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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Final approval provided for bill to replenish disaster account

Thursday, March 28, 2019


ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House on Thursday provided final approval for a bill which directs $10 million to the state’s currently empty Disaster Contingency Account.

The state responded with over $11 million in relief to flooding events in Brainerd and Duluth last year, draining the contingency account. State Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, said it is important to replenish those funds as communities around the state face flooding this spring and with storm season lurking.

“While it appears as though an ideal melt of our snow pack may spare us the worst-case, widespread devastation that was earlier projected, some areas are still experiencing significant damage and we need to make sure resources are available to help those people,” Swedzinski said. “It is good we are replenishing the disaster account so it can serve its purpose of quickly delivering relief funds without a special legislative session having to be called. Whether it’s flooding this spring or storm damage in the months to come, it’s good we are making funding available to deliver immediate relief.”

Since its creation in 2014, the contingency account held $17.466 million in 2015 and $20.4 million in 2016. The bill House Republicans led to preliminary approval would have transferred $20 million in each of the next two years to the fund, but that total was reduced by a joint House-Senate conference committee prior to final passage. The bill (S.F. 307), which the House approved 127-0, has now been sent to Gov. Tim Walz for enactment.