Land use policies are effective in mitigating disaster damage, but contradictory policies and priorities between federal and local governments can inhibit adoption of effective land-use based mitigation. This is due in part to variation in local government planning and policymaking capacity. We describe the politics of disaster policy, describe conflicting visions of hazard mitigation within the context of local government and politics, and conclude with examples of how states have overcome challenges to encourage better planning and mitigation.