House passes Rule bill to help small businesses recover from natural disasters

Olympia – Today, the Washington House of Representatives passed HB 1957 by Rep. Alicia Rule (D—Blaine), which will create a program to quickly assist small businesses after a natural disaster. The legislation establishes a “Small Business Disaster Recovery Financial Assistance Program” at the Washington Department of Commerce to help small businesses cover rent and utilities, payroll, building improvements or repairs, and more as they recover.

“In the wake of the recent flooding in our community, I heard from several small business owners who wanted to re-open, feed their neighbors, and provide respite to people who had been through the hardest days of their lives, but they couldn’t because they didn’t have the funds to clean and repair their storefronts,” said Rule. “This new program will help our communities get back to business faster and keep the heart of our small Main Streets strong.”

HB 1957 fills a gap in government disaster assistance by providing small business support earlier than federal SBA assistance. Moreover, it provides assistance in the event that federal assistance is not approved. The bill now moves onto the Senate for consideration.