House Finance Committee passes public health emergency bill

JUNEAU u2013 Today, the governoru2019s House Bill 76, extending the public health emergency in response to COVID-19, passed the House Finance Committee on a 6-5 vote.

nnThe extension will afford the State of Alaska numerous tools lost when the previous declaration expired February 14, including the loss of off-site testing and vaccination, and waivers to care for patients telephonically. It will also ensure Alaska receives the roughly $8 million a month in federal SNAP benefits available.

n nSpeaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) said, u201cSimply put, this bill will provide critical tools needed to help end the pandemic. While there has been an active disinformation campaign about what this bill does, the measures it contains are not at all controversial. We will not allow opportunist politics to get in the way of good policy.u201d

n nu201cHB 76 will help keep our restaurants, bars, and businesses open and restore Alaskansu2019 confidence that we are taking significant steps toward resuming life as normal,u201d added Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks).

n nu201cExtending the disaster declaration will not require mask mandates, business and school closures, or hunker down orders. Instead, it will help accelerate the recovery phase faster by injecting federal dollars into the state and preventing outbreaks by facilitating more efficient vaccine distribution,u201d said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan).

n nHB 76 will now go to the floor for a vote of the House of Representatives.


nAustin Baird
nCommunications Director
nAlaska House Coalition
n(907) 465-6791