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Supplemental budget includes COVID funds

The Alaska Senate has passed House Bill 234, the largest supplemental budget in Alaska history, at $612 million. The bill includes more community assistance funding: $33.5 million in relief, in addition to the $14.1 million already appropriated to help communities mitigate the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

The bill passed unanimously, 16-0.

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Details of the package, which were requested by the governor: 

  • $8.5 million in grants to municipalities for COVID-19-related commercial passenger vessel operations;
  • $5.5 million for medical and protective equipment, including testing supplies;
  • $3.5 million for transportation to housing for medical assistance;
  • $2.5 million for housing individuals under quarantine;
  • $1.5 million for the state epidemiology lab for IT systems related to testing;
  • $1.5 million for personnel including lab, support, emergency operations, and 24-hour
  • facility staff; and
  • $500,000 for public distribution of vital health recommendations and information.

The bill also provides funding for last year’s unpaid wildfire and healthcare costs:

  • $142 million in state funds and $160 million in federal funds for Medicaid services, including $8.3 million to restore the Adult Preventive Dental Program;
  • $110.5 million for wildland firefighting costs incurred last summer and fall;
  • $8.6 million to restore Adult Public Assistance.
  • $7.1 million for the Alaska Marine Highway System.
  • $6.7 million for the Department of Public Safety to address a shortfall within the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers due to a lower than expected vacancy rate;
  • $6 million to help the Alaska Psychiatric Institute increase its capacity;
  • $3 million to address severe damage caused in Anchorage, Kenai, and Mat-Su by the December 2018 earthquake.

Anchorage will get an additional $4.5 million,

The bill, which originated in the House, needs concurrence from the House before it goes to the governor’s desk for approval.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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