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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The House met shortly after 2 p.m. Friday afternoon, where the flood relief bill was introduced before state representatives, minus Duluth’s Kerry Gauthier
because of his scandal.
The bill was quickly scrutinized by Republican Rep.
Mark Buesgens of Savage, who says he has no problem with a flood relief bill,
but rather disappointed with the process.
"We have no public hearing. We have no testimony. We have
no committee meetings. We have no input from 95 percent of this body,"
Fellow Republican, Tim Kelly of Red Wing, argued that the
bill does have a good plan in place for businesses affected by the flooding, so
the state can recoup some of the money it will be dishing out.
"If they're in business for a 10–year time period, 50
percent of that fund or that loan can be forgiven. The 50 percent that they've
paid back will now go into the disaster relief fund," said Kelly.
The House overwhelmingly voted to pass the bill and onto the
Senate floor 125-3.
Senator Roger Reinert (DFL) Duluth said, "For the
handful of homes and I’ve got seven in my district that were completely
destroyed and cannot be rebuilt because their lot washed away or because the
hillside they're on is no longer stable. It's going to help these people wipe
the slate clean and start over."
Like the house, the senate had little opposition in passing
the bill, with a final vote of 60-7.
But, the talk of the day might have been how climate changes
are a real concern and how Minnesota can better prepare for future disasters.
"Severe weather events are becoming more and more
frequent and I think that we're going to need to face this in future disasters
as well. I think we owe it to the people of Minnesota and to our kids to figure
out what the best response in this situation is," said Sen. Tony Lourey