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Minn. panel contemplates emergency aid for bridge victims

ST. PAUL (AP) -- A Minnesota House-Senate panel is considering $1 million in emergency aid for the victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.

The plan outlined Thursday would reimburse injured collapse survivors and family members of those killed in the Aug. 1 collapse for up to $10,000 in lost wages. The cap might be raised if money remained after an initial round of claims.

The proposal was worked out by Senator Ron Latz, Representative Dennis Ozment and Gov. Tim Pawlenty's staff. If the Joint House-Senate Subcommittee on Claims recommends the proposal, Latz said the state could start processing the payments and could use existing funds set aside for legal claims.

Any payments would count as advances against larger settlements being contemplated by the Legislature.