Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she will meet with Iowa lawmakers this week to discuss additional state funding that might be needed for flood recovery efforts.
“We’re going to act while they’re here [in Des Moines],” Reynolds said. “Of course we’ll do that while they’re still in session.”
The Iowa legislative session is scheduled to end May 3, but that can easily change.
Reynolds said state officials are still figuring out how much state funding would be needed to deal with breached levees, destroyed roads, and flooded homes and farms. Federal funding is also in the mix.
“The president’s disaster declaration was $1.6 billion. And honestly that’s probably low as we move forward with this and as we look at the severity of the breaches,” Reynolds said.
She added all of the damage hasn’t been assessed yet because some areas are still covered in water.
Democrats in the Iowa Senate have been calling on lawmakers to consider a $50 million flood relief and recovery package, but Republicans voted down the first part of that Monday.
Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, proposed an amendment to the agriculture and natural resources budget that would give $828,000 to the Iowa Flood Center and the Department of Natural Resources to study what caused the flooding.
“I think it’s critically important that Iowans take control of our own destiny and ask our experts to figure out what the causes of the 2019 Missouri River flood were, so that we can safeguard our people and our property going forward,” Hogg said.
Sen. Tom Shipley, R-Nodaway, asked the Senate to vote down Hogg’s amendment.
“I understand very well the impacts of the flood,” Shipley said. “However, I know there is work going on between the Senate, the House and the governor’s office to develop a well thought-out plan, a well-founded plan, to legitimately address the needs of flood victims.”
Republicans at the Statehouse have said they will follow the governor’s lead on this.
The flood relief package proposed by Hogg and Sen. Jackie Smith, D-Sioux City, is likely to continue being rolled out as amendments to budget bills. The plan includes millions for grants for small businesses and farms, no-interest loans for recovery efforts, and flood hazard mitigation grants.
It’s not clear how a plan from Reynolds and Republican lawmakers will compare to the plan from Senate Democrats.
Reynolds is also urging the U.S. Congress to approve disaster relief funding.