Abbott approves nearly $2 billion in new Hurricane Harvey relief

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gov. Greg Abbott signed four new bills Thursday to help Texans prepare for and recover from disasters.

Several local officials joined the governor at Gallery Furniture, where countless Houstonians sought refuge after Hurricane Harvey.

The newly signed bills include plans to develop debris management to help with the cleanup process after a disaster.

House Bill 5
Requires the Texas Division of Emergency Management to develop a catastrophic debris management plan and training, and establishes a workgroup to make recommendations on how local governments and property owners' associations can assist with recovery efforts.

It also requires TDEM to develop a model contract for debris removal.

House Bill 7
Requires the office of the governor to develop a list of waivers that could be implemented following a disaster and requires TDEM to develop a plan to assist local communities with disaster preparation contracts for services.

Senate Bill 6
Requires TDEM to develop a disaster response model guide and a wet debris study group for local communities. This bill also creates a disaster recovery loan program within TDEM for communities that suffered significant infrastructure damage.

Senate Bill 7
Establishes the framework for providing a total of $1.6 billion through the Texas Infrastructure Resilience Fund as matching funds available to those communities hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey, and through the Flood Infrastructure Fund for statewide infrastructure projects to mitigate future flooding events.

In a statement, Mayor Sylvester Turner called Thursday's ceremony another important step in Houston's long-term recovery.
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