Hutchison Files Legislation to Offset Katrina Costs

9-13-05 - Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Monday she wants more of the costs of educating schoolchildren displaced by Hurricane Katrina covered by the federal government, some education requirements eased and more local community costs reimbursed.

Hutchison filed four bills aimed at stemming local costs related to opening shelters and providing other resources to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Hutchison, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said her bills were based on conversations she had in conference calls with Texas officials whose communities have become the new home to thousands of hurricane evacuees.

Hutchison, R-Texas, said the bills would cut red tape that may be preventing full-fledged relief efforts.

"We must allow our schools to educate and our police to protect. Our potential to get the job done right is being bogged down in the long halls of bureaucracy and that needs to end," Hutchison said in a statement.

Hutchison wants to expand coverage of education expenses. A Federal Emergency Management Agency memo issued Saturday said costs for hiring additional teachers and buying textbooks were not reimbursable by the federal government.

Her bill also would give the education secretary authority to relax certain requirements for schools that have seen an increase in students from other districts.