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Governor Jindal Signs Bill Increasing Louisiana’s In-State Emergency Shelter Capacity

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law that will increase Louisiana's in-state emergency shelter capacity. The new law - Senate Bill 279 by Senator Mike Walsworth - will allow facilities owned or leased by the state or local governments to be used as shelters during emergency evacuations.

Governor Jindal said, "This new law will work to indentify and ready in-state facilities for use as emergency shelters so that we can ensure that our people have a safe location to evacuate to in the event of a disaster. This legislation will reduce our need for out of state shelter capacity, and will help our state to better prepare for future storms."

DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols said, "This new law will allow us to utilize the resources in our state so we may adequately shelter our own in a time of disaster."

The new law works to increase shelter space by allowing public facilities owned or leased by the state or local governments, such as schools and postsecondary education facilities, which are suitable for use as public evacuation shelters to be made available at the request of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness during an emergency.

In addition, $7.5 million in surplus funds was included in House Bill 2 to support eligible state buildings that need retrofitting and renovations to allow for their use as emergency shelter space under this new law.