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Northam signs bills into law to improve emergency response for underserved communities

Governor Northam signed two bills into law at Norfolk's Military Circle Mall that address his latest plan for equity in emergency response management.

NORFOLK, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam, along with several other state leaders, spoke at the Military Circle Mall's FEMA Community Vaccination Clinic Friday morning.

State leaders such as Janice Underwood, Virginia's Chief Diversity Officer, spoke about how the pandemic made people realize the disparities across the Commonwealth when it comes to proper resources. 

They mentioned how large vaccination clinics like the one at the mall were necessary to help several communities.

The bills aim to help struggling communities with low resources receive the help they need in an emergency response. Governor Northam says the new laws will focus on pushing resources such as transportation and housing in the wake of emergencies like a hurricane.

"It will put more emphasis on equity," Northam said. "There will be a task group, a group of individuals that know the needs of the community that will help us learn what those needs are and put those needs into action."

State leaders say this will also push how Virginia's annual budgets are reviewed when it comes to emergency response efforts.