Alaska Legislature adjourns after approving over $1 billion in federal coronavirus funding

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 9:35 AM AKDT
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The Alaska Legislature has adjourned after approving the governor’s plan to spend over $1 billion in federal coronavirus funding.

Over $560 million would go to local communities, nearly $300 million would go to small businesses and $50 million would go to Alaska fisheries.

The House of Representatives ratified the governor’s plan on Tuesday before adjourning. The Senate approved the same plan on a 19-1 to vote before also adjourning.

Eagle River Republican Sen. Lora Reinbold was the sole dissenting vote.

A special legislative committee approved the spending before the Legislature reconvened and ratified that decision. Reinbold said that process wasn’t appropriate or inclusive.

“This will absolutely pose legal challenges for the Legislature,” Reinbold said.

Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, said the process used by lawmakers is constitutional and the best way to get coronavirus spending out as quickly as possible.

The Legislature reconvened in Juneau on Monday after a lawsuit was filed, challenging the committee process used to approve the federal coronavirus spending.

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