Minnesota Senate votes for $10 million disaster response fund

Laraina Franks, 15, helps fill sandbags.
Laraina Franks, 15, helps fill sandbags on Tuesday in anticipation of flooding in the Prairie Island Indian Community in Welch, Minn.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

The Minnesota Senate unanimously endorsed Thursday a $10 million infusion into a disaster response fund as spring flooding begins to hit the state.

The amount matches a request from Gov. Tim Walz and a bill moving in the House. The aid would both cover a recent disaster in St. Louis County and give emergency responders a head start on meeting imminent threats.

Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said there is an urgency to restocking the depleted disaster account.

"This is a critical bill for especially this year as we see floodwaters rising in southern Minnesota. I know we're going to be seeing that going forward in northwest Minnesota especially," Johnson said.

This year's state Legislature is in session through May, and lawmakers say that time frame will give them some flexibility to come up with more money if necessary.

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