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Lawmakers working to pass legislation to help Hoosiers impacted by natural disasters

Senate Bill 190 would make more money available for natural disaster clean up and assistance.
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Posted at 9:00 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-16 21:00:43-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tornadoes that caused extensive damage across the state last year have lawmakers looking at a way to provide more help to people dealing with damage. Senate Bill 190 would make more money available for natural disaster clean up and assistance.

Roger Brouse lives in Johnson County. He and his wife’s home was destroyed when a tornado ripped through Johnson County and Whiteland on March 31st.

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"We didn't really know the extent of the damage until the next morning a day later,” Brouse said. “There was not much left.

Brouse had to have his home demolished and now he is in the rebuilding process, something that is taking a long time.

"It took a long time to get the insurance settlement. That didn't happen until like September,” Brouse said. “We are on our 8th adjuster now so it's been kind of difficult there."

Not everyone in the state is fortunate to have insurance, or if they do, it may not cover all of the damage caused. That's why newly appointed Senator Cyndi Carrasco authored Senate Bill 190.

"Under the current law you can only apply for up to $10,000. This particular bill would change that threshold and increase it to $25,000 dollars,” Cyndi Carrasco a Republican representing Indianapolis and Johnson County said.

The new bill would allow for local municipalities to access funding to create their own disaster relief plan. That's a tool, leader with the town of Whiteland says, would have helped them during the tornado last year.

"The town of Whiteland, we fall under the Johnson County emergency management plan but there were things we feel could have been beneficial if we had our own plan in place,” Carmen Young the Director of Administration for the Town of Whiteland said. “So that is something I am really excited to see come out of this bill. "

Governor Eric Holcomb has said this bill is priority for him. As for victims of natural disasters like Roger Brouse and his wife, he feels this bill could help a lot of people through a situation many never think they will find themselves in.

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"It's just something that you never expect to happen,” Brouse said. “I mean you think you have good insurance and then you find these areas that are just not covered. "

The disaster relief fund is made possible through taxes on fireworks in the state. The bill passed out of committee today. It now heads to the full senate for further consideration.