MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2007 Regular Session

To: Sel Cmte on Hurricane Recovery

By: Representative Fredericks, Dickson

House Bill 1341

AN ACT TO CREATE THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON HURRICANE KATRINA RESPONSE AND RECOVERY; TO PROVIDE FOR THE DUTIES OF THE COMMITTEE; TO REQUIRE THE COMMITTEE TO MAKE REPORTS TO THE LEGISLATURE; TO PROVIDE THAT THE MISSISSIPPI DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY SHALL PROVIDE TO THE COMMITTEE CERTAIN INFORMATION PERTAINING TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT FUNDS PROVIDED TO THE STATE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

†††† BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

†††† SECTION 1.(1) The Legislature finds that Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the state's history.† Extensive and prolonged damage caused by the storm has been devastating to infrastructure and to the civil, social, economic and environmental well-being of Mississippi.† The entire economic base of Mississippi was undermined, including the ability of individuals to earn an income to support themselves and their families.† A loss of this magnitude affects all Mississippians.† Extraordinary assistance to the affected areas is required if this region and, indeed, the entire state is to recover from the short- and long-term effects of the devastation.

†††† (2)† The Legislature further finds that the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was of unprecedented proportions.† Devastation of this magnitude was not planned for and could not have been planned for.† No policies, no decision making, and no planning could adequately mitigate damage from or prepare an adequate response to such an extraordinary event.† However, learning from this tragic event, the Legislature finds that long-term planning for future natural disasters is appropriate.

†††† (3)† The Legislature further finds that the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi continues to affect all aspects of the economy, the environment, public health and safety, infrastructure, public and private institutions, and the general welfare of the region and, indirectly, of the entire state.† Immediate short-term responses and long-term responses are necessary to preserve a way of life in Mississippi, to preserve the economic condition of the entire state, and to preserve the reputation Mississippi has, nationally and internationally, as a great place to live and a great place to do business.

†††† SECTION 2.(1)† There is created the Joint Legislative Committee on Hurricane Katrina Response and Recovery.† The committee shall consist of seven (7) members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House, one (1) from each congressional district and three (3) from the state at large, and seven (7) members of the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, one (1) from each congressional district and three (3) from the state at large.

†††† All members shall be entitled to per diem and expenses, except in such cases where the committee meets when the Legislature is in session.† The Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor shall each designate a member to serve as cochair of the committee.† The cochairs shall be responsible for calling the first meeting of the committee no later than June 1, 2007.

†††† The committee may organize itself into subcommittees as deemed necessary by the cochairs.† The proceedings of the committee shall be governed by Robertís Rules of Order on all matters of parliamentary procedure.† The committee may adopt any additional rules it determines are necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.

†††† (2)† The committee shall have the power to:

††††††††† (a)† Require that all agencies of state and local government report to the committee on any matters the committee deems relevant to the stateís recovery from Hurricane Katrina;

††††††††† (b)† Consider ways by which the state may ensure effective and efficient recovery from the ravages of the storm and to consider ways by which the state may mitigate future losses from storms and other natural disasters;

††††††††† (c)† Require that any agency of state government shall submit copies of any state plans that it will be tendering to any agency of the United States government as a precondition to the receipt of any funds for hurricane recovery for review and comment by the committee; and

††††††††† (d)† Compel the production of any paper, file, record, document, or electronically produced or stored data files from any agency of state or local government related in whole or in part to hurricane recovery.

†††† (3)† The committee may require assistance from any state agency, local governing authority, or any committee of the Legislature in carrying out the purposes of this act.

†††† (4)† The committee shall annually report to the Legislature no later than December 31, of each year on any findings or recommendations it may have regarding the recovery process, additional needs of storm-damaged areas, and generally any other matter pertinent to recovery from the storm and the prevention and mitigation of damages from future storms and natural disasters.

†††† SECTION 3.† For the purpose of making the Joint Legislative Committee on Hurricane Katrina Response and Recovery aware of the distribution of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds that are to be, or that have been, provided to the State of Mississippi for assistance to homeowners whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) shall provide the committee with the information specified in this section for each grant of CDBG funds to a homeowner whose home was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, MDA shall provide the committee with:

††††††††† (a)† The address of the house to be repaired or rebuilt with the grant;

††††††††† (b)† The amount of the grant disbursed by address;

††††††††† (c)† The use of the grant (repair or rebuild) by address;

††††††††† (d)† The total number of grant recipients; and

††††††††† (e)† The total amount of grants disbursed.

†††† However, no other personal information pertaining to a grant recipient may be divulged by MDA to the committee or to any person, agency or entity, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.† Any information obtained by MDA with regard to CDBG funds provided to a homeowner, other than the information specified in this section, shall be exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act, Section 25-61-1 et seq.

†††† SECTION 4.† This act shall stand repealed from and after January 1, 2010.

†††† SECTION 5.† This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.