The bill would draw $1.1 billion from the state’s main savings account, the Constitutional Budget Reserve — mostly because of the recent collapse in oil prices. That means the state’s savings will be near the minimum it needs to pay the bills.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday announced two new mandates to further limit Alaskans’ movement and travel within the state, as the number of known COVID-19 cases continues to grow, and the first Alaskan died in the state after testing positive for the disease.
In a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the lawmakers recognized that the order would “undoubtedly cause hardship for some Alaskans,” but that they believe Alaskans are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to keep their communities safe.
That would allow them to put $35 million into the a fund that could later benefit the Ambler Road Project, which they’re also scheduled to vote on.
Not everyone who has been affected by the coronavirus is covered. One glaring loophole in the state legislation is that it doesn’t cover people who are self-employed or contract work, such as hair and nail salon workers, unless they’re specially set up to pay unemployment taxes.
Alaska’s Legislature has been working to finish the state budget and pass bills in response to the coronavirus, and lawmakers could leave Juneau as soon as Friday.
The new cases include five newly-diagnosed Alaskans from the Anchorage area and two from Fairbanks. Two are from North Pole and one is from Juneau, according to the latest data from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Some 600 business entities have filed plans with the state outlining how they’ll safely bring out-of-state workers into Alaska to support “critical infrastructure” amid the coronavirus pandemic, state officials said Wednesday.
“Social distancing in a correctional setting is a challenge, but we’re really doing the best that we can,” Corrections spokeswoman Sarah Gallagher said.
Dr. Jay Butler of the CDC says in another week or so, the CDC may have the data to gauge how effective hunkering down is at curbing the spread of COVID-19.