House Bill 1368, which allocates $2.2 billion in COVID relief from the federal government, has been passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee.
“Our focus this year is relief, recovery, and resilience, and this legislation will help us make tremendous progress in all of those areas. Washingtonians have been exemplary in helping limit the spread of COVID-19, but it has not come without its economic and emotional costs,” Inslee said in a press release.
The funding is designed to assist a variety of needs, including $240 million for business assistance grants; $365 million for emergency eviction, rental, and utility assistance; and $714 million for K-12 schools.
To support public health efforts, $618 million is additionally being allotted to testing, investigation, and vaccination.
Other focuses of the bill include childcare, food banks, and income assistance programs.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Timm Ormsby in the House and Sen. Christine Rolfes in the Senate.
According to Ormsby, “This bill is just one step the Legislature will take this year to support those who are struggling the most in our state. As we approach the budgeting process, we are keeping our focus on investments that equitably address the needs in struggling communities and help families and small businesses get through this current stage of the pandemic.”