From Sen. Bill Wielechowski <[email protected]>
Subject Legislature Approves CARES Act Funding- May 20, 2020
Date May 21, 2020 12:07 AM
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May 20, 2020

Senator
Bill Wielechowski
State Capitol, Rm 9
Juneau, AK 99801
800-550-2435
907-465-2435
[email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
1500 W Benson #315
Anchorage, AK 99503
907-269-0120
Local Medical Facilities
Alaska Veterans Administration
1201 North Muldoon Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Phone: (907) 257-4700

Providence Express Care - Tikahtnu
1118 North Muldoon Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99504

Patients First Medical Clinic
6307 Debarr Road Suite C,
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Phone: (907) 333-7425

Urgent Care Medical Clinic
5437 E Northern Lights Blvd #1,
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 333-8561

Vera Whole Health - (For Anchorage Municipal Employees)
1450 Muldoon Rd, Suite 100
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Phone: (907) 313-7550

Mountain View Urgent Care
3521 Mountain View Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 868-1105

Medical Park Family Care
2211 E Northern Lights Blvd,
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 279-8486

Emergency Room

Alaska Regional Hospital
2801 Debarr Road,
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 276-1131

Alaska Native Medical Center
4315 Diplomacy Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 563-2662

Providence Medical Center
3200 Providence Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Phone: (907) 562-2211
Contact My Staff
Sonja Kawasaki
Chief of Staff
Office: 907-465-2435
[email protected]
Nate Graham
Legislative Aide
Office: 907-269-0120
[email protected]
Erik Gunderson
Legislative Aide
Office: 907-269-0120
[email protected]
Contact Alaska's Federal Delegation
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Phone: 907-271-3735
Website [[link removed]]
Senator Dan Sullivan
Phone: 907-271-5915
Website [[link removed]]
Representative Don Young
Phone: 907-271-5950
Website [[link removed]]
Contact the Governor
Governor Dunleavy's Anchorage office may be reached at 269-7450, or e-mail him
at [email protected] [[link removed]]
Visit the state website
www.alaska.gov [[link removed]]
________________

Dear Friends & Neighbors,
The legislature reconvened from recess this week to consider a bill to ratify the
governor's spending plan for $1.145 billion in federal funds provided to Alaska
last month under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act. Although
I would have preferred to see more direct assistance to individuals and families,
I am hopeful communities, schools and small businesses will see immediate relief
from this funding. In this newsletter are some highlights and other important updates.

I passed my COVID-19 screening at the Capitol all three days.

Legislature Reconvenes from Recess to Address Federal Aid
Last March the legislature finished the budget and recessed in the midst of the
COVID-19 pandemic. In April the State of Alaska received $1.145 billion in federal
funds under the congressional CARES Act. The funds are to be spent on COVID-19-related
costs that Alaska has incurred or may still, due to the health pandemic and its
economic consequences.
Under a statute allowing the governor to decide the spending of additional, non-budgeted
federal dollars, Governor Dunleavy submitted proposals for the CARES funds to the
Legislative Budget & Audit Committee (LB&A). LB&A is a joint committee of ten House
and Senate members which, under the statute, can approve the proposals to immediately
effect the governor's spending plan. Such proposals are known as Revised Program
Legislatives (RPLs). I serve on LB&A as an alternate member, attend all the meetings,
and follow the issues closely.
The Alaska Constitution grants the legislature sole appropriations authority. This
allows legislators to represent the needs of their constituents and their districts
and debate the merits of various budget items, and it provides for a methodical
public process. The governor may veto or reduce items that the legislature has budgeted.
The Constitution clearly provides for separation of powers and checks and balances,
ensuring that control over state spending is not concentrated in just one branch
of government.
During LB&A discussions, several of us had strong concerns that at least some RPLs
violated the legislature's appropriations authority, and were advised just that
by our legislative attorneys. Still, LB&A approved the governor's RPLs earlier this
month. Two days after the final approvals, a Juneau resident filed a lawsuit contending
that the process violated the legislature's appropriations duty.
Because of the lawsuit, the entire legislature reconvened this week to try to pass
a bill to remedy the constitutional problems before the end of the 120-day session.
Today, we passed HB 313, ratifying the governor's CARES funds spending plan. We
also adjourned the 2020 legislative session.
While HB 313 was not an appropriations bill, and I'm still concerned that the process
that got us to this point was unconstitutional and could be invalidated, my colleagues
and I decided that the funds must be disbursed as soon as possible to help Alaskans
and local governments grappling with the costs of the COVID-19 crisis.

