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Indiana disaster relief funds more accessible under bill headed to House

Cyndi Carrasco speaks into a microphone on the Senate floor. Carrasco is a woman with dark hair, wearing a pink jacket over a black top.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Sen. Cyndi Carrasco (R-Indianapolis) is the author of a priority bill of Gov. Eric Holcomb's that expands access to state disaster relief funds.

Hoosiers in need after a disaster would be able to access more money, more easily from the state’s disaster relief fund under legislation headed to the House.

Sen. Cyndi Carrasco’s (R-Indianapolis) bill would provide up to $25,000 — increased from $10,000 — for individuals with lost or damaged property due to a disaster. It also eliminates a requirement that, to be eligible for the funds, the U.S. Small Business Administration must first declare a disaster.

“It is important to remember that the state disaster relief fund is only available when federal assistance is not available,” Carrasco said.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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SB 190 also allows counties to get more money after a disaster if they’ve done disaster mitigation work beforehand. That includes adopting a hazard mitigation plan and performing emergency management exercises.

“Studies show that for every $1 spent on a mitigation activity, $6 to $7 are saved in recovery costs,” Carrasco said.

Indiana’s disaster relief fund is funded by a fee on the sale of fireworks. And the Holcomb administration said it collects enough to cover the expanded relief under the legislation, which is a priority of the governor’s.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.