One-day special session on disaster relief starts at 2 p.m. Friday

Lawmakers are headed to a one-day special legislative session Friday afternoon to pass a $167.5 million disaster relief bill for the areas in Northeast Minnesota affected by severe flooding and windstorms in June.

Gov. Mark Dayton and the GOP legislative leadership have been haggling over the bill’s size for weeks, and the final total comes up short of the governor’s initial $195 million price tag.

Dayton said the funds would come from budget reserves.

An agreement signed by the leaders this morning prohibits amendments to the bill and limits the session’s scope to disaster relief. Lawmakers are required to end the meeting by 7 a.m. on Saturday.

The biggest chunk, $79 million, will go to repair roads damaged by flooding, Capitol Chatter reports.

Legislative committees are set to review the agreement before the 2 p.m. special session, but the substance of the relief package can’t be changed unless Dayton and the four legislative leaders sign onto the alterations.

Federal aid should provide more than $100 million for relief, which is matched by $25 million in state funds. The feds declined an application and an appeal to provide individual or business aid.

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