Governor signs disaster relief bill - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Governor signs disaster relief bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Governor Mark Dayton signed the disaster aid bill into law Monday afternoon, providing $4.5 million in state assistance to communities impacted by strong storms over the summer.

He signed the disaster-aid package hours after the Legislature gave near-unanimous approval to it.

Minnesota lawmakers carried out a one-day special session Monday to bring flood relief dollars to 18 Minnesota counties, including Freeborn, Fillmore and Houston.

"We were devastated in southeastern Minnesota with the June floods. You had bridges completely taken out, you had roads torn out," said Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston.

The House and Senate came back for a one-day special session on Monday to make sure the 18 counties got the aid they needed to help with recovery efforts.

"A lot of the money will be going to fix township roads, county roads and state roads. The township officers and the county commissioners have worked very diligently to put a package together," Davids said.

The $4.5 million will be transferred from leftover aid put in place from last year's devastating floods in northwestern Minnesota. That disaster required a special session just like this one, but some are hoping to change to that so one isn't required.

"We will have a fix to this so if we don't want to have a special session, if we just want to transfer we will have that authority," said Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona.

"In the future it would be nice to have some more flexibility, for instance move funds from one disaster to another without the Legislature having to come back," said House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

40 percent of the $4.5 million will be given to Fillmore and Houston counties.

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