ST. PAUL - State Rep. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, is working on legislation to help replenish the state's Disaster Assistance Contingency Account, according to a statement released March 11 by the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The account currently sits empty after flooding events in Brainerd and Duluth last year. The bill would put $20 million from both the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years toward the account.

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"As it stands today, the state of Minnesota is not financially prepared to respond to this inevitable disaster," Jurgens said. "It is critical that we put funding in place now so our flood victims can avoid potential of becoming an unintended pawn in the end-of-session budget negotiations."

Although Gov. Tim Walz and House Democrats have suggested putting $10 million in the account this year, Jurgens doesn't believe it would be enough, given this year's flood predictions.

"We don't want a serious disaster event competing with end-of-session needs, or force lawmakers to come back for a costly and unnecessary special session," Jurgens said. "It's just common sense to be prepared and to properly fund this account now so the state of Minnesota can appropriately respond to communities struggling with flood waters as the temperatures begin to rise."