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Iowa Senate Approves $20 Million For Flood Relief

Katie Peikes
IPR File
Flooding near a small unincorporated community in Fremont County last March.

The Iowa Senate unanimously approved an additional $20 million for flood relief Thursday. If passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law, it would bring the total direct state money for flood recovery projects stemming from the 2019 floods to $35 million.

But some Democrats said that’s not enough, because there are $165 million in outstanding project requests, and about $117 million of that is an estimated state funding need. The rest could potentially be provided by the federal government.

Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, criticized Republicans for saying they would consider additional funding later.

“We don’t have a plan right now,” Hogg said. “We might come up with a plan later? Good Lord. We are 11 months after this flood disaster started, and we still have no plan.That’s tragic.”

Hogg also said additional money could have already been in play if Republicans had agreed to his request last year for more funding.

The project proposals come from eastern and western Iowa, and include levee improvements, flood mitigation, housing recovery and property acquisition.

Republicans said they are following the lead of Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who recommended the $20 million, and the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The department identified about $20 million of immediate flood recovery needs.

And Sen. Tom Shipley, R-Nodaway, said Iowans have been working on flood-related projects for months, and this money will help pay for the work that is already underway.

“This $20 million is simply to help get the process started,” Shipley said. “I believe that we will come up with more money. We cannot jeopardize any federal funding that may be coming forward.”

Shipley said it’s not true that lawmakers aren’t helping Iowans affected by flooding.

This additional flood funding was the first bill passed by the Senate this year.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter