Illinois' two U.S. senators are backing federal legislation they say would bring consistency and fairness to how communities hit by natural disasters are chosen for federal relief. The Fairness Federal Disaster Declarations Act supported by Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Mark Kirk comes after Harrisburg and other southern Illinois communities evastated by Feb. 29 tornadoes were denied federal aid. The lawmakers say the measure would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give a specified weight to each of the factors considered when determining which communities are eligible for federal help. It also requires FEMA to consider local economic factors such as the median income and poverty rate in comparison to that of the state. A message seeking comment has been left with FEMA.
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