ST. PAUL, MN – Legislation that would have addressed flood and disaster relief for the next two years was rejected by the Democratic Minnesota House majority on March 28.
During debate on Senate File 307, House Republicans attempted to transfer $43 million into Minnesota’s disaster contingency account, $33 million more than what was being offered in the proposed bill.
“I am grateful that we were able to appropriate some funding today into this important disaster account,” said Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe. “However, I am concerned that the amount of dollars that were allocated will prove to be inadequate once spring flooding season gets underway. With historic snowfall this winter, we need to be absolutely sure that this account has enough funding to ensure communities can access these dollars when disaster strikes.”
While the legislation did approve a $10 million transfer to Minnesota’s Disaster Contingency Account—sending the bill to Governor Walz for his signature, the House Republican proposal would have added $20 million to the account in both 2019 and 2020 as well as another $3 million that is needed to provide the state match for FEMA public assistance cleanup efforts from the Duluth and Brainerd floods in 2018.
With the account currently sitting empty, Gruenhagen said the need for disaster funds will be significant as communities around the state are already dealing with significant flooding. The account is also utilized for other natural disasters that occur when the Legislature is not in session, such as tornadoes, straight-line winds, torrential rainfall or drought.