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House committee approves ice storm aid

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ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House is to consider helping southwestern Minnesota obtain federal funds to recover from an April ice storm.

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The House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday night approved on a voice vote spending $1.5 million, which would leverage federal funds to help pay for $6 million in public costs.

Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, told the committee that total private and public damage from the storm was $26 million.

He said much of the public damage was caused by power lines and trees falling onto roads.

The storm occurred April 9 to 11. It started with rain, then 6 inches of snow fell.

"Then the wind picked up and destroyed thousands of trees ... and power lines," Schomacker said.

Lawmakers from both parties supported Schomacker's request, as usually happens when disaster relief is sought.

"The state is always a willing partner and understand the unique needs of so many communities across the state ... where the state partners to take some stress off local communities," Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, said.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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