Minn. Lawmakers Shore Up Response Funds as Bird Flu Wracks State

April 21, 2015 05:42 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Lawmakers moved Tuesday to provide emergency money as Minnesota struggles to get a deadly bird flu outbreak under wraps.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill providing nearly $900,000 in emergency funding to the state for its ongoing response efforts, calling the outbreak a "crisis."

The deadly H5N2 virus has so far cost Minnesota - the country's top turkey-producing state - more than 2 million turkeys after being detected on more than 30 farms. The deadly H5N2 virus has so far continues to spread in the nation's largest turkey-producing state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has sent in several teams of experts to monitor and stem the virus' spread.

But the legislative funding could get temporarily hung up over a disagreement between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt reiterated Tuesday he wouldn't accept a bill with unrelated language that Senate Democrats tucked into the legislation that would move back a reporting deadline on the state's budget reserves. The dispute may send lawmakers into a conference committee to iron out the dispute before sending the bill to the governor.

Gov. Mark Dayton promised to sign the bill as soon as it hits his desk. He said the virus' threat is still growing and state officials aren't yet sure of its total scope.

"We will come through for those turkey producers who suffered these terrible losses," the governor vowed Tuesday. "We can never do enough in a situation like this."

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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