New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-05-04 20:00:00 –
Laws that provide relief to the Louisiana logging industry are heading towards the house floor.
House Bill 642 has created a Louisiana logger relief program to issue a total of $ 10 million in subsidies for timber harvesting and transportation businesses.
House Speaker Clay Shexnader, R-Gonzalez, co-sponsored Senator Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, and House Expenditure Committee Chairs Jerome Zelinge and R-Houma sponsored the bill. ..
The House Expenditure Committee unanimously approved the bill on Monday and was able to hear it on the House floor later this week.
“These businesses were not part of any of the federal agricultural relief programs available to other farmers and farmers,” said Zelinge.
This program is managed by the State Treasurer using the resources of the Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program. The funding comes from the US Parliamentary Rescue Planning Act of 2021, which provided Louisiana with $ 5.18 billion in aid for a variety of purposes.
Buck Vandersteen, Secretary-General of the Louisiana Forestry Association, praised the legislators for fulfilling the role of loggers in supplying essential products to the state and country.
“It’s a good way to recognize people who are often invisible but very important,” said Vandersteen. “The governor called them essential workers, and they worked through all of COVID-19. They keep things going and the paper mills have the fibers needed to produce paper products and building materials. I confirmed that. “
In December, Congress included $ 200 million in funding for a logging project that suffered a loss of income due to a pandemic.
However, Congress never specified rules for obtaining funds, and with the change in presidential administration, the funds were further delayed. Other agricultural industries have been bailed out, but loggers have never seen federal funding.
Not only did he suffer from a pandemic, but also the hurricane that devastated southwestern Louisiana in 2020, said Jeff Zeringe, a media specialist at the Louisiana Forestry Association, said that loggers in the state were also damaged.
“House Bill 642 recognizes the importance of loggers to the forest industry and is helping them,” said Vandersteen. “It’s not going to fix all their problems, but it gives them a hand to help them get over it and return to their feet.”
The Louisiana Loggers Relief Program allows individual loggers to receive up to $ 25,000.
The bill also created the Louisiana Save Our Screens program, which provided a $ 4.5 million grant for cinema operations and a $ 300 million fund for the Louisiana water infrastructure program for community water and sewage systems. To do.
HB642 has also created the Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities Fund (GUMBO Fund), which provides $ 90 million for broadband access in rural areas.
Bill to provide aid to loggers to be heard on House floor | Legislature Source link Bill to provide aid to loggers to be heard on House floor | Legislature