EDITOR, Daily News:

Earlier this week, the Alaska Legislature met to appropriate COVID-19 relief funds. The State of Alaska received over $1 billion from the Federal Government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Gov. Dunleavy sent multiple revised proposals for how to spend that money within our current budget, and the Legislature approved that spending.

Some specific allocations include: $290 million in grants to small businesses, $100 million for fishing industry relief, $45 million for K-12 education (with an additional $42 million for child nutrition programs and $5 million for the university), $29 million for rural transportation costs (including $10 million specifically for the Alaska Marine Highway System), and $3.6 million for state and local law enforcement.

The largest portion of money, as recommended by the federal government, went to community assistance. Communities will receive a total of $568.6 million. Based on meetings with our Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, I expect Ketchikan (combined city and borough) to receive $22.6 million, Wrangell to receive $3.8 million, and Hydaburg to receive $242,000 to help offset the costs of responding to COVID-19.

The Legislature has now adjourned sine die. It is yet to be determined if we will return to Juneau later in the year to pass a more robust capital budget.

If you have any questions about the relief money, or anything else, don’t hesitate to email me at Rep.Dan.Ortiz@AKLeg.gov or call my office

REP. DANā€ˆORTIZ

House District 36

Ketchikan