Summary: H.R.707 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment (10/05/2000)

Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 - Title I: Predisaster Hazard Mitigation - Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Act) to authorize the President to establish a program of technical and financial assistance to States and local governments to assist in the implementation of pre-disaster hazard mitigation measures that are cost-effective and are designed to reduce injuries, loss of life, and property damage and destruction, including damage to critical services and facilities under the jurisdiction of the States or local governments. Authorizes the President to provide technical and financial assistance from the National Predisaster Mitigation Fund (established under this Act) to each State and local government that has identified all natural disaster hazards in its jurisdiction and has demonstrated its ability to form effective public-private disaster hazard mitigation partnerships.

Directs that such assistance be used by States and local governments principally to implement pre-disaster hazard mitigation measures that are cost-effective and that are described in proposals approved by the President under this title. Authorizes such assistance to be used to: (1) support effective public-private partnerships; (2) improve the assessment of a community's natural hazards vulnerabilities; or (3) establish a community's mitigation priorities.

Requires the President, in determining whether to provide technical and financial assistance to a State or local government, to take into account: (1) the extent and nature of the hazards to be mitigated; (2) the degree of commitment of the State or local government to reduce damages from future natural disasters; (3) the degree of commitment by the State or local government to support ongoing non-Federal support for the hazard mitigation measures to be carried out using the assistance; (4) the extent to which the hazard mitigation measures carried out contribute to the mitigation goals and priorities established by the State; (5) the extent to which such assistance is consistent with other assistance provided under this Act; (6) the extent to which prioritized, cost-effective mitigation activities that produce meaningful and definable outcomes are clearly identified; (7) the extent to which the activities identified are consistent with any State or local mitigation plan submitted; (8) the opportunity to fund activities that maximize net benefits to society; (9) the extent to which assistance will fund mitigation activities in small impoverished communities; and (10) such other criteria as the President establishes in consultation with State and local governments.

Authorizes the President to establish the National Predisaster Mitigation Fund.

Requires the President to report to Congress recommending a process for transferring to capable States greater authority and responsibility over such assistance program.

(Sec. 103) Directs the President to establish an interagency task force to coordinate the implementation of predisaster hazard mitigation programs administered by the Federal Government.

(Sec. 104) Requires State, local, or tribal governments, as a condition of receipt of an increased Federal share for hazard mitigation measures, to develop and submit for approval to the President a mitigation plan that outlines processes for identifying the natural hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities of the area under government jurisdiction.

Authorizes the President to increase the Federal share of hazard mitigation mesures to 20 percent if at the time of the declaration of a major disaster a State has in effect an approved mitigation plan. Directs the President, in determining whether to increase the maximum percentage, to consider whether the State has established: (1) eligibility criteria for property acquisition and other types of mitigation measures; (2) requirements for cost effectiveness that are related to the eligibility criteria; (3) a system of priorities related to the criteria; and (4) a process by which an assessment of the effectiveness of a mitigation action may be carried out after the mitigation action is complete.

Revises provisions of the Act concerning standards for repair and construction financed with disaster loans or grants. Permits the President to require safe land use and construction practices. Directs the President to increase the maximum percentage under the Act for hazard mitigation from 15 to 20 percent for any major disaster in Minnesota for which assistance is being provided as of the date of this Act's enactment, with a cap of $6 million for additional assistance. Requires that the mitigation measures assisted be related to losses in that State from straight line winds.

Title II: Streamlining and Cost Reduction - Amends the Act to define "management cost" to include any indirect cost, administrative expense, and other expense not directly chargeable to a specific project under a major disaster, emergency, or disaster preparedness or mitigation activity or measure. Directs the President to: (1) establish management cost rates for grantees and sub-grantees that shall be used to determine contributions under the Act for management costs; and (2) review the management cost rates established within three years after the date of their establishment and periodically thereafter.

Makes the Act applicable to major disasters declared under the Act on or after the date of this Act's enactment. Grants interim authority with respect to the establishment of management cost rates.

Requires the President to provide for public notice and opportunity for comment before adopting any new or modified policy that: (1) governs implementation of the public assistance program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Act; and (2) could result in a significant reduction of assistance under the program.

