What Local weather Resilience Insurance policies Are in Retailer for State Legislatures in 2023?

What Local weather Resilience Insurance policies Are in Retailer for State Legislatures in 2023?

Lucia Bragg
|January 11, 2023

With a busy 2021-2022 legislative session behind them, states are shifting gears this month to 2023 periods. As of the brand new 12 months, 32 states have already begun prefiling for the 2023 legislative session. Of those, 9 states — Montana, Texas, South Carolina, Missouri, Washington, Arkansas, Florida, Virginia, and Delaware — have prefiled not less than 39 payments associated to catastrophe resilience. These mirror a variety of matters each just like and divergent from predominant 2021-22 developments. Prefiled payments along with payments left pending from the 2021-22 legislative session — particularly those who superior previous not less than one chamber — might give us a glimpse into what states will think about in 2023.

Unfinished work from 2022

The latest report on the 2022 legislative session from the Nationwide Heart for Catastrophe Preparedness on the Columbia Local weather Faculty discovered that 42 states enacted not less than 211 catastrophe payments final session. The best share of enacted payments associated to funding and governance (i.e., emergency administration reform), adopted by land use, communications, and security and safety.

2022 spending bills by category


Nevertheless, states thought-about way more payments than had been enacted, and 15 of these payments superior previous the primary chamber — a big hurdle. Whereas funding, governance, and communications led this grouping of payments, the content material was fairly different. For instance, Illinois thought-about SB 18, an earlier/contributing model of the profitable Power Transition Act, which positioned vitality grid resilience alongside emissions discount measures by investing in resilient electrical energy transmission and requiring utilities to reveal how they’re attaining grid resilience/reliability and fairness targets. A measure in Massachusetts (an earlier/contributing invoice to the profitable annual appropriations bundle) would have directed some remaining Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for sure local weather, flood, and warmth resilience measures — a reasonably frequent use on the state degree for these COVID funds lately. Just a few payments in New Jersey and North Carolina emphasised office and psychological well being protections and help for first responders and catastrophe volunteers. The success of those and different measures left pending might counsel their reconsideration within the upcoming session.

Legislative outlook for 2023

2023 prefiled bills by category. governance and safety and security are the leading categories

Some payments are already in play for 2023. The prefiling course of permits legislators and legislative workers to expedite administrative processes required to introduce/advance a invoice (e.g., drafting textual content, gathering signatures, committee referral, and getting on committee agenda), giving prefiled measures the very best probability at consideration and probably enactment. Among the many 39 catastrophe payments already prefiled, governance remained a number one class. Thus far, that is pushed by a number of emergency administration payments in Montana that intention to use broad reforms to emergency administration within the state (although importantly, a number of of their invoice texts are usually not but obtainable, so the specifics are TBD). It’s also pushed by payments in Montana, Texas, Washington, and South Carolina — practically half of states which have prefiled catastrophe payments — that restrict the governor’s emergency powers. Most intention to cut back the length of the emergency with out additional legislative motion or approval or in any other case restrict the governor’s authorized authority throughout a state of emergency. Such a invoice elevated within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as governors had to make use of these authorities on a a lot bigger scale.

Texas is in session this 12 months after skipping the final legislative session, and lawmakers have already prefiled not less than 8 catastrophe payments. These embody:

  • HB 570, which directs the Division of Emergency Administration to conduct a research of the potential results of droughts and wildfires within the state over the following 50 years;
  • HB 57, which directs the Fee on Environmental High quality to publish a climate change affect report each 4 years, together with a greenhouse fuel stock; and
  • HB 795, which requires nursing and assisted dwelling services to put in emergency turbines or different energy sources to be used within the occasion of a grid-disrupting catastrophe.

2023 total bills by stateGeneral, funding and governance points proceed to steer in 2021-22 enacted payments, pending payments that handed one chamber, and 2023-24 prefiled payments. Security and safety are newly dominant in 2023 prefiled catastrophe payments, and it is going to be attention-grabbing to observe whether or not that is still the case as periods progress.

There are additionally a number of states assembly this 12 months that didn’t convene final 12 months. This contains Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and maybe most attention-grabbing, Texas — the notoriously disaster-prone state with “small authorities” values.

Broader federal context additionally offers its personal doable foreshadowing of state motion. Final 12 months, Louisiana, Hawaii, Maryland, and Virginia all handed laws that will make the most of the federal STORM Act funding to determine state-level mitigation revolving mortgage funds. New York’s SB 8853 would have achieved the identical however didn’t advance previous its first committee. This restricted exercise could also be a mirrored image of the truth that whereas Congress handed the STORM Act in 2020, it was solely funded by the Infrastructure Funding and Jobs Act (IIJA) practically a 12 months later and the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA) launched the official Discover of Funding Alternative solely two weeks in the past. So we may even see extra states proceed to reap the benefits of this funding alternative in 2023. Likewise, states handed extra catastrophe communications payments final session than vitality or transportation payments, however because the IIJA, Inflation Discount Act, and federal 2021 spending payments emphasize local weather adaptation alongside emissions discount measures, significantly within the transportation and vitality sector, states could also be incentivized to focus extra on these sectors.

Lucia Bragg is a coverage supervisor and teacher for the Nationwide Heart for Catastrophe Preparedness on the Columbia Local weather Faculty.

Gillian McBride, a graduate scholar within the Grasp of Public Administration program on the Columbia Faculty of Worldwide and Public Affairs, and Abigail Menendez, a graduate scholar within the Masters in Local weather and Society program on the Columbia Local weather Faculty, contributed to the analysis mentioned on this put up.