ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House on Thursday provided final approval of 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. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake, said it is important to replenish those funds as communities around the state face flooding this spring and with storm season lurking.
“This is a public safety issue and replenishing the contingency account allows us to cut through the bureaucracy and promptly get disaster relief where it’s needed when the next emergency arises,” Mekeland said. “The alternative of leaving the account empty and calling a special session once the next disaster strikes is inefficient and costly for taxpayers. This contingency account was created just a few years ago and it serves as a good example of ways we can bring greater efficiency to our government’s core functions such as public safety.”
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.