From Sen. Donny Olson <[email protected]>
Subject ULU News - End of Session 2020
Date April 7, 2020 9:09 PM
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Senator [mailto:[email protected]]
Donald Olson [mailto:[email protected]]
Senate Finance Committee
Denise Liccioli
Elizabeth Rexford
Seth Beaver
Contact Information:
Toll Free Year Round:
Session: Jan.-April:
State Capitol [[link removed]]
Room 51 [[link removed]]4
Juneau, AK 99801 [[link removed]]
(907) 465-3707
WWW.LEGIS.STATE.AK.US [[link removed]]
GAVELALASKA.ORG [[link removed]]
Senator Dan Sullivan
Anchorage Office:
Congressman Don Young
Anchorage Office:
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Anchorage Office:
Office of the Governor
Anchorage Office:

31st Alaska Legislature

April 7, 2020

Funding to deal with the Covid-19 disaster can be found in many pieces of legislation.
All told, the legislature approved and sent to the Governor funding in excess of
$204.9 million to combat this disease and all of its' ramifications.

* There is $13.1 million federal and state money in HB206, the first supplemental
funding bill for this year, which has already been signed by the Governor, for emergency
public health emergency programs.
* There is another $53.5 million of state and other funds in HB234, the other supplemental
funding bill for this year, which was sent to the Governor; he has until April 17
to sign and veto or reduce items in this bill. There is additional public health
emergency program funding, and additional community assistance funding so that communities
will get their share of a $30 million distribution for this year, FY20.
* And there is another $138.3 million of state funds, plus language to allow open
ended federal funds for Medicaid and unemployment insurance benefits, in HB205,
the operating and capital budget that was sent to the Governor; he has until April
17 to sign and reduce or veto items in this bill. This Covid-19 funding is for
the fiscal year starting July 1, for public health emergency program funding, disaster
relief, homelessness prevention, and money to fully fund school debt reimbursement
so that communities get some additional assistance.In addition, SB241 was passed
to help deal with this emergency in other ways besides the funding part. A few
things in this bill:

* Extends the emergency to the earlier of September 1, 2020 or the date on which
the governor declares the emergency over.
* Allows the state medical officer to issue standing orders related to Covid-19.
* Allows telehealth and telemedicine for the duration of the emergency, limited
to actions related to Covid-19; and requires the amount charged to be reasonable
and not exceed 5% of the regular fee for the service.
* Stopping evictions and foreclosures for Alaskans under financial stress due to
Covid-19, until June 30, 2020. This does NOT forgive the amount owed, but instead
allows extra time to make your payment if you are out of work or experiencing hardship
due to the emergency.
* Keeping utilities, including internet services, connected until November 15, 2020
or whenever the governor declares the disaster over. This also does NOT forgive
the amount owed, but instead allows extra time to make your payment if you are
out of work or experiencing hardship due to the emergency.
* Provides price gouging protections for items sorely needed for this crisis.
* Extending the PFD application period one month until April 30, 2020.
* Allows for the primary or statewide special election to be by mail.
* Allows electronic and videoconference communications for shareholders, and notarization
of documents.There are many details contained in the bill on these and other topics,
so if any of these affect you, you can review the bill here: [link removed]
[[link removed]]
Due to Covid-19, and the need for social distancing, the legislature had to take
some unusual steps to get the budget passed quickly. As such, the final close-out
meetings of various subcommittees were cancelled, and we went straight to the conference
committee. I was appointed to the conference committee as a minority member of
the Senate Finance committee. I was chair of the Department of Law and the Department
of Public Safety subcommittees. The Governor has until April 17 to sign the budget
bill and make any vetoes or reductions.
First, I know that the PFD and financial help is on the mind of most Alaskans. The
bill passed by the Senate included a fall dividend of $1,000 as well as a $1,000
economic stimulus payment this spring, but the stimulus payment was stripped from
the final bill passed by the legislature and sent to the governor. I was shocked
and disappointed to see this happen at a time when Alaskans need the help the most.
The Covid-19 is wreaking havoc throughout the USA and Alaska will not be held harmless
from its devastation. The legislature could have offered hope to Alaskans by an
economic stimulus payment, but chose to withhold help from Alaskans that need it
now. Funding was provided for a $1,000 PFD in the fall. Sadly, it may be too little,
too late, for some.
We were able to add the $3 million back to the VPSO program. We did so with the
expectation that either my bill, SB231, or Representative Kopp's bill, HB287, to
implement the recommendations of the VPSO Working Group, would pass and thus the
program would be able to use the funding that has been left unused for several
years. Since neither of those bills passed, it is likely that either this funding
will be vetoed by the Governor, or it may once again lapse. We will have to see.
We added 44 new positions to the Department of Public Safety to strengthen public
safety all over the state. We also added intent to their budget that the department
prioritize the deployment of trooper positions to non-urbanized areas that lack
organized governments, and to add a second trooper to existing one trooper posts.
This is important because we do not want all or most of the new positions to simply
be put in Anchorage or the Mat-Su. I want all Alaskans to feel and be safe.
We also added $200 thousand for SART. With the rampant rates of sexual violence,
these funds will help with the testing that is needed to convict criminals of these
heinous acts.
We added $1,036.6 thousand back to public radio, and $633.3 thousand back to public
Public Education was fully funded at the same level. So K-12 will receive their
BSA and the additional $30 million they received this year. We also added $4.3
million for Pre-K transition grants. It is heartening to see the legislative support
for the education of our youngest Alaskans.
The Community Assistance fund is funded at $30 million in the budget for next year,
too. So communities will get a share of $30 million this year in FY 2020 (see HB234
above), as well as $30 million for next year, FY 2021.
Finally, the capital budget was partially funded. Some legislators believe we will
reconvene in the fall, or at least sometime before next session, to possibly add
additional capital funding and possibly address additional needs due to the Covid-19
disaster. In the meantime, the budget that was passed includes:

* $13.1 million of NPRA grants
* $25.9 million for VSW infrastructure projects for existing service, and
* $38.9 million for VSW infrastructure projects for first time projects
Due to the Corvid-19 crisis, the federal government has extended the deadline by
which you must have an acceptable form of ID, for any travel through TSA, to next
October 1, 2021. If you don't already have one of these, the 3 most likely IDs
you will want to obtain (only one of the 3 is needed) prior to that deadline is
either a Tribal picture ID, or a REAL-ID, or a passport. Even though this deadline
has been extended, given the number of hiccups some people have encountered, I strongly
encourage you to get your ID as soon as you are able to do so safely. Please do
not put this off until just before the deadline next year, since if you do run
into something that requires more than you have with you, it may create additional
problems for you.
Best wishes and be safe,

Senator Donald Olson
Toll free: 1.800.597.3707
Email: [email protected]


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