Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bridge Survivors: What is the State's Role?

Blog readers will remember that a Shoreview resident was among those killed in the 35W bridge collapse. I was contacted this week by a person from the district whose car fell onto the collapsed bridge and her spouse. Because of data privacy issues, legislators were not able to get any kind of lists of those who survived the collapse. Legislators have been hearing from other survivors and their loved ones about the challenges of their recovery. My colleague Rep. Ryan Winkler of Golden Valley recently helped to convene a meeting to hear the testimony from these folks, and he is proposing that the state create a Minnesota Disaster Survivors Compensation Fund. He developed this idea during the regular session so that the legislature did not have to meet in special session to get funds flowing to assist disaster victims. It is based on a fund that was set up successfully for 9/11 victims.

I would like to hear from constituents about this issue. What do you think is a fair way to address this issue?

10/31: I thought the Pioneer Press did a good job of discussing the pros and cons of this issue in their editorial on 10/29, "Help for Immediate Needs, Caution about Precedent." A letter in the 10/31 Pioneer Press, "It All Comes from Taxpayers," left me a little cold.