Casperson disaster relief bill sent to Gov. Snyder

A bill authored by Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) to help local units of government respond to disasters or emergencies has been sent to Governor Rick Snyder to sign.

Senate Bill 330 says the Disaster and Emergency Fund can provide grants up to $100,000 to communities and municipalities that are financially strained in an event of a disaster or emergency that is declared by the governor.

Previously the law capped grants at $30,000.  The funds were not giving areas impacted by emergencies enough financial assistance.

In a press release, Casperson said:

“Communities across the Upper Peninsula have experienced emergency situations over the years, including the Duck Lake fire in 2012 and flooding this spring, which were real, vivid prompts of the need for this change.”

“I am very proud that the U.P. has stepped up once again and led the way for meaningful reform, as passage of this bill is really due to local officials and emergency managers throughout the U.P. using these emergencies to identify this need and making the case for these changes.  Through their efforts and advocacy, we found that some more help from the state in terms of response efforts would go a long ways.”

Senate Bill 330 will work with House Bill 4760 to ensure that Michigan has funds readily available for distribution to communities in a quick manner.

“Having had two of Michigan’s largest forest fires in Luce County in the past, we know what a benefit the changes in the legislation would have made toward assisting in response efforts on the fires,” Luce County Emergency Manager Terry Stark said in a press release.  “Local funds and resources were challenged quickly during the fires. Senator Casperson’s bill was much needed to provide valuable assistance to local governments when disasters or emergencies are declared by the governor.”

In order to receive emergency disaster funding, local units of government will have to submit a resolution and application asking for assistance.  The applications and resolutions will be sent to the Emergency Management Division of the Michigan State Police for review and are then forwarded to the governor.