Just two days into their 2014 legislative session, the Legislature made the bipartisan decision on Thursday to offer low income Minnesotans more help with high heating bills.
The $20 million measure now lands on Gov. Mark Dayton's desk. He asked lawmakers to quickly approve the extra aid and is expected to quickly sign it.
"In tough times, Minnesotans come together to help those in need. I’m glad we were able to do so once again," state Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby, said in a statement. Radinovich, who narrowly won his first election, carried the heating assistance measure.
The House and Senate both approved the measure with bipartisan unanimous votes.
Dayton raising the income requirement from 50 percent of poverty to 60 percent, opening the program to families earning up to than $52,370 for a family of four.
The federal government also allowed Minnesota an additional $15.8 million this year to help with spikes in propane prices.
But without the extra state money, the low-income heating assistance program could run out of money as early as next week.
The state also set up a toll-free hot line for Minnesotans affected by this winter’s propane shortage: 1-800-657-3504 in greater Minnesota or 651-297-1304 in the Twin Cities.
Photo: An all green board, full of yes votes, to offer low income Minnesotans more heating help/source: Jennifer Brooks, Star Tribune