The Minnesota Legislature sent $167.5 million in flood relief and recovery funds to Duluth and other hard-hit areas, approving the bill in a two-hour special session on Friday.
The House approved the package in a 125-3 vote, and the Senate followed suit by approving the bills 60-7. The Legislature adjourned the special session without taking up any other issues.
The funds will go to Duluth, northeastern Minnesota and other areas hit by flash floods and windstorms in June and July. The bills were negotiated by leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, along with an agreement on a brief session limited to flood relief alone.
There was little debate, mainly centering around the process, in which legislators had little opportunity to scrutinize the package and were not allowed to offer amendments. The bills now go to Dayton for his signature.
There was no floor discussion of Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, who has recently announced his plan not to seek re-election after being investigated for a sex act with a 17-year-old near a Duluth rest stop. Gauthier did not attend, but House GOP leaders reiterated his call that he step down immediately.
Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.
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