Sunday, December 4, 2022

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Runoff for the Louisiana Public Service Commission could impact energy policies; NM's LGBTQ advocates await final passage of "Respect for Marriage Act" - Democracy gets a voter-approved overhaul in Oregon.

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The Senate passes a bill forcing a labor agreement in an effort to avoid a costly railway worker strike. The House Ways and Means Committee has former President Trump's tax returns in hand. The Agriculture Committee is looking at possible regulations for cryptocurrency following the collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX. The Supreme Court will be reviewing the legality of Biden s student debt relief program next year. Anti-semitic comments from Ye spark the deletion of tweets from the the House Judiciary Committee GOP's Twitter account.

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The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Nearly a Quarter of Iowans Extremely Vulnerable to Disasters

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Tuesday, March 29, 2022   

From historic floods to the 2020 derecho, Iowans are familiar with natural disasters. With the spring storm season underway, local governments are reminded of a tool to determine if their residents will have a harder time recovering from these events.

The U.S. Census Bureau said its new Community Resilience Estimates tool compiles certain characteristics of a neighborhood, such as socio-economic factors and transportation options.

Bethany DeSalvo, statistician and demographer at the Bureau, said they then use the data to predict how vulnerable a household is in the face of a flood or tornado.

"What we mean by vulnerable is not having the ability to cope with the external stressors of the disaster," DeSalvo explained.

It could include overcoming language barriers in seeking disaster assistance. DeSalvo pointed out the tool can help local planners come up with more resources in a vulnerable area, including evacuation spaces.

According to the bureau, roughly 20% of residents across Iowa have three or more risk factors. Another 40% have one or two.

DeSalvo noted a key goal behind the initiative is to establish more equity in disaster recovery, but she added it can also help reduce government costs in rebuilding after a storm.

"With the effects of climate change, you may see more and more expensive disasters," DeSalvo emphasized. "Planning ahead of time and mitigating the things that can be mitigated is a really good goal."

In addition to local governments, DeSalvo stressed it can be a vital tool for FEMA, as it can help the agency determine the number and type of personnel to deploy, along with disaster assistance programs activated for specific areas.

With the 2020 census continuing historical trends in terms of undercounts for racial groups, officials say the approach might address some subsequent service gaps in not counting everybody.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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