Pawlenty says special session to be called for flood relief

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said this afternoon that, after federal disaster officials make damage assessments of this week’s floods, he will be calling a special legislative session to aid victims of the two-day downpour.

The governor said he will be phoning legislative leaders tonight and over the weekend to discuss a half-day or full-day session limited to the flood issues. Timing is uncertain, but in past disasters, the Legislature has met within weeks.

“The history here is that everybody cooperates on these natural disaster issues,” Pawlenty said of legislative leadership in a conference call with reporters.

Before the Legislature meets, Pawlenty will request a national federal disaster declaration from President Obama.

With other floods in past years causing the state to come to the aid of counties and citizens, Pawlenty said a template for legislation is in place. 

Assuming total damage in the 34 hit counties at more than $6.4 million, this flood will meet the federal disaster threshold, Pawlenty said. The federal government will cover 75 percent of damage reimbursements; the state and local communities must pick up the rest of the tab.

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