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< Sen. Tomassoni was an Olympian? With Italy? | Main | Weekly recap >

An answer on bridge victim compensation

Posted at 11:29 AM on May 2, 2008 by Michael Marchio

The Commish would like to think it took his mention in the blog to jumpstart House and Senate negotiations, but it was probably going to happen anyway. The difference, you'll remember, was that the House provided $40 million with no cap on individual awards, and the Senate provided $26 million with a $400,000 cap on individual cases. It looks like Rep. Winkler's House version won out, even though the Governor expressed a preference for the Senate one. The final agreement allocates $38 million to victims. Here's MPR's Tom Weber with the story.

The deal includes creating two funds. The first would allow victims to get up to $400,000 each, which Latz said at a press conference Friday morning should take care of most victims' needs. For those with medical costs and lost wages that surpass that cap, a second fund will be created to dole out $12.6 million. Latz says that money will pay for medical costs; long-term health care for those who will likely face health issues in the future and who won't be eligible for some insurance because of their injuries; and lost wages.

As I wrote yesterday, Sen. Ann Rest's bill that would allow state employees three hours paid leave to donate blood was given approval by the Senate. A few amendments were offered to kill it, and one to allow, but not require state employers to let their workers to donate blood while on the clock, but none went through.

GopherMPH pointed out in our comments that blood donations are very low, and the Red Cross's policies on who can donate and when doesn't help matters. Some even argue the policies are outrightdiscrimination .

Still, between this bill and one sponsored by Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-Fairbault) and Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato) that allows 16-year-olds to donate blood, this should help things.

The Governor is handing out signatures like they're going out of style, so check back for the weekly update, your teams should be well treated.