(Sec. 204) Authorizes a State to apply to the President for delegation of the authority to administer the hazard mitigation grant program under the Act.

(Sec. 205) Rewrites Act provisions regarding assistance to repair, restore, reconstruct, or replace damaged facilities to place limitations on the "associated expenses" incurred by a person that owns or operates a private nonprofit facility damaged or destroyed by a major disaster for which such person may be reimbursed. Defines such term to include: (1) the costs of mobilizing and employing the National Guard for performance of eligible work; (2) the costs of using prison labor to perform eligible work; and (3) base and overtime wages for the employees and extra hires of a State, local government, or person that performs eligible work, plus certain fringe benefits.

Authorizes the President to make contributions to a private nonprofit facility only if: (1) the facility provides "critical services" in the event of a major disaster; or (2) the owner or operator of the facility has applied for a disaster loan under the Small Business Act (SBA) , and has been determined to be ineligible for such a loan or has obtained such a loan in the maximum amount for which the SBA determines the facility is eligible. Defines "critical services" to include power, water, sewer, wastewater treatment, communications, and emergency medical care.

Revises provisions regarding the minimum Federal share and regarding large in lieu contributions to limit the Federal share under specified circumstances. Directs the President, acting through the Director of FEMA, to establish an expert panel to develop recommendations concerning: (1) procedures for estimating the cost of repairing, restoring, reconstructing, or replacing a facility consistent with industry practices; and (2) ceiling and floor percentages of estimated costs. Requires the President to review the procedures and percentages. Requires the expert panel to report periodically to Congress.

(Sec. 206) Rewrites provisions regarding temporary housing assistance to authorize the President, in accordance with this section and in consultation with the Governor of a State, to provide financial assistance and, if necessary, direct services to individuals and households in the State who, as a direct result of a major disaster, have necessary expenses and serious needs and are unable to meet such expenses or needs through other means.

(Sec. 207) Prohibits major disaster community loans from exceeding $5 million. Prohibits further assistance to a community that is in arrears on payments under a previous loan.

(Sec. 208) Requires: (1) the President to submit to Congress a report describing the results of the State Management of Small Disasters Initiative; and (2) the Director of the Congressional Budget Office to complete a study estimating the reduction in Federal disaster assistance that has resulted and is likely to result from the enactment of this Act.

Title III: Miscellaneous - Amends the Act to expand the definition of: (1) "local government" to include a municipality, township, local public authority, school district, special district, intrastate district, council of governments (regardless of whether incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under State law), regional or interstate government entity, or agency or instrumentality of a local government; and (2) "private nonprofit facility" to include private nonprofit irrigation facilities.

(Sec. 303) Authorizes the President to provide assistance to State and local governments (currently, only States) for the mitigation, management, and control of any fire (currently, fire suppression) on public or private forest land or grassland which threatens destruction that would constitute a major disaster.

(Sec. 304) Prohibits any administrative action to recover payment made to a State or local government for disaster or emergency assistance under the Act from being initiated beyond three years after the date of transmission of the final expenditure report for the disaster or emergency, except where there is evidence of fraud. Specifies that: (1) in any dispute arising beyond the three year period, there shall be a presumption that accounting records were maintained that adequately identify the source and application of funds provided for financially assisted activities; and (2) a State or local government shall not be liable for reimbursement or any other penalty for any payment made under this Act if the payment was authorized by an approved agreement specifying the costs, the costs were reasonable, and the purpose of the grant was accomplished.

(Sec. 305) Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to make FEMA employees and employees of State, local, or tribal emergency management or civil defense agencies who perform official duties relating to a major disaster that are determined to be hazardous duties eligible for public safety officers' death benefits.

(Sec. 306) Prohibits funds authorized under this Act from being expended by an entity not in compliance with the Buy American Act. Provides for debarment of persons convicted of fraudulent use of "made in America" labels.

(Sec. 307) Directs that specified real property located in the Maple Terrace subdivisions of the city of Sycamore, DeKalb County, Illinois, shall not be considered to be, or to have been, located in any area having special flood hazards.

(Sec. 308) Requires the Director of FEMA to conduct a study of participation by Indian tribes in emergency management, and to report to Congress.