The Alaska State Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The Alaska State Capitol. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Legislative committee agrees to plans for coronavirus aid

Decision came Monday night.

  • Associated Press
  • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 11:09am
  • News

A legislative committee set aside lingering legal questions and agreed to Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plans for $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief aid.

Many Legislative Budget and Audit Committee members Monday said getting the money out was more important than haggling over legal authority for the spending, KTOO Public Media reported.

The committee, made up of House and Senate members, previously agreed to Dunleavy’s plans for about $125 million, a fraction of his total request, while working through remaining items.

[Federal relief work goes into the evening]

The biggest items addressed Monday involved $586.6 million for communities; $290 million in small business relief; and $100 million for fisheries.

The Legislature’s legal adviser had questioned whether spending not tied to budget items could be approved through the committee process. Rep. Chris Tuck, the committee chair, argued the full Legislature must convene to approve the spending in those cases.

Sen. Lyman Hoffman called for action by the committee.

“We need to say, ‘We are the decision makers, let’s make some decisions today,’” Hoffman, a Bethel Democrat, said. “The people of Alaska want us — they’ve elected us — to make these decisions. Now, let’s get to business and let’s vote and get this thing done.”

Tuck, an Anchorage Democrat, ruled the contentious items out of order but was overruled. The items were later approved without objection.

Those who supported the move said the Legislature could vote to ratify the committee’s actions when it next convenes. The Legislature is in recess, after passing a budget in late March. The 121-day session clock, set forth by the state constitution, expires May 20.

“There’s no time to spare,” Senate President Cathy Giessel, an Anchorage Republican, said in a statement. “We’re in the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis.”

Other items agreed to Monday included $49 million for airports; $10 million related to homelessness; and $3 million for the Whittier tunnel and other transportation operations or issues.

• This is an Associated Press report.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Alexei Painter, director of Alaska’s Legislative Finance Division, presents an update of the state’s budget situation for the coming year to the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Analysis: Balanced state budget next year can include a $1,535 PFD and $680 BSA increase

However, a “statutory” $3,688 PFD would result in a deficit of more than $1.2 billion, report says.

The Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development at its meeting Wednesday in Juneau. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska’s education board sends a $500M wish list for construction and maintenance to lawmakers

The state’s Board of Education and Early Development approved a priority list… Continue reading

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson answers questions from state senators during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
State officials working to meet Friday deadline for revised transportation plan

The federal government rejected the plan on Feb. 9, citing numerous deficiencies

(Getty Images)
Alaska Republicans head to the polls Tuesday with Trump, Haley and Ramaswamy on the ballot

On Super Tuesday, March 5, Alaska Republicans will join their counterparts in… Continue reading

Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, speaks March 20, 2023, on the floor of the Alaska House. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Proposal to define a fetus as a person in Alaska’s criminal code faces pushback

Opponents testified that the bill would threaten Alaskans’ abortion rights

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks Monday, May 8, 2023, on the floor of the Alaska House. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House approves bigger merit scholarship for in-state high school students

The Alaska House of Representatives voted on Monday without opposition to raise… Continue reading

Most Read