Alaska Legislature passes bill to retroactively extend state’s emergency declaration
House Bill 76 awaits governor’s approval
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that extends the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration until the end of the year and is now awaiting the governor’s approval.
On Wednesday, the Alaska Senate passed House Bill 76 by a 14-6 vote, according to a release from the Alaska Senate Majority. Later that night, the state House of Representatives voted 25-15 to approve the bill.
The approval of HB76 comes after a revision by the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month.
The bill had an April 30 deadline for the emergency declaration to be renewed to ensure Alaska remains eligible for about $8 million per month in enhanced federal food aid for those in need.
The state’s emergency declaration had expired in February.
“This bill is about delivering critical assistance to Alaskans who’ve suffered from the economic devastation of the past year,” said Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, in the press release. “The message of HB 76 is clear: We must do all we can to protect our most vulnerable Alaskans while also transitioning back to life as it was before the pandemic. Schools must be open, businesses should be able to operate freely, and the restrictions on the lives of everyday Alaskans must end.”
In addition, the bill will ensure Alaska’s eligibility in future federal aid and reimbursement for the Federal Emergency Management Agency costs, as well as place limits on the governor’s power to spend federal funds without the approval of the state Legislature.
Jeff Turner, a spokesperson for Dunleavy’s office, said that as of Thursday afternoon the House had not yet transmitted the bill to the governor’s office. Dunleavy will review the changes when he receives it, Turner wrote.
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