functions
AUSTIN, Texas — State Representative Geanie W. Morrison filed two significant bills on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 to improve disaster preparation and recovery in Texas.
House Bill 6 and House Bill 7 were drafted from policy recommendations made by the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas. The Commission was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey to ensure that Texas would be better prepared to withstand future disasters.
Through coordination and support by the Speaker’s Office and bi-partisan collaboration throughout the Texas House, Chairman Morrison filed these two bills as part of a larger package of Harvey-inspired legislation with the goal of reducing red tape for Texans during and after a natural disaster.
“A top priority for the House is to help our Gulf Coast fully rebuild and recover from the lasting effects of Hurricane Harvey. We are actively working together because a unique opportunity exists this session to apply lessons learned since Harvey – including more efficient organization and effective coordination between state and local governments, as well as more accessible information to the public and more timely response efforts. Whether it’s a hurricane, a flood, or a wildfire, we are committed to making Texans more resilient for future disasters,” stated Chairman Morrison.
“One of the top priorities of the Texas House this session is passing legislation that would better equip the State of Texas to respond to emergencies like Hurricane Harvey,” stated Speaker Dennis Bonnen. “I applaud Rep. Morrison for spearheading this vital effort and for filing House Bills 6 and 7 to get us one step closer to our goal. Rep. Morrison’s legislation will better prepare us to withstand and respond to future disasters, saving countless lives in the process.”
HB 6 would task the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) with developing a Disaster Recovery Task Force to assist communities and individuals with specialized assistance including financial issues, federal assistance programs, and recovery and resiliency planning to streamline and speed recovery at the local level.
The Rebuild Texas report identified recovery as the weakest phase of the emergency management cycle in Texas and the mission of this task force would be to strengthen recovery functions while utilizing resources of the Texas A&M University System, including the AgriLife Extension Service, state agencies and organized volunteer groups.
HB 7 would help state agencies and local jurisdictions eliminate administrative red tape that slows down effective emergency management functions. This includes maintaining a standing list of regulatory waivers needed during a disaster, compiling statutes or rules that must be suspended during an emergency, and working out partnership agreements and contracted services before disaster strikes. This will allow our communities and families to access much timelier assistance.
State Representative Geanie W. Morrison is currently serving her eleventh term in the Texas House of Representatives. House District 30 includes Aransas, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Refugio, and Victoria Counties.
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