April 8th, 2020
In this issue:
  • Governor Dunleavy's vetoes
  • Online with Ivy Saturday, April 11th at 10am
  • HB 308 - Expanded unemployment benefits available now
  • Help for cash strapped small businesses
  • How to make your own face mask
  • Opportunities for Health Care Providers to help respond to COVID-19
  • Resources for hungry kids
Governor Dunleavy Vetoes Hundreds of Millions of Dollars including Funding for Education
Governor Dunleavy announced vetoes to the operating budget today, the vetoes include:
  • Pre-Kindergarten - $4.3 M
  • Marine Highway - $15.5 M
  • Ocean Rangers - $3.4 M (this program was a voter approved initiative)
  • University of Alaska - $12.5 M
  • Public broadcasting - $2 M
  • Medicaid - $31 M (during a public health crisis)
He also vetoed funding for the following, which he believes will be funded by CARES Act funding from the federal government:
  • Community Assistance – $32.2 M
  • School Bond Debt Reimbursement – $100 M
  • Anchorage COVID-19 Response Grant – $2.7 M
  • One-Time Education Funding – $30 M (this would have flat-funded education--it is not an increase)
  • One-Time AHFC Homeless Grant – $5 M
  • Non-Mandatory Municipal Debt Reimbursement – $2.3 M
While some of these items may be replaced with CARES Act funding, it's not clear how many of them, like school bond debt and education funding, would be related to COVID-19. The CARES act limits these federal funds to COVID-19 response between March 1st and December 31st, 2020 for fund services which weren't already funded by the state.
However, these vetoes will have a negative impact on local school districts and communities across Alaska when public health pressures are simultaneously putting huge financial strains on local budgets.
Details on the vetoes are available here:

Join Me Online!
Saturday, April 11th, 10:00am - 11:00am
These are trying times, and things are evolving rapidly. Let's take a minute to talk about what's happening and what we're doing about it.
I look forward to connecting with you via Facebook Live on Saturday, April 11th, 10:00 am - 11:00 am. You can access the live stream by going to my official legislative Facebook page at 10:00am. I hope to see you online!
HB 308 - Expanded Unemployment Available Now
I am so appreciative of the support we received for HB 308, which expands access to unemployment benefits for Alaskans affected by COVID-19. HB 308 waived the waiting period and requirement that you be looking for a job right now, and increased benefits for those with dependents.
These are benefits Alaskans have been paying into through their unemployment insurance deductions on their paychecks. This is not a handout--it's insurance designed for just this kind of situation.
But to no ones surprise, the Department of Labor is receiving a record number of unemployment claims right now--about 15,000 in each of the last two weeks.
The phones can currently only handle 250 calls at a time. If you get a busy signal or it hangs up on you, please be patient and call again.
However, there are also Q&A documents up on the website that will answer most of your questions.
If you think you might be eligible, go ahead and apply online so you can get your application in the queue. This is quickest way to file a claim. You can file a claim at my.alaska.gov.
If you can, please be patient with the good folks at the Department of Labor. They are working their tails off right now!
In April, an additional $600/week benefit will be available to those eligible for traditional unemployment and those who are self-employed and gig workers. The Dept. of Labor is working to implement this new program as fast as they possibly can. They estimate this new benefit will be available in four weeks, although they are working hard to do so sooner.
Small business owner in need of help making payroll or paying rent and utilities?
The Anchorage Community Land Trust has put together a useful guide for small business owners to help with paying bills while losing revenue due to COVID-19 response public health measures. The Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program are accepting applications until funds run out.
If you need financial support during this tough time, do not hesitate to apply now. Details are available here.
Cloth Face Coverings Recommended When in Public
Both the CDC and DHSS issued recommendations recently that we wear cloth face coverings when out in public. Properly covering your nose and mouth can help prevent the spread of the virus when social distancing is not possible, like at the grocery store.
Information on how to properly use, clean, and make your own cloth face coverings is on the DHSS webpage.
Are you a health care provider looking to help respond to COVID-19?
Are you a school nurse, retired health care professional or other health care provider whose regular work has been scaled back because of COVID-19? Are you are licensed to practice in Alaska? The State of Alaska needs you.
Alaskan health care providers who want to help fight COVID-19 can register to help through Alaska Respond. We need all hands on deck right now.
Have hungry kids in Anchorage?
Hungry kids? The Anchorage School District is providing free meals beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Food will be available for any child 18 years of age or younger. Students are encouraged to pick up meals but parents/guardians may pick up for them. Details here.
There are tough times. COVID-19 is putting unprecedented stress on Alaskans--both in terms of our health and because of the economic impacts of the public health measures meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Alaskans always help Alaskans. Now we need to do that more than ever. Please let me know if there is anything my team or I can do to help you.
Keep in touch (from 6ft or further away)!
Phone Number: (907) 465-4940