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Governor Voices Support for Unsession Disaster Relief Reform Initiative

March 31, 2014

Bill would eliminate unnecessary special sessions to quickly provide disaster relief, save time and money
ST. PAUL, MN – As the 2014 Unsession continues, Governor Mark Dayton today voiced his support for legislation that would eliminate unnecessary special sessions in time of disaster. The bill (HF2701) – which is scheduled to be heard today in the House Ways and Means Committee – is authored by state Rep. Gene Pelowski and state Sen. Richard Cohen, and includes the recommendations of the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor.
“When severe weather damages homes and businesses, or a major flood tears through a community, Minnesotans need help as quickly as possible,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank Rep. Pelowski and Sen. Cohen for their leadership, and I urge the Legislature to act during the Unsession to ensure our responses to future disasters are fast, appropriate, and efficient.”
If passed, the Disaster Relief Reform initiative would establish a disaster contingency account and streamline the process for distributing aid to communities in times of disaster. These reforms would help deliver help to disaster-affected communities more quickly, and save time and money by avoiding costly special sessions of the Legislature.
Following several severe weather events in 2013, Governor Dayton convened a special session of the Legislature to appropriate needed disaster relief funds. That one-day special session took weeks to prepare for, and cost Minnesota taxpayers more than $32,000.