Senate votes to create new state department for disasters, emergencies


March 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa has voted to create a new state department to deal with emergencies. The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency is currently a division of the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, is critical of Governor Branstad’s opposition to the idea — and Hogg suggests that if the Emergency Management division had been elevated to a full-fledged agency, western Iowans hit by Missouri River flooding would have been better served. “And you know what Governor Branstad offered? Zero from state government,” Hogg said.

Last year Governor Branstad vetoed a similar bill creating a new Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department. A spokesman for the governor defends the way state government responded to Missouri River flooding. Senator Hogg scoffs “It’s really easy for people to do a good job when you just ignore it.”

Republican Senators say Hogg’s comments are over the line. Former Governor Chet Culver created a new but temporary state agency to deal with the severe flooding that hit the state in 2008. A spokesman for current Governor Terry Branstad says not every crisis demands a new state agency.

(Radio Iowa)