May 19th, 2020
In this issue:
  • The legislature ratifies CARES Act funding and adjourns
  • AK CARES small business loan program launches May 26th
  • Online with Ivy this Saturday
Legislature Ratifies CARES Act Funding
The House passed HB 313 this Tuesday, approving CARES Act funding in less than 24 hours in Juneau. The week before, the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee on which I sit approved the governor's Revised Program Legislative Requests, or RPLs, to release the funds, but then a lawsuit was filed that could have held up the funds indefinitely.
We came together as quickly as possible to ratify, or approve, the allocations of these funds to address the legal problems with distributing them through RPLs. We believe that this will prevent the lawsuit from holding up the funds Alaskans so desperately need right now.
Here's a summary of the CARES Act funds approved in HB 313:
  • $568.6 million to help communities and local governments impacted by COVID-19.
  • $290 million for the state to provide grants to Alaska small businesses impacted by COVID-19. It is estimated this funding will help 10,000 small businesses and nonprofits that were unable to obtain federal loans and grants.
  • $50 million for Alaska fisheries.
  • $51.6 million for rural airports and other transportation items.
  • $45 million for K-12 education.
  • $42 million for child nutrition programs that serve children forced out of school by the pandemic.
  • $29 million to address rural transportation costs, including the Alaska Marine Highway System.
  • $10 million for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to help prevent homelessness.
  • $5 million for the University of Alaska students.
  • $3.6 million in critical funding for state, local, and tribal governments to provide a range of programs including law enforcement, prosecution, indigent defense, courts, crime prevention and education, corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and more.
Ideally we would have had more funding for housing stabilization, safe and healthy elections and other items, but politics is the art of the possible. We wanted to get these funds out to communities as quickly as possible.
The Senate will take up HB 313 on Wednesday, May 20th.
The Legislature Adjourns -- for now
Tuesday, May 20th, on the 120th day of legislative session, (one day before the constitutional end of session), shortly after passing HB 313 ratifying the CARES Act funding, the State House adjourned sine die, meaning that we will not meet again this session. However, this does not mean we are done meeting as the whole legislature for the year.
It is likely that the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee will meet to approve additional RPL's for federal funding related to COVID-19. As a reminder the RPL process is used to receive additional federal funding for programs that already exist. The legislature could use this to receive additional funds for programs approved in the regular budget or in HB 313 which the House passed today.
It's also possible that the Legislature could meet again later this fall to work on the capital budget and confirmations of the governor's appointees.
Although the legislature is adjourning for now, I am still hard at work and here for you if you need help finding resources in these trying times. Feel free to reach out to me anytime.
AK CARES Small Business Loan Program Launches May 26th
A key provision of HB 313 is the new AK CARES program which is a grant program designed to help small businesses and nonprofits secure funding to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19. The AK CARES program is funded by $290 million in CARES Act funds slated for final approval by the Senate Wednesday morning.
The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) plans to partner with Credit Union 1 to offer emergency relief to Alaskan small businesses. The application period for this program is expected to open on May 26, 2020.
Please check back as the following preliminary information will be updated until the AK CARES Grant Program is finalized on May 21, 2020.
Join me for a Facebook Live Update this Saturday at 10:00am
Join me this Saturday at 10:00am on my official legislative Facebook page for a live update. I will be available to answer any of your questions and concerns. We've been getting great participation in these events. You can type your questions to me in the comments so you can get answers to the questions that are on your mind.
These 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 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, 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. We have been helping Alaskans get information about unemployment, small business relief and more. We are working remotely but checking our voicemails and emails regularly.
We are here to help.
Be well,
Phone Number: (907) 465-4940