HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law a first-time-ever state program for small disaster assistance, after the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill authored by Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20.
Reacting to the devastation caused by floods, snowstorms, tornadoes and other natural and manmade disasters, Baker proposed the grant program to help counties and municipalities that become victims of disasters that fall below the $17.5 million threshold for federal aid to kick in.
“Pennsylvania is a flood-prone state, and so frequently, one storm can wipe out a town’s entire annual budget,” Baker said. “This bill will take the burden off local taxpayers, who may already be struggling with personal losses of their own from rising floodwaters and other unexpected tragedies.”
The new law, which went into effect immediately after the governor signed it as Act 187 of 2014 on Oct. 27, also grants arrest powers to out-of-state police officers acting in Pennsylvania as part of a mutual aid compact during a governor-declared emergency – a provision deemed necessary as law enforcement continues to search for suspected state trooper killer Eric Frein in Monroe and Pike counties.
“SB 720 will help Pennsylvania communities recover from catastrophe during an emergency, whether at the hands of Mother Nature or extraordinary criminal activity,” Baker said.
She thanked the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors for their advocacy and support.
Contact: Andrew M. Seder