The Senate Banking Committee is planning to hold a number of hearings related to Hurricane Katrina early this year that will consider flood insurance reform and legislation to create a Louisiana Recovery Corp.Committee spokesman Andrew Gray said the hearings would take a comprehensive look at the issues related to Hurricane Katrina and the after-effects. The first hearing on the insolvent Federal Flood Insurance Program is set for Jan. 25. A hearing on the Louisiana Recovery Corp. bill, which would create a new government agency to oversee and finance the cleanup and rebuilding of New Orleans and other hard-hit areas of the state, has not been scheduled yet. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is expected to announce his legislative agenda for 2006 later this week. The House Financial Services Committee approved the LRC bill, sponsored by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., in December. "It may very well be a great solution for Louisiana," Mr. Gray said. "But it is necessary for the committee to take a close look at the ramifications and other issues associated with it." The Senate committee will also consider a Katrina homestead bill, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., that would provide low-income households access to vacant government land to build new homes.

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