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Daniels: Lawmakers will decide on more state fair money

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Gov. Mitch Daniels said Thursday he will push for more money for victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse, but lawmakers will have to decide how much.

The $5 million cap placed on state payouts to the injured and family members of the seven people who were killed was clearly not enough, Daniels said. He will spend the 2012 session lobbying for a one-time additional payout to the families of the seven people who died and dozens of others who were injured during the stage collapse.

"I certainly think they ought to do something further, then let's figure out together what exactly that is," he said. "I think the best thing would be for the Legislature to pick out what is fair and just."

An outdoor stage toppled right into a crowd on Aug. 13 at the state fair as high winds swept the fairgrounds right before the country duo Sugarland was set to perform.

One option Daniels floated would be paying families of the seven people who died a total of $700,000 from the state, the maximum payout allowed under the state's tort limit.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and national disaster claims expert Kenneth Feinberg divided the state's $5 million among victims. The families of the seven people who died were given upward of $300,000 each under the formula they devised. People who were physically injured generally had two-thirds of their medical costs covered by the state.

Most of that money had been claimed by the middle of the month. Although Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry filed charges this week against two women he says fraudulently filed claims with the state even though they were not at the fair when the stage collapsed.

Indianapolis Democratic Representative Ed DeLaney has said he would like to raise the $5 million liability cap during the 2012 session. But Republicans, including House Speaker Brian Bosma, have balked at the idea, calling it a payout for lawyers rather than victims.

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