The U.S. House this week passed legislation that could help communities access federal emergency assistance when disasters occur along state borders.
Known as the Multi-State Disaster Relief Act, the legislation will now move on to the Senate.
The legislation was originally introduced after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied aid to flood victims in Southern Indiana last year.
According to U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, D-9th District, who supports the legislation, "We can try to be prepared for natural disasters, but they are ultimately beyond our control. However, we do have full control over how our federal government responds and aids individuals following a disaster. And, in this instance, I believe our government missed the mark."
Under the new legislation, FEMA would be required to take into account whether contiguous counties in a neighboring state were granted assistance following a major disaster originating from the same storm or incident. In addition the bill specifies that FEMA must review and revise regulations used to gauge the severity and impact of a disaster when deciding whether individuals should receive aid.