MACo Supports Bill to Streamline Community Resources in Times of Crisis

On March 9, 2023, MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in support of HB 789 / SB 650 – Public Safety – State Disaster Recovery Fund. By implementing the recommendations of the State Disaster Recovery Fund Workgroup, this bill will help counties streamline and expedite community resources in times of crisis.

While a disaster always begins and ends at the local level, a strong partnership among federal, state, and local governments is vital to emergency preparedness and community resilience. Currently, a federal emergency declaration is the trigger event for a wide range of public and private sector relief available in a crisis or disaster. However, in smaller-scale events, similar problems arise for those affected – but local governments are restricted in the funds and resources they can activate without federal declaration.

From the MACo Testimony:

In lieu of federal assistance, county governments and their residents rely on state relief programs. However, Maryland’s current relief mechanisms are siloed, mostly unfunded programs, which create barriers to access and significant delays in distributing aid. As such, HB 789 establishes a State Disaster Recovery Fund, administered by the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM), to provide disaster recovery assistance to county governments, individuals, and families when federal aid is not available or insufficient – typically due to the nature and breadth of the event.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

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