I’m Here for You
I want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and voice
March 27, 2020
Legislative Update – Friday, March 27
In just a few months, the COVID-19 virus has swept across the globe threatening the health and well-being of millions of people. Not since the Great Depression have we seen anything approaching the economic turmoil caused by this terrible virus.
I recently read President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address, which he delivered on March 4, 1933 during the peak of the Great Depression. When he delivered the speech millions of Americans were scared and out of work. Life savings were gone, and people were hungry, much like today. The speech gave me hope for our shared future as Americans because we made it through the Great Depression and we will make it through this, together. Below is an excerpt from FDR’s speech that I think is pertinent to our current struggle.
Please be safe,
“If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, Saturday, March 4, 1933.
The Alaska Legislature unanimously passed a bill expanding unemployment benefits for Alaskans impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
HB 308 will help the hard-working men and women of Alaska during the COVID-19 crisis.
HB 308 ensures employees receive unemployment benefits whether they are furloughed, laid-off, lose work hours, or are forced to stay home to care for children or other loved ones as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is anticipating an increase in the number of people filing for unemployment benefits.
Federal Stimulus Package
Congress passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package.
Alaska is slated to receive a minimum of $1.25 billion from the stimulus package.
$1,200 in direct payments to taxpayers who have an income of up to $75,000 a year. (An additional $500 per child)
13-week extension in unemployment benefits.
$100 billion for hospitals and health systems.
Federally guaranteed loans for small businesses that do no lay off workers.
$349 billion in loans for small businesses. (6-month delay on loan payments)
$500 billion corporate loan fund. (No stock buybacks)
$27 billion in emergency funds to cover vaccines and medical supplies.
$100 billion for hospitals.
$150 billion for state, tribal, and local governments to defray coronavirus-related costs.
$400 million in grants to states to expand voting by mail.
$300 million to support fisheries and aquaculture operators not covered by agricultural disaster assistance programs.
$56 million for Essential Air Service.
$15.5 billion to accommodate an expected increase in the need for food stamps.
$17 billion loan program for businesses deemed critical to maintaining national security.
$58 billion in loans for cargo and passenger airlines.
$100 million for rural broadband.
COVID- 19 Update – Friday, March 27
The number of COVID-19 cases in Alaska is 69.
“We now have convincing evidence of community transmission in three Alaska communities—Anchorage, Fairbanks and Ketchikan. This means that COVID-19 cases are being identified in people in these communities who have had no recent out-of-state travel and no identified link to another person with confirmed COVID-19 infection. This heightens the need for vigilant adherence to social distancing measures and prompt home isolation of people who develop any symptoms of respiratory infection.” – Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Alaska’s State Epidemiologist.
3 people with COVID-19 in Alaska are currently hospitalized.
Over 2,400 COVID-19 tests have been taken in Alaska.
591,802 COVID-19 cases. 26,996 deaths. 130,915 recovered.
Alaska’s Public Health Emergency
The Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation extending the public health emergency to November 15. (34-1)
The bill includes $10 million from the Disaster Relief Fund to assist with any expenses that arise during response efforts.
The bill extends the deadline to file a PFD application until April 30.
Gives the state the authority to impose cleaning policies for grocery stores and other high-traffic retails stores.
The bill grants Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer the authority to issue standing orders for healthcare providers related to COVID-19.
The bill allows the Director of the Alaska Division of Elections to direct Alaskans to vote by mail in all elections in 2020 if in-person elections are deemed to compromise public health.
The bill guarantees that first responders, nurses, and doctors will receive workers compensation.
The bill eases requirements for professional licensing for those who work in the healthcare industry.
The bill allows wills to be finalized using videoconferencing technology.
SB 241 enables the Department of Community, Commerce and Economic Development to provide COVID-19 related grants to small businesses to prevent bankruptcy or layoffs.
Governor Dunleavy will be required to provide monthly reports to the Alaska Legislature.
Anchorage, Angoon, Juneau, and Ketchikan are under “hunker down” orders.
Valdez issued an emergency proclamation urging everyone to shelter in place.
All visitors to Alaska are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
The City and Borough of Juneau ordered all travelers into Juneau to self-quarantine for 2 weeks.
The Anchorage Daily News editorial board is calling for a state-wide travel ban and a shelter-in-place order. (March 24 editorial)
The Aleutians East Borough has issued a declaration of disaster emergency in response to COVID-19.
Restrictions on Contact
The State of Alaska has issued a health mandate to further limit contacts between people.
The mandate requires many businesses to cease operations until further notice.
Governor Dunleavy ordered all schools closed through May 1.
Governor Dunleavy has ordered all restaurants, bars, breweries, cafes, and entertainment facilities closed until 5 p.m. on April 1.
All health care providers are ordered to postpone or cancel all elective or non-urgent procedures for 3 months.
The Alaska Division of Insurance is requiring health insurers to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, office visits, and trips to the emergency room.
University of Alaska
The University of Alaska is conducting classes remotely.
Visit www.muni.org/covid-19 for updated information about the Municipality’s actions regarding COVID-19.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz extended the “hunker down” order until April 14.
Property tax bills will be delayed for at least a month.
The Municipality will not garnish any stimulus funds from residents.
The Municipality of Anchorage is suspending charges to use the People Mover system.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz says utility shutoffs will be suspended for Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility and Municipal Light and Power.
Mayor Berkowitz signed an emergency order temporarily suspending enforcement of the paper bag fee of 10 cents.
Anchorage Municipal Election
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Municipality of Anchorage is closing all but 1 of the vote centers on Monday of next week.
Closed vote centers.
The vote center at the Anchorage City Hall will open on Monday as scheduled.
Anchorage residents are encouraged to vote at home as soon as possible.
Voters are encouraged to return ballots in one of the 18 secure drop boxes in Anchorage.
Call the voter hotline at (907) 243-8683 between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. if you need a replacement ballot or didn’t receive a ballot.
Alaska Court System
The Alaska Court System has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak.
All eviction hearings are halted until May 1.
All superior court and district court proceedings are suspended through April 3 except for priority hearings. (Exceptions for bail and other time sensitive hearings)
All trial court proceedings and civil marriage ceremonies are suspended through May 1.
The order calls for all attorneys, parties, witnesses, and other participants to appear by telephone or videoconference.
All documents shall be filed by email.
The filing deadline in all cases are extended to May 1.
Minor offense cases are suspended through May 1. (Traffic infractions)
Child custody and domestic relations cases will only be heard on an emergency basis.
“Many custodial schedules are tied to the school year. Now that schools have been indefinitely suspended, parties should maintain the school schedule, unless they can agree on a new schedule.” – Presiding Judge Statewide Administrative Order.
The order will be reviewed every 2 weeks by the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans.
Apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call 1-800-659-2955.
The Port of Seattle is suspending the 2020 cruise season until the COVID-19 health emergency is resolved.
Alaska Airlines is reducing flight schedules in April and May by 70%.
Southwest Airlines is cutting 1,500 flights per day.
RavnAir is temporarily cutting 146 employees and reducing its flight schedule by 30%. (RavnAir is the largest regional air carrier in Alaska)
Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
The best way to prevent contracting this illness is by avoiding exposure to it:
If you are sick:
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
If you do not wish to receive future emails from Rep. Tuck, click here.