The state House and Senate have both passed bills approving $1 billion-plus in federal aid for Alaska communities and small businesses, including nonprofits. The state House passed its version of the bill, House Bill 313, Tuesday morning, sending it to the Senate, which had meanwhile passed its version of the same bill, Senate Bill 243.

What remains are formalities, including the Senate approving the House-passed bill, a technicality at this point, and then Gov. Mike Dunleavy signing the bill. The Senate is expected to take up the House bill on Wednesday, May 20.

The legislation expands the authority of state agencies to receive federal funds, which the Legislature must approve, and also authorizes the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development to transfer $568.6 million in federal funds to Alaska communities adversely affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown and $290 million in grants to small businesses and nonprofits that would be administered by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, the state development finance corporation.

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