Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has just formally declared a "state of disaster" in the county, and oddly enough it has nothing to do with the Texans' performance against Pittsburgh last weekend.
The declaration gives Emmett power to issue evacuation orders, close county offices and direct rescue efforts.
It also triggers anti-gouging laws.
According to the statement:
Harris County Attorney Mike Stafford said the declaration allows his office to file suit against merchants or contractors who charge exorbitant or excessive fees. Stafford's office may also seek penalties up to $20,000 or, if the victim is over 65, up to $250,000. Stafford recommends that consumers who believe they are being overcharged keep all receipts and file complaints with his office after Ike has passed.
The state of disaster lasts for seven days. We can only hope Emmett doesn't have plans to invade Poland during that time. (If you're one of the people who didn't recognize the old guy in our Hurricane Ike logo, then that last reference probably went over your head too.)
-- Richard Connelly
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