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Minnesota Legislature

Conference committee agrees on bill helping fund state’s bird flu response

Sen. Kevin Dahle, left, and Rep. Rod Hamilton, right, confer with Conference Committee Chair Rep. David Bly, when an agreement was reached Tuesday on a bill that would provide $893,000 for Minnesota’s emergency response to the avian influenza outbreak. Photo by Andrew VonBank

An agreement was reached Tuesday afternoon in conference committee on a bill that would provide $893,000 for Minnesota’s emergency response to the avian influenza outbreak.

HF2225/SF2096* would appropriate $514,000 for the Department of Agriculture and $379,000 for the Board of Animal Health from the General Fund in Fiscal Year 2015. 

Those provisions were agreed upon after the elimination of language that had been in the Senate bill that would have moved up Minnesota Management & Budget’s reporting date to legislative leaders for the recommended budget reserve.

Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake), one of the three House conference committee members, questioned the need for that language in a bill funding the fight against avian flu.

Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook) said that while the language did not specifically pertain to avian influenza, it would help MMB during its budgeting process and “the House shouldn’t get held up over such a relatively small Senate provision.”

The committee then recessed and, upon its return, adopted an amended version of the SF2096 that did not include the reporting provision. The conference committee report will now return to both bodies for re-passage.

Hamilton also apologized to Conference Committee Chair Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield) for the scheduling snafu that surfaced earlier Tuesday, when the committee’s meeting seemed to have been canceled. He said the fluid nature of the crisis had not allowed leadership in the House and Senate time to come together on an agreement, but that everyone involved is committed to finding a solution.


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