By Jason Clayworth, The Des Moines Register
proposal to allocate $56 million more in flood and tornado aid was
approved tonight by the Senate and now heads to the governor, who is
expected to sign it into law.
importance of this legislation is that it gives people hope that we
will get people back in their housing in 2009,” said Sen. Robert Hogg,
D-Cedar Rapids who led discussion on House File 64.
allocates $24 million for housing assistance and $22 million for grants
to cities and counties. Income guidelines also were loosened, allowing
more working-families to become eligible for the help.
example, a family of four current making more than $21,700 is not
eligible for some types of individual assistance. A family of four
would be able to make roughly $65,000 under the new proposal.
Money for the extra help will be paid for out of the state’s $155
million economic emergency fund. Gov. Chet Culver, this month, called
for lawmakers to allocate $43 million from the fund.
governor’s office worked with lawmakers to make provisions in the bill
that assist with procedural issues and will support the $56 million
proposal. Culver issued a statement saying he would sign the bill.
The House, on Tuesday, also approved the bill on a 98 to 0 vote.
Republicans in both the House and the Senate unsuccessfully proposed
provisions they said would add more accountability. One idea, for
example, would have mandated families present a receipt to get
reimbursed for certain unmet needs for such items as appliances. That
idea would have scrapped a governmental voucher process that helps
Democrats said the voucher process has
safeguards and that taking away that process would cause hardships to
families who may not have the up-front money. Republicans said it would
reduce the possibility that some money would be used for such things as
big-screen televisions .
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines, criticized the provision as an “anti-poor amendment.”
The bill, House File 64, passed the Senate with a 49 to 0 vote. Sen.
Jerry Behn, R-Boone, was absent. It is the first bill of the 2009
legislative session to make its way to the governor’s desk.