Governor Signs $167.5M Disaster Relief Bill

By KBJR News 1

August 24, 2012 Updated Aug 24, 2012 at 6:52 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - After less than four hours, a disaster relief bill passed the House, the Senate and was signed off by Governor Mark Dayton.

"I am very pleased that the legislature has passed the disaster relief bill to assist Minnesotans whose homes, businesses, and communities were ravaged earlier this summer by severe natural disasters," the Governor stated in a news release. "I have just received this legislation, and I have signed it into law.

The Minnesota House of representatives voted Friday afternoon to pass a bill that would provide $167.5 million dollars in disaster relief to communities affected by this summer’s storms and flooding.

The MN Senate followed quickly after with 60-7 vote.

The disaster relief package is divided between 18 counties and four tribal lands throughout the state.

According to a news release, from State Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), the bulk of the funds will be distributed to St. Louis County and others affected by the severe storms and flash flooding resulting from storms at the end of June.

“This is a huge relief to those of us living in the Northland,” said Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) . “As a community we have worked hard, but having the state as a committed partner in our efforts will help us recover sooner.”

The bill includes $12.2 million dollars in homeowner individual assistance through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and $15 million dollars in business individual assistance through the Minnesota Investment Fund.

Homeowners and businesses will also be able to apply for loans, including forgivable loans, to help repair some of the damage caused by the disaster.

Mayor Don Ness testified in front of the House Ways and Means Committee this morning prior to the start of the Legislative Special Session

The Mayor released this statement following the passage of the bill from both the House and Senate.

"The Northland Flash Flood wreaked havoc on hundreds of businesses and homes and impacted thousands of lives. We have not yet seen the full effects of this flood on our friends and neighbors as we undertake recovery and restoration, but we do know that the important actions taken today will help alleviate some of the frustration and anxiety felt by many. I want to thank House Minority Leader, who with the Governor, Speaker and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders reached and signed the agreement on the Special Session Bill and process. They kept their promise to not forget the victims of the Northland Flash Flood and for that we are grateful."

Kevin Jacobsen
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