The legislature is currently discussing if a virtual session may be permitted in lieu of an in-person session due to the current COVID health mandates, according to a letter Senator Donald Olsen sent his constituents Wednesday.
Olsen, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, suggested the committee "will likely meet in the first part of May" to discuss Govenor Michael Dunleavy's plan on how to use Alaska's $1.25 billion federal COVID-19 financial aid package.
Dunleavy wants to designate $562 million for communities; $300 million for small business loans; $50 million for nonprofits and $337 million for public health, but it is up to the Legislature to make the needed appropriations.
The CARES act also awards $29 million for public transit; $32 million for Anchorage and Fairbanks international airports, and $100 million in aid for fisheries.
The CARES act directly offers aid to tribes, some airports, and health care facilities, in addition to personal $1,200 stimulus checks and Small Business Administration loans.
Before going into recess, the Legislature granted gave open-ended “receipt authority” for federal unemployment, Medicaid, and Public Health funds so federal funding could be channeled to the Department of Health and Human Services post haste.