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Republicans want more details on flood-relief package

Republicans are balking at the size of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's $190 million flood relief package and want more details.

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said Republicans are concerned about the size of the proposal and want to know exactly how those dollars would be spent.

"(The governor) spent all last session telling us we didn't involve him," Senjem said. "Well he didn't involve us at all on this one."

Most of the money would go to the Duluth area, which suffered severe flooding during a June storm. A small amount of money would also be set aside for other counties in southern Minnesota — including Goodhue County, which experienced flood damage.

A tentative date of Aug. 24 has been set for a special legislative session centered around disaster relief, leaving little time for Republicans and the Dayton administration to iron out their differences. Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci says in a statement that the governor's proposal is based on a "very thorough assessment done by state agencies and local leaders of what the region needs to recover and rebuild after the devastating floods."

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One possible area of disagreement is whether the state should provide individual assistance to property owners. The Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected the state's request for individual assistance. A Dayton administration appeal also was denied. His proposal also sets aside some state dollars for part of an anticipated FEMA response.

Senjem said that in the past, the state has allocated dollars for individuals as part of flood relief packages. The most recent examples are the September 2010 floods in Zumbro Falls, Hammond, Pine Island and Oronoco. FEMA denied the state's request for individual assistance, and none was included in the state's $74 million relief package.

Senjem said Republicans plan to work with state agencies to put together their own disaster relief package. Tinucci said the governor is willing to work with lawmakers on the proposal.

"This initial proposal is based on what we see as necessary for recovery, and we look forward to getting feedback from legislators," she said.

Remember to vote

Tuesday is primary Election Day in Minnesota. In addition to a hotly contested Republican primary between Mike Parry and Allen Quist in the 1st Congressional District, there are plenty of local races on the ballot.

To find out where to vote and get a sample ballot, go to pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters who will be out of town on Tuesday may still cast an absentee ballot today before 5 p.m.

For the latest election results, go to the Postbulletin.com after the polls close Tuesday.

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