The state House approves legislation that supporters say will help the Cajun Navy and other volunteer groups have a greater impact during disasters.

Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges says her family was helped by volunteers after the 2016 flood.

She says the legislation gives the Cajun Navy access to state equipment and training.

“During these emergencies, we have a lot of assets from the state that we would like to be able to help these volunteer organizations,” Hodges said.

But New Iberia Representative Terry Landry, the former head of State Police, is skeptical about bringing volunteers into a disaster situation.

“I’m just questioning how this is going to work. Who is going to be in charge? Are they going to operate under (a) unified command?” Landry asked.

“GOHSEP. Yes, GOHSEP is in charge,” Hodges replied.

Hodges says she met with just about every member of the emergency community when she drafted bill, including the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).

“This bill was voted in the National Association of Emergency Managers in Washington D.C., three weeks ago… This bill was voted the number one bill of the emergency managers in the United States,” Hodges said.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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