Lawmakers return to St. Paul today to pass an $80 million flood relief package for areas of southern Minnesota devastated by last month's flood. The package includes aid for residents of the following counties: Mower, Olmsted, Dodge, Freeborn, Goodhue, Steele, Wabasha and Winona. Also included in the bill is some aid to help with the recovery in Wadena after this summer's tornado.
The special session follows a federal disaster declaration for 21 southern counties struck by severe storms and flooding last month. The federal government pays three-quarters of public recovery costs, leaving the rest for the state to pick up. The money will go toward rebuilding public roads, providing loans to people and grants to small business.
Meanwhile, the campaigning continues in earnest. Supporters of 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz will gather in Byron this afternoon to demand that his Republican opponent Randy Demmer explain why he took Per Diem for days he did not work at the state Capitol. This comes amid news on Friday of a new KAAL-TV/Survey USA poll that found the 1st District race has tightened up. The poll found 47 percent support Walz and 42 percent support Demmer with a margin of error of 4.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee released a new ad that goes after Walz for supporting the stimulus bill, health care overhaul and the cap and trade bill.