Mississippi Black Legislative Caucus hopes to get more relief for tornado victims

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 7:28 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The 2023 legislative session is wrapping up, but some law makers are hoping to make a few adjustments to the budget in order to get resources to those in Rolling Fork, Silver City, Winona, and Amory.

“We are calling on the legislative leaders to provide help right now. We don’t need to leave here this week, we don’t need to leave until we know how we’re gonna help provide the funding that we need to make those cities and towns hold,” District 22, Senator Joseph Thomas, said

Senator Thomas said he and other democrats offered two resolutions that would direct more money to recovery efforts in both the House and Senate - but neither of those have gained any traction.

Even without those resolutions, democrats believe there are still other ways funds could be distributed for relief... before the session ends.

”We consider Rolling Fork and the other communities just as important as the gulf coast was when Katrina came. We want to give them the same respect, the same honor, and the same resources that we did in other situations,” Senator Thomas said.

“I don’t think no one does not want to do anything. I just think the difference is about the amount of money money that needs to go in place to ensure we don’t have any pause in the cause of them rehabilitating their lives,” District 50 Representative John Hines said.

Democrats said the state has given $5 million to MEMA for the disaster, but many don’t believe that will be enough to bridge the gaps between federal help and a full recovery.

“I like to see a pot about of $80 million to $100 million set aside. So when something happens, people can draw from it. If we don’t use all the money, which I don’t believe we will use all of it, the money can go right back to the general fund,” Rep. Hines said.

Representative Hines also said he would like to see the money go into specific programs that could bridge the gaps between federal help and a full recovery.

“There has to be some tweaking and a few programs, especially in Mississippi home court, to be able to do some things to help assist people in rebuilding and repairing their homes,” he said. “The Department of Insurance can remove can ensure that the insurance companies play pay the claims timely. These are small issues in the larger thing. But these are issues that cause problems for people who are trying to restore repair their lives.”

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