Access to Hazard Mitigation Fund Expanded After Bill Signing
Legislation expanding opportunities to receive federal hazard mitigation funding has been signed into law. House Bill 1928, authored by Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks, replaces the Flood Hazard Mitigation Account with the Hazard Mitigation Financial Assistance Fund in order to broaden the scope of what the fund may be used for and what federal grants may be received. Sims, a former mayor who now chairs the House County and Municipal Government Committee, has worked on several pieces of legislation to improve hazard mitigation since the historic Arkansas River flooding in May 2019. "Oklahomans know the very real threat that natural disasters pose for our state and communities every year and the threat to personal property that accompanies these horrific events," Sims said. "I'm grateful the governor saw fit to sign this bill into law so more people can access federal funding." The measure was authored in the Senate by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa. “Natural disasters are not an if, but a when. Our state has always been incredibly resilient, but the Hazard Mitigation Financial Assistance Fund will help us be better prepared to respond to and recover from disasters like the major flooding we saw in 2019. I greatly appreciate Representative Sims’ work on this bill and Governor Stitt for signing it into law,” Rader said. HB1928 does not direct revenues to or from the fund. The bill was signed May 1 and takes effect Nov. 1.