Just how the Federal Emergency Management Agency decides whether to grant individual assistance money in times of crisis would be reassessed in Rep. Nick Rahall’s bill, approved now a second time by the House.
Rahall offered the original text last year in the wake of the June 29 derecho that led to massive disruption of power and caused heavy damage for individual home and business owners.
Under existing guidelines, FEMA provided only limited assistance to individuals after the horrific windstorm.
“The sensible and timely review of FEMA’s individual assistance guidelines that the House has again voted to require will help to ensure that our federal disaster assistance programs are, in fact, reaching those they are designed to help,” Rahall, D-W.Va., said Tuesday.
“Too many West Virginia residents have been left for months on end to wonder if federal assistance would be available to them after they lost paychecks, large food stores, medications and property, following the monstrous storms that we experienced last year.”
Rahall called for speedy action by the Senate and approval by the White House.
Millions of dollars in losses were tabulated in the storm that found winds gusting in excess of 80 miles per hour.
Since such losses didn’t specifically come within FEMA’s guidelines, the state’s bid for individual assistance initially was turned down. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin filed a second request and this time, four counties qualified.
Rahall said his bill calls for more flexibility and more objective criteria in ascertaining if assistance requests are granted.
Under the bill, FEMA would have one year to review, update and revise through rule-making the factors the agency considers when gauging the severity, magnitude and impact of a disaster.
Rahall’s proposal had to be offered anew, since House Republicans blocked consideration of the Senate-approved Superstorm Sandy bill when the 112th Congress ended.
“West Virginia residents suffered considerable losses from the unforgiving winds of the derecho and Sandy’s snowfalls, but because those losses didn’t fall neatly within the current FEMA guidelines, needed federal aid has been bottled up behind bureaucratic guidelines or significantly limited,” the 3rd District congressman said.
“In the true spirit of our state, neighbors helped one another in their time of need and our communities have gotten back on their feet. But those who suffered such significant losses at the hands of Mother Nature also deserve assistance from the federal relief programs that their tax dollars support.”
- Local News
Senate Bill will regulate above ground storage tanks
Legislation designed to regulate above-ground storage tanks, written in response to a chemical leak on the Elk River early in the session, got a unanimous vote in the state Senate Friday night and high praise from the bill’s author.
Greenbrier alters school calendar to make up days
In an effort to make up instructional days lost to weather-related school cancellations, Greenbrier County Schools is announcing additional adjustments to the 2013-14 school calendar including cancellation of scheduled two-hour delays for Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) on March 17 and May 5 as well as a change in the Instructional Support & Enhancement (ISE) Day scheduled for April 21.
Young Country Tour to visit Beckley this month
Two young country musicians will perform at The Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre during the Young Country Tour at 8 p.m. March 15.
Abortion bill moves to third reading in the Senate
The State Senate moved a bill some legislators say is unconstitutional, while others say it is necessary to stop the practice of abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.
- Calendar — Saturday, March 8, 2014
VIDEO: Guilty. Life without mercy.
Although Cyan Maroney’s friends and family cannot bring her back, they can rest assured that her killer will spend the rest of his life behind the bars of a prison cell.
It took a jury less than 40 minutes to find Jeremy James Lambert, 33, guilty of first-degree murder without mercy. He will spend the remainder of his life in prison without the chance of parole.
Senator makes case to keep golf course open
Officials in Fayette County are trying to keep a landmark recreational destination away from the state chopping block as lawmakers grapple with a $265 million budgetary shortfall. Sen. William R. Laird, D-Fayette, made his case to the Senate on Wednesday to keep Hawks Nest Golf Course open.
Abortion bill passes Senate Judiciary Committee
A bill that will criminalize a doctor who performs an abortion after 20 weeks of gestation passed the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Thursday evening on a muffled, split voice vote. The bill, which sets out to protect a fetus from pain by prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, will be on second reading on the Senate floor today.
TWV’s plans waiting in the wings for funding
The future of Theatre West Virginia’s revival sits in the hands of officials in Charleston, TWV’s general manager says.
110 Marshall to host blues group
“Playing the blues ... and only the blues” is the motto of Charles-ton-based blues group Chaz Humley and the Effects, who will be playing at Beckley’s eclectic 110 Marshall (Ave.) music and arts venue at 8 p.m. Saturday.
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- Senate Bill will regulate above ground storage tanks