(NASHVILLE) — Republican lawmakers have unanimously passed legislation sponsored by State Representative John Crawford (R-Kingsport) that provides additional assistance to Gatlinburg fire victims during their ongoing cleanup and recovery efforts.
House Bill 1166, also known as the Gatlinburg Bill, grants county highway departments access to private property at the request of the property owner in order to assist them with debris removal following last November’s wildfires. The legislation also requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse the City of Gatlinburg for cleanup costs once the work has been completed.
Last November, more than 17,000 acres burned during the Chimney Tops No. 2 Fire. In Gatlinburg alone, 2,460 structures were damaged or destroyed, and 14 deaths were also attributed to the fire. The Gatlinburg wildfires caused more than $500 million in damages; cleanup and recovery efforts continue several months later.
“Gatlinburg residents are working tirelessly to put their lives back together, and many still need additional support during this difficult process,” said Representative Crawford. “House Bill 1166 helps this hard hit community with its rebirth; I have no doubt Gatlinburg will come back stronger than it was before the tragic fires.”
The full text of House Bill 1166 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/HB1166.pdf
John Crawford serves as a member of the House Local Government Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and House Calendar & Rules Committee. He lives in Kingsport and represents House District 1, which encompasses a portion of Sullivan County. Crawford can be reached by email at: [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-7623.