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Don Davis, Published September 07 2013

Minnesota lawmakers return Monday for special session

ST. PAUL - Minnesota lawmakers return to here Monday to appropriate $4.5 million to help local governments and cities recover from June storms and floods.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the proclamation scheduling the special legislative session Friday afternoon after four legislative leaders signed off on language in a two-page bill they will consider.

The 10 a.m. session, expected to be preceded by a Senate committee hearing, must wrap up by 7 a.m. Tuesday under a deal Dayton and legislative leaders earlier signed. The only other action lawmakers are allowed to take will be to free up $219,000 in aid for communities affected by an April ice storm.

The funds are destined only for local governments; home and business owners are not eligible.

The only controversy as the special session was being considered came when Dayton insisted on adding $1 million for Rock and Nobles counties, two of five southwest Minnesota counties hit by the April ice storm that caused $26 million in damage. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he could not agree to Dayton’s plan.

The only action the Legislature is to take about the ice storm is making it easier for the two counties and city of Worthington to get money lawmakers appropriated in May. Each of the counties is to get $60,000, and Worthington is slated to receive $99,000.

The counties to split $4.5 million are Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.