St. Paul, MN - Yesterday, State Representative Gene Pelowski’s (DFL - Winona) legislation investing $30 million in Minnesota’s Disaster Assistance Contingency Account passed the House Ways & Means Committee. The bill, House File 38, was amended onto the House Public Safety Budget, House File 1078, and is expected to be on the House floor next week.
“When natural disasters strike, the damage is often more than any one local unit of government can address on their own,” said Rep. Pelowski. “As we’re currently in session, a natural disaster could be met with swift action from the Minnesota Legislature, but during the interim, when the legislature is not in session, legislative support can come more slowly. That’s where the Disaster Assistance Contingency Account comes in. Despite their recent frequency, there is nothing special about a special session, and the contingency account can provide support instead of calling a special session. We cannot afford to leave this account inadequately funded.”
The Disaster Assistance Contingency Account, signed into law in 2014, speeds up the recovery process for communities burdened with damages to public property and infrastructure like roads, utilities, and public buildings. Prior to the passage of the law, the Legislature was required to convene each time a disaster was declared in order to appropriate state money toward community recovery efforts, often in a special session.