Alaska’s Senate took the final action Wednesday on approving a $1 billion-plus financial aid package for Alaska communities and businesses, passing House Bill 313 by a 19-1 vote. The state House passed the bill Tuesday.

Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, cast the lone no vote against the bill.

“I thank the Alaska Legislature for approving my administration’s plans to distribute CARES Act funding for local communities, businesses, non-profits and Alaskans that have been impacted by this public health emergency,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a statement.

“These funds will be critical to assisting our state’s economy in getting back on track, businesses open, and individuals back to work,” the governor said.

Also on Wednesday the board of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority approved a plan to administer $290 million in grants to Alaska small businesses and nonprofits. The program was one of several new programs approved by HB 313. AIDEA has issued an intent notice to award a contract to Alaska-based Credit Union 1 to administer the grant program.

Grants will be between $5,000 and $100,000 and will be for businesses or nonprofits with less than 50 employees who can demonstrate that they were unable to secure a federal Small Business Administration Payroll Protection Act loan under the federal CARES act.

With the passage of HB 313 by the Senate, the Legislature has adjourned its 2020 regular session. The bill has now gone the governor for his signature. Dunleavy is expected to approve the bill.

Wednesday, May 20, is the 120th day of the session, with midnight as the mandatory adjournment time. The Senate’s work was completed several hours before that. The House, finishing its work earlier, adjourned on Tuesday.

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