In the wake of this week's tornadic thunderstorms in the Metroplex, Governor Rick Perry today issued a disaster declaration for Dallas, Tarrant (Fort Worth, Arlington) and Kaufman counties.

“As communities begin to rebuild, my office is working to clear the way so that all needed resources continue to be available for local authorities dealing with the aftermath of this storm,” Gov. Perry said. “In addition, all who have suffered damage to their home should be mindful of those that might attempt to swindle them out of money for repairs. Thanks to a new law passed last year, families have additional protections from unscrupulous contractors, and are not required to provide full or partial payment to anyone before work begins.”

The Governor's Office is also publicizing the provisions of the recently passed House Bill 1711.  HB 1711 outlaws the practice of contractors demanding full or partial payment before beginning work on a home damaged in a storm following a disaster declaration.

Damage estimates from the American Red Cross state that over 650 structures were damaged, with 200 destroyed in the storms.