Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Streamline Disaster Assistance Process

Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Tony Kurtz announced the new proposal Thursday standing on North Webb Road, which was underwater a year ago. Both of their legislative districts cover Reedsburg.

“We want our communities to be prepared for a natural disaster before it happens,” Marklein said during the news conference.

The Disaster Assistance Streamlining Bill aims to make it easier and faster for cities and local municipalities to apply and receive disaster assistance money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The proposal would require the state to train all local governments on how to sign up for the System for Award Management program required to receive money from FEMA through the state. All cities would be required to create an account by June 30, 2021.

Marklein said data from the Department of Military Affairs shows for the last two disasters in the state, 32 percent of potential recipients had not registered in the program, meaning they were not eligible for disaster assistance.

The bill, which has the support of 15 Republicans and two Democrats, would require the state to issue FEMA money to cities within two weeks of the receipt of funds. It would also provide an electronic option to submit information to the state and receive reimbursements.