Lawmaker: ‘A more solid plan’ needed before convening special session on disaster funding

Some were hoping a special session would be held to address immediate needs.
Published: Oct. 14, 2018 at 3:15 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State lawmakers will look into disaster funding requests from Hawaii County brought on by the Kilauea eruption.

The county asked the state to convene a special session on the issue, but one lawmaker said they’ll look at it during the regular legislative session in January when they can address other hard-hitting natural weather events across the entire state.

“House legislators are generally supportive of the County’s recovery efforts, but there are still many questions about specific funding requests and legislative proposals. In addition, several natural disasters have affected communities statewide and decisions about funding for recovery can occur during the regular session,” according to House Majority Leader Della Belatti.

Other disasters include flooding from recent tropical storms and wildfires on Maui.

“It is important for the Legislature to assess the statewide impact of natural disasters affecting the State and not to view the volcanic eruption on Hawaii island in isolation of the recovery needs on all islands,” Belatti added.

“Collaboratively, House and county leaders have been talking about recovery efforts, so there is a sincere effort to want to address those recovery needs, we just need to have a more solid plan,” she added.

Hawaii Count estimates that $335 million is needed for priority recovery expenses from the Kilauea eruption alone.

That number includes $22 million for emergency response operational support up to 2020.

Overall, the recovery needs are estimated at $854 million and includes emergency response operational support through 2023, infrastructure projects, recovery planning and implementation studies.

House legislators have encouraged Hawaii County to refine their recovery plans and focus on specific needs as well as continuing to work with the proper federal agencies.

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