Lawmakers Drawing Up Contingency Funding Plans For Bird Flu
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Top Minnesota lawmakers say they're developing contingency plans that would allow state agencies to more easily access emergency response dollars if the spread of avian influenza intensifies.
Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk say they're aiming to give Gov. Mark Dayton's administration flexibility and access to special emergency accounts in case the crisis hitting poultry farms worsens after the Legislature adjourns next month. Bakk says that could entail making the bird flu response eligible for disaster assistance normally associated with severe storms or flooding.
The House agriculture budget bill is on hold while officials determine what money could be needed to fight the outbreak that has cost Minnesota's turkey farms almost 2.6 million birds already.
An initial $900,000 for bird-flu response awaits legislative action.