St. Paul, MN – Today, the Minnesota House unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to replenish the state’s Disaster Assistance Contingency Account. $30 million would be transferred from the general fund and made available in the current fiscal year for disasters that occur during the legislative interim. The bill was authored by Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona), who also authored the legislation that established the account in 2014.
“No local unit of government can sustain the amount of work and the amount of resources it takes to deal with natural disasters on their own,” said Rep. Pelowski. “Should a destructive flood or other natural disaster hit now, the Legislature would be able to appropriate money because we’re in session. This contingency account would be made accessible during the legislative interim. There is nothing special about a special session, and assuming there was an emergency declaration from the president or governor during the interim, the state could use this account to immediately assist impacted regions without calling legislators back to St. Paul.”
Last year, similar legislation was passed to fund the contingency account, but multiple state and federally declared disasters took place towards the end of 2019. Though a special session was avoided, the account needed to be replenished for the current fiscal year. Having passed both chambers, the bill will now go to Governor Walz for his signature.