For more information contact: Jenny Nash 651-296-4122
ST. PAUL, MN – Today, State Representatives Kerry Gauthier (DFL- Duluth), Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown), and Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) participated in a meeting at the State Capitol to begin writing a flood recovery package in response to record-setting June floods in Northeastern Minnesota. A one-day Special Session is expected to be called on August 24th by Governor Dayton to approve state disaster assistance.
The state representatives have been meeting regularly with House and Senate Fiscal Chairs, state agency heads and the Governor’s office to negotiate the components of the bill. Several years back, model legislation that outlines disaster response procedures for thirteen state agencies was put into Minnesota Statute. The model bill was designed to allow the state’s recovery process to become more consistent and will be used as the framework for the legislation in the upcoming Special Session.
“Our goal is to provide relief to flood damaged property so we can rebuild our communities and move forward,” stated Rep. Mary Murphy. “We are working hard to include the essential needs of residents impacted by the flood are part of the disaster recovery package.”
Rep. Kerry Gauther said, “It is of utmost importance that homeowners get some sort of assistance replacing hot water heaters and furnaces especially if the federal government doesn’t pull through with individual assistance. We also are pushing hard for funding for reimbursement to local governments for debris removal.”
Under the federal disaster declaration, the federal government will cover 75% of eligible costs and the state must cover the remaining 25% for repairs to public infrastructure like roads and bridges. According to Kris Eide, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, who testified at the Working Group meeting, the state’s funding portion amounts to $189 million. Currently, Governor Dayton has appealed the federal government’s decision to deny assistance to homeowners and businesses for losses to private property.
“We have witnessed widespread damage to public infrastructure and homes and businesses caused by the historic flooding. We want our communities to get what they need to adequately rebuild. Today was a starting point in reaching this goal. When catastrophes occur we must do what’s right to help our neighbors in need,” added Rep. Tom Huntley.
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