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Disaster Recovery and Reform Act attached to FAA reauthorization

'Beach Haven, New Jersey, USA - December 1, 2012: Retail businesses in Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey, gut their shops and put the debris out at the curb as they start the grueling task of recovery and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.' Photo via Getty Images

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FAA reauthorization includes disaster reforms including direct funding to counties by the federal government for employees involved in structural inspection

The Disaster Recovery and Reform Act, passed by the House April 27 as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4), would implement new reforms to the Robert T. Stafford Act, which outlines many of FEMA’s key roles in disaster response. 

New provisions included in the Disaster Recovery Reform Act important to local governments include measures that would allow the federal government to provide direct funding to local governments to pay for base and overtime wages for new employees who implement or enforce building codes that reduce the likelihood for damages to structures due to natural disasters. 

The bill would also direct FEMA and the Federal Highway Administration to develop and issue guidance for local governments regarding the identification, design and construction of evacuation routes to help move residents and workers away from hazardous areas that have been impacted by disasters.

Additionally, the bill would direct FEMA to provide guidance to state and local governments, first responders and utility companies on the need to prioritize assistance to hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to ensure they continue to function during power outages caused by natural disasters.

NACo supports many of the key reforms included in the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act that would benefit local governments; however, we have our own concerns with how portions (section 609 in particular) would redirect funding from the Disaster Relief Fund, which is intended to support post disaster recovery efforts.   

The Senate has not acted on the House-passed bill to date, however NACo will continue to work with members in the upper chamber to ensure that key reforms that benefit local governments are not stripped. 

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