MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Senate approved a $30 million appropriation for the state’s Disaster Assistance Contingency Account on Thursday.

The bill — authored by Senate President Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) — allows the state to provide fast assistance to help communities recover from spring flooding, as well as severe thunderstorms, windstorms, tornadoes and other natural disaster.

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It marks the first bill passed by the Senate in the 2020 legislative session, and the funding would be available without the need for a special legislative session.

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“Obviously we are all hoping that this account will not have to be used, but it’s important we are prepared if a natural disaster does occur. I am proud of the bipartisan support for this bill, and I look forward to getting it to the governor’s desk for his signature,” Miller said.

Since 2014, the Disaster Assistance Contingency Account has been used 40 times in the aftermath of natural disasters, according to a release from Senate Republicans. Major flooding last spring lead to a $3 million deficiency on the account.

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The bill would wipe out the deficiency and replenish the account ahead of a spring that officials say will have an elevated chance for flooding in the Upper Mississippi River drainage area.