Disaster aid work continues at Capitol

State lawmakers continue their preparations for a special session aimed at providing relief to storm and flood-damaged areas of the state.

The one-day special session is tentatively scheduled for Friday, Aug. 24. Members of the House and Senate dug into the details of a proposed $190 million bill today with representatives of several state agencies. Last week, some Republicans said the proposed aid package from DFL Governor Mark Dayton was bigger than expected, and they were experiencing “sticker shock.”

Senate Majority Leader Senjem, R-Rochester, told reporters after the meeting that he still has questions about some aspects of the proposed bill. But Senjem wasn’t questioning the estimated cost.

“I don’t think I had sticker shock,” Senjem said. “We knew initially that (it would be) a little over $100 million, and that was going to grow. But I think we’re all going to look at details, and I think the emphasis is we’re going to stick to flood-related damages and wherever that number takes us.”

Republican leaders have not yet said whether the bill will go through any committee hearings before the special session floor votes. State Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, warned against rushing the bill to the floor without any hearings or public testimony.

“That’s the worst way to solve these problems,” Pelowski said.

Gov. Dayton said the special session is still on track, but he’s waiting to make the call until he has a prior agreement worked out with GOP leaders. He has a private meeting scheduled with those leaders tomorrow.

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