House Approves COVID-19 Funding for Local Health Agencies, Other Needs | KBIA

House Approves COVID-19 Funding for Local Health Agencies, Other Needs

Mar 16, 2020

Credit Meiying Wu / KBIA

Dedicating additional funds to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic was a priority of a rare Sunday meeting of the House Budget Committee.

Lawmakers met well into the evening but started their session by approving a recommendation from the governor's office that would allow the spending of approximately $13 million on the state's coronavirus response, money that State Budget Director Dan Haug said the state is expecting from the federal government.

Haug said a portion of the money would go toward local health agencies, and it could also be used for testing and lab services. He said they anticipated further guidance from the federal government on how they could spend the money early next week.

The timing of the money, however, is unclear, so the governor's office recommended the $13 million be placed on both the FY2021 budget and the supplemental budget for the current year.

Those federal funds are in addition to the approximately $7 million in state funds that can be used in response to Parson's state of emergency declaration. Haug said the state is still waiting to see if spending those funds will be necessary. There is a need to be judicious with those emergency funds, he said, because those funds also go toward natural disasters such as flooding and tornadoes.

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