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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lawmakers push for quick response in flood relief

Thursday, January 22, 2009

DES MOINES - Iowa lawmakers are pushing for a quick response in approving flood relief, saying hundreds of victims still need help.

In seeking fast action, lawmakers were joined Tuesday by victims of last summer's record flooding.

One of them, Jim Davis, whose Charles City home was flooded, says lawmakers need to act now.

"There has to be a sense of urgency," Davis said.

Sharon Murray, whose Palo home flooded, said she's still trying to make repairs.

"We lost half our home to the flood," she said. "It's just a roller coaster ride."

State Sen. Rob Hogg, a Cedar Rapids Democrat who heads a special committee created to deal with flood relief issues, says the goal is to get every Iowan displaced by flooding last year into a permanent home in 2009. That would include either new homes or completing repairs in homes that were damaged.

Hogg said as many as 400 families still live in FEMA trailers eight months after the floods.

"This is an urgent issue," Hogg said.

Both Gov. Chet Culver and Democratic leaders say flood recovery is their top priority in this year's session, but with the state looking at a projected budget shortfall of more than $700 million, there's little room for new spending programs.

Despite the shortfall, legislative leaders say flood recovery is probably the only area that will see increased spending.

Culver has asked lawmakers to approve an initial $43 million flood relief package, with the money coming from the state's cash reserves.

That's generated bipartisan support and Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, said the package would be passed "as quickly as possible," maybe by the end of the month.

Davis said he has "all kinds of friends and neighbors who were displaced.

"There continues to be a large amount of unmet needs," he said.

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