Thursday, September 15, 2005

Some meaty legislation

U.S. Reps. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, and Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, have suggested several measures designed to help Hurricane Katrina victims rebuild their lives, The Birmingham News reports today.

Among the proposals are Bachus' plan to ease requirements for evacuees to show identification before cashing checks and Davis' bill to allow hurricane survivors to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement accounts in the next half year.

Davis also has proposed measures to permit evacuees to vote absentee in the next two election cycles, which should be common sense if they remain registered only in their home states, and to eliminate the scheduled Medicaid funding cuts for Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which may raise other states' hackles.

Some fraudsters will try to game the system, of course, but that's the case with just about anything the government does. As Bachus said, "You have some bad actors, and people will take advantage of the situation, but you have to get relief and it has to function for the victims, and 99 percent of them are law-abiding citizens who aren't going to take advantage of these relaxations."

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