On May 2nd, I participated in the annual Russian Jack Park clean up.

CARES Act Allocations
Education
The legislature approved $86.8 million in CARES funding RPLs for our schools. Of
the funds, $44.9 million was approved for emergency grants to local education agencies
that are significantly impacted by coronavirus, or to support other education-related
entities within the state deemed essential for carrying out emergency educational
services. An additional $41.8 million was approved for school nutrition programs.
Fisheries
The legislature approved $50 million in economic stimulus for Alaska's fisheries.
The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) is
expecting to receive $50 million to distribute to Alaskan fishery participants and
will coordinate closely with the Department of Fish and Game to determine distributions.
DCCED does not know the exact impact of COVID-19 on the Alaska fisheries but is
expecting substantial reductions in revenue for the charter/guide and commercial
fishery sectors and potential limitations on harvest opportunities for subsistence
fisheries. The CARES funding will benefit Alaska fishery participants who have incurred
losses as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.
Local Government / Municipalities
Local Governments and Municipalities will receive relief funding from two different
RPLs, totaling $567 million. The legislature approved $311 million for direct community
assistance and $257.5 million for community distribution. Communities receiving
these payments will be required to certify compliance with federal guidance regarding
expenditures of the CARES funds.
The Municipality of Anchorage will receive $157 million under this HB 313 allocation
item.
Small Business Relief Grants
The legislature approved $290 million in CARES relief for small businesses. DCCED
and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) will offer emergency
relief to Alaskan small businesses. The application period for this program is expected
to open on May 26, 2020.
Eligible Entities
Small businesses including C-Corps, S-Corps, Partnerships, nonprofits (501(c)3 or
501(c)19), or sole proprietorship's with a current Alaska Business License may be
eligible when they:

* Did not qualify or were otherwise unable to obtain SBA PPP or EIDL funding
* Were in operation for at least one year prior to March 11, 2020
* Have on average 50 or fewer employees
Who Is NOT Eligible to Apply:

* Marijuana-related businesses
* Secondary income sources
* Out-of-state businesses
* Businesses that have received funding or have an approved application for SBA's
PPP or has EIDL funding in excess of $5,000
* Businesses with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees.
* Businesses that have filed bankruptcy.
* Businesses that do not meet the eligibility. criteria outlined above.
Grant Amounts & Eligible Expenses
Grant amounts will be $5,000 to $100,000 based on eligible expenses. The amount
of the award will be based on the following COVID-19 emergency-related eligible
expenses during the period 8 weeks prior and 8 weeks following the application date,
including:

* Payroll costs and expenses
* Payment of any short term (less than 24 months) or credit card debt incurred by
the applicant to support the applicant's business during the emergency
* Rent or mortgage payments (unless otherwise waived by lessor/lender)
* Utility payments
* Purchase of personal protective equipment required by the business
* Business-related equipment
* Expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary re-opening expenses
Application forms and a schedule of eligible expenses will be available May 21,
2020.
The program is expected to go live starting on May 26, 2020. Please start gathering
your information supporting your eligible expenses and make sure your business license
is current.
Homeless Assistance
The legislature approved $10 million of CARES funding for homeless assistance. The
funds will allow the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) to make grants to
organizations. These grants may be used for purposes such as rental assistance
and homelessness prevention.
Upcoming State Elections & Voting Information
Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer announced last week that the Alaska will not switch
to a vote-by-mail system for the state primary election this August 20. Alaskans
with underlying health conditions, our seniors, and those residing in the same
household as these individuals shouldn't have to choose between the health of themselves
and their families and exercising their right to vote.
Despite the lieutenant governor's decision, it is important for Alaskans who are
concerned about in-person voting this year to be able to avoid it. If you would
still like to vote by mail you must apply for an absentee ballot. To apply for
an absentee ballot and vote from your home, please click on this LINK. [[link removed]]
Alaska Help Line
Alaskans who need help or connection to information about services, including related
to COVID-19 impacts, can dial 2-1-1 from their phones. You can also reach out via
email to [email protected] or dial 1-800-478.2221.
This service is managed by the United Way which has expanded the call center hours
from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, due to increased calls related to COVID-19.
As Alaska looks to reopen it's economy with careful consideration toward monitoring
and preventing a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, I am hopeful Alaska will be able
to maintain our relatively low number of cases while safely bringing our economy
back online. As always if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact
my office at (907) 269-0120 or simply reply to this email.
Warmly,
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Sen. Bill Wielechowski | State Capitol | 4th Avenue & Main Street | Juneau | AK | 99801
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