From Sen. Tom Begich <[email protected]>
Subject Pause for the cause
Date April 2, 2020 12:46 AM
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Updates on the operating budget and COVID-19 response SUBSCRIBE ‌ ‌ Greetings! In these uncertain times, it’s important for us to come together as Alaskans. As our state continues to work tirelessly to prevent an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, I am encouraged to see that Alaskans are doing what they do best; helping each other out in times of need. I have seen groups form to create non-medical masks, deliver groceries to those who cannot go to the store, and comfort people when they are in need. While we are only in the beginning stages, the resilience of our communities should provide us all with a great deal of hope in the uncharted territory we find ourselves in. Thank you for stepping up for Alaska. Let me take a moment to talk about what happened in the Legislature last week: Last Saturday, and early into Sunday morning, the Legislature passed HB 205, which combines the FY20 supplemental budget, FY21 operating budget, and the FY21 capital budget. HB 205 included an additional $30 million for our public schools to ensure education continuity, needed support for pre-K and libraries, and full funding of school bond debt reimbursement, including REAA school construction funds. HB 205 also included a $1,000 October Permanent Fund Dividend, and an $88 million increase in COVID-19 response funding. You should also receive an additional $1,200 through the federal CARES Act. More importantly, this past Saturday saw the passage of SB 241, an Act that extended the public health emergency declaration through November 15, 2020 and includes a comprehensive economic stabilization package for the State of Alaska. In conjunction with HB 308 which extends unemployment insurance benefits and HB 205 which appropriates funds for COVID-19 response, SB 241 provides immediate economic relief right for Alaskans, including moratoriums on rental evictions, property foreclosures, and public utility disconnections, and an extension to the PFD filing deadline. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing more about specific provisions included in SB 241 through this newsletter and on my social media channels, but please know that at any time my office is here to help you navigate through these unprecedented times. The Legislature now stands in recess as we hunker down with the rest of Alaska. As the situation evolves, I promise to provide timely updates and keep you apprised of what is happening in your state government. While we may be in recess, my staff and I will continue to work hard to do what’s best for our state. Alaskans do what we do best by looking out for each other. Help do your part to flatten the curve by washing your hands on a regular basis and abiding by all state and CDC guidelines. These times are tough, but we can get through this together! All my best, Senator Tom Begich Senate District J Alaska COVID-19 Update As of April 1, there were a total of 133 confirmed cases of COVID-19. While the numbers will continue to rise, the State of Alaska has taken a proactive approach to flattening the curve and reducing exposure risk. Additionally, communities across the state are working hard and taking bold steps to mitigate the spread of the virus. The situation is continually evolving. Stay up-to-date on with the State of Alaska's response using the following websites: State of Alaska Health Mandates: Health mandates issued by Governor Mike Dunleavy, DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink.  State of Alaska COVID-19 Updates U.S. Congress & COVID-19 In the past few weeks the federal government has passed multiple COVID-19 relief packages that included over $2 trillion in relief funding. The packages include direct cash payments, loans and grants for small businesses, increased funding for public health programs, and funding relief to states and local governments. Direct Relief Payments: Americans making under $75,000 a year will receive a $1,200 check in the coming weeks. Unemployment Insurance: The federal government made significant changes to unemployment insurance coverage including extending benefits for up to 4 months, adding an additional $600 to each paycheck replacement payment, and expanding eligibility to individuals who are self-employed, freelancers, contractors, and gig workers. For more information, visit the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development website. Small Business Loans: Through the Small Business Association, $350 billion has been made available to administer loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including sole proprietors and nonprofits. Loans can be used for payroll, mortgage/rent, utilities, and any other debt. Visit the Small Business Administration website for more information and to apply. Municipal Election Update The Municipal Election replacement ballot deadline has been extended due to COVID-19. The deadline to request a replacement ballot has been extended until Friday, April 3 at 5:00 pm. Replacement ballots can also be obtained at City Hall from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm on weekdays and 7:00 am – 8:00 pm on Election Day (April 7). For more information, call 243-VOTE (8683) or visit the Elections page on the Municipal website. Dear Friends and Neighbors, I remember when I was a kid on a rainy day, just sitting inside watching the drops coming down. I don’t remember being bored. Between my three brothers we could always find something to do, even if it was just bickering. Now I have even more resources and I have been comfortable so far but eventually we all might all be fighting cabin fever. Along with all the searches into how the world is faring, I’ve read a lot of suggestions about what to do to cope and then the Senator’s staff did some brainstorming too. I’ll share with you what I’ve found to be most helpful. From our office brainstorming: Watch a movie with friends through a Netflix party; Join a book club (my congregation was invited to join our sister congregation in London), Use the library through Anchorage Library Hoopla; Make masks at home for hospitals/nursing homes; Take a class online; Join a yoga class online; Use YouTube to exercise; Use to find at risk families who need groceries or other errands run. The following are some ideas on how to keep you spirits up found online: Shift your mindset off what’s uncertain and move it to what you can do that you find enjoyable including checking in on friends and family. Follow a routine. Set wake up and meal times, get dressed for the day, etc. Take care of your body. Exercise, eat right, stay hydrated, drink alcohol in moderation. Be kind to your lungs. Put boundaries on your phone. Have some down time and avoid reading every new story about the virus. Employ some distraction techniques. Find some fun things to do. Plan your next vacation, garden, or remodel, write poetry, put together puzzles. This video from Berklee music students is a nice positivity break. Accomplish some little things. For me, that’s a few home decor tasks I kept putting off. Make time to unwind. Soak in the tub. Use psychological strategies. Keep a gratitude journal. Hoping you are well and safe and have enough toilet paper. ;o) -Kayla Contact Me! (907) 465-3704 (Juneau // session) (907) 269-0169 (Anchorage // interim) [email protected] ‌ ‌ Sen. Tom Begich | State Capitol Building, 120 4th St, Room 11, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | About Constant Contact Sent by [email protected]
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