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.
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.