Senate unanimously passes hurricane relief bill, moves it closer to governor’s desk

by | Dec 14, 2022


  • The Florida Senate unanimously voted to approve a hurricane relief bill on Tuesday 
  • The bill will provide economic assistance to those directly affected by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole including more than $751 million in  property tax subsidies and $150 million for housing recovery efforts
  • The bill additionally appropriates funding through the Department of Environmental Protection for beaches and critical water infrastructure systems impacted by the storms
  • Total damage estimates between the two storms currently sit at approximately $70.5 billion, according to a series of analyses

The Florida Senate unanimously passed a hurricane relief bill on Tuesday that aims economically assist those who were directly affected by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

The bill allocates more than $751 million for property tax subsidies for individuals whose homes were rendered uninhabitable for at least 30 days after the pair of storms.

The bill also includes $150 million for housing recovery efforts, including $60 million to assist with the repair or replacement of housing, relocation costs, limited-time rental assistance, and other recovery needs, of which $25 million may be used to provide assistance to homeowners to pay insurance deductibles.

“This legislation builds on the tremendous and ongoing state response to Hurricanes Ian and Nicole led by Gov. DeSantis with key funding to support Floridians and communities who are recovering and rebuilding,” said Sen. Travis Hutson, who introduced the bill. “Tax relief for owners of destroyed homes, housing assistance for displaced Floridians, funding to help local governments secure FEMA Grants, as well as funding to reconstruct impacted beaches and water infrastructure will make a huge difference as families and communities continue to evaluate their recovery needs.”

The bill additionally appropriates funding through the Department of Environmental Protection for beaches and critical water infrastructure systems impacted by the storms, also creating the Florida Emergency Management Assistance Foundation, a Direct Support Organization (DSO) of the Division of Emergency Management (DEM).

The foundation is charged with providing assistance, funding, and support to DEM in its disaster response, recovery, and relief efforts for natural emergencies.

To help local governments secure FEMA grants, $350 million is also being appropriated to the DEM to pay local match requirements.

“We know we can’t rebuild a hurricane-destroyed home … but the reforms passed today lay the groundwork for long-term improvements that will give people a place to live while their homes are being repaired or rebuilt,” said Senate Leader Sen. Kathleen Passidomo.

The state House of Representatives must now sign off on its version of the bill before it is sent to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis. Upon its passage into law, much of the relief will be immediate.

Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28, pummeling Florida’s Gulf Coast before continuing on a northward trek. The Category 4 storm left a path of destruction across the Sunshine State, producing catastrophic flooding and storm surge while leaving more than 2 million Florida homes and businesses without power.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Nicole made landfall along the east coast of  Florida as a Category 1 hurricane in early November, causing significant damage to some locations along the coast and toppling several buildings, leaving more than 385,000 without power.

Total damage estimates between the two storms currently sit at approximately $70.5 billion, according to a series of analyses.

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