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Millions in flood relief loans for Minn. victims remains unused

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More than six months after heavy rain devastated parts of northeastern Minnesota, most of the money state lawmakers set aside for loans to victims is sitting unclaimed, the Star Tribune reports. The Legislature authorized $12 million for homeowners and $15 million for small businesses after floods swept through the Northland last June.

Some victims told the newspaper they didn't apply for the money because they feared they wouldn't be able to repay the loans.

"We set the money aside, and it hasn't been claimed by the individuals affected by the flood. I know that there are people who need help," State Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick told the Star Tribune. "We need to look deeply to what the resistance has been, and I don't have the answer to that."

Last July, the federal government approved $108 million in disaster aid to repair damage to public infrastructure. Gov. Mark Dayton lost an appeal with FEMA in August over the agency’s denial of individual flood assistance.

A month later, the state lawmakers approved a $167.5 million flood package designed to rebuild washed-out roads, repair flooded businesses and damaged houses and restore parks.

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Dayton, lawmakers to discuss flood relief

Gov. Mark Dayton will meet with Republican and Democratic leaders on Friday to negotiate an agreement on flood relief, the Associated Press reports. Dayton says he won't call the special session until leaders agree to a limited one-day agenda. A legislative panel on disaster relief held a Capitol hearing Thursday, according to the AP. Republican Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem and GOP Rep. Mary Liz Holberg say a special session is on track for Aug. 24.