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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Gene Pelowski, Jr. (DFL)

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Minnesota House suspends the Rules to approve Rep. Pelowski’s Disaster Assistance funding, sends bill to Governor Walz

Thursday, April 13, 2023

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House suspended the Rules to concur with the changes made by the Senate to House File 1278. The bill, authored by State Representative Gene Pelowski (DFL - Winona), allocates $40 million to replenish the state’s Disaster Assistance Contingency Account. The bill is now on its way to Governor Walz for his anticipated signature.

“The Disaster Assistance Contingency Account is a crucial tool for ensuring communities can have timely assistance in the event of a natural disaster that takes place outside of the regular legislative session,” said Rep. Pelowski. “Many towns in Minnesota are unable to address the damage of a devastating flood, fire, or storm on their own, which is why adequately funding this account before the regular session ends is imperative. There is nothing special about a special session, and a funded Disaster Assistance Contingency Account can provide assistance in a more efficient manner.”

The Disaster Assistance Contingency Account, signed into law in 2014, expedites assistance to communities burdened with damages to public property and infrastructure like roads, utilities, and public buildings. Prior to the passage of the law, the Minnesota Legislature was required to convene each time a disaster was declared in order to appropriate funds toward community recovery efforts, often in a special session.

The bill passed unanimously in both chambers.