Lawmakers plan to refill empty disaster fund ahead of floods

Published 6:58 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers are pushing to replenish an empty disaster fund ahead of anticipated spring flooding.

Rep. Tony Jurgens of Cottage Grove and Sen. Mark Johnson of East Grand Forks held a news conference Monday to highlight a Republican proposal for $40 million to refill the depleted fund. They would add $20 million this fiscal year and another $20 million in the next.

But the House Democrat who created the fund, Rep. Gene Pelowski of Winona, says it’s meant for disasters between legislative sessions. If there is serious flooding this spring, he says, the Legislature would approve aid while it’s still in session.

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Pelowski is author of a House bill that contains $10 million but he’s preparing to add more.

Heavy snow has increased the risk of major flooding across Minnesota.