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My disaster is more important than your disaster

Posted at 4:17 PM on May 3, 2007 by Bob Collins

HF2433, filed just yesterday I believe, zipped through the House Finance Committee (points have been awarded but there's so little action at the Capitol today that I'm unlikely to process and update pages until tomorrow).

The bill provides disaster relief to the people of Browns Valley, hit by a flood in March. Rep. Joyce Peppin tried to get $1 million thrown in to help the people of Rogers recover from a tornado that hit there in September, but the committee voted it down.

According to the AP, "Peppin grew tearful and stormed from the room after the committee voted down her amendments, saying she shouldn't have to tell her constituents that they aren't worthy of the type of state assistance going to other areas."

The definition of "disaster" is a conversation that would be an interesting one. I only heard the end of Rep. Peppin's amendment, but part of it was money for a "noise abatement wall," because the twister took out some trees that provided noise abatement.

Rep. Brad Finstad also gave Rep. Paul Marquart, who carried the bill, the "what for?" He said the whole deal "reeks of politics," which suggests DFLers ganging up on an area represented by a Republican. Former House Speaker Steve Sviggum chimed in saying "politics is being played." (At the Capitol? Nooooooo!)

It's true the committee is dominated by DFLers, but two of the three people who authored the bill.... are Republican.

In the end, Rep. Mindy Greiling gave a shot to Peppin, saying she should've asked for money in January other than a sound barrier. That set Peppin off and eventually Rep. Paul Kohls got into the political "disaster" of a committee meeting.

Here's the audio of the fun and games. (RealAudio required)

Tomorrow's House floor session -- when this will come up -- should be interesting. I presume, since he heads the Republicans, Rep. Marty Seifert will amend his own bill to include Peppin's community.

Which means...tomorrow is a Floor Session Palooza Day!