Minn. lawmakers take 1st step toward disaster bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Local officials are detailing storm damage to their Minnesota communities that they hope will be eligible for a disaster assistance package the Legislature is readying.

A House-Senate working group took testimony Wednesday night about a pair of severe storm events declared federal disasters. One coated southwestern Minnesota in ice last April and the other involved hail and wind storms that caused severe damage in 18 counties in June.

Minnesota lawmakers are shaping an aid proposal to be voted on in a Sept. 9 special session.

A state official told lawmakers that Minnesota has had 19 declared disasters since 2000 and six in the past three years. The June storm preliminary damage estimate is $18 million. The state plans to pay $4.5 million and federal aid would cover the rest.

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