Governor signs 3 emergency bills allocating federal funds

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Governor Mark Gordon wasted no time signing three pieces of legislation passed by the Wyoming Legislature last weekend that provide a framework for spending $1.25 billion in federal funding awarded to the State through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The bills were developed and passed during the Legislature’s special session held electronically on May 15-16.

“I very happy with the bills we’ve gotten,” Gordon said during a press conference Wednesday. “These bills will help Wyoming economy as it is coming out of hibernation.”

The Governor exercised his line-item veto authority to address two elements of House Bill 1004. The Governor tweaked the timing on disbursements to allow for more flexibility in case other urgent needs come up prior to July 15. Gordon also removed the $20,000 minimum amount that businesses would be eligible for under the Business Interruption Stipend Program.

This better aligns the grant to the true need of the smallest businesses with minor losses, Gordon said.

Bills signed by the governor yesterday include:

  • Senate File 1001 gives the Governor further flexibility to spend the $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding through three allotments. It sets out $450 million immediately, an additional $400 million starting on July 15 and the remaining balance of $400 million beginning Sept. 15.
  • Senate File 1002 makes changes to the State’s unemployment insurance program and workers compensation program. It also creates an eviction prevention program that will be administered by the Wyoming Community Development Authority.
  • House Bill 1004 provides funding to establish three business-relief programs that will provide assistance to Wyoming companies impacted by COVID-19 and health orders. It allocates $50 million for the “Wyoming Business Interruption Stipend Program” to help businesses with 50 or fewer employees with grants of up to $50,000 dollars; $225 million for the “Coronavirus Business Relief Stipend Program” to assist businesses with up to 100 employees with stipends of up to $300,000; and $50 million for the “Coronavirus Mitigation Stipend Program” that will help Wyoming businesses of any size pay for COVID-19 related expenses up to $500,000.

In closing Wednesday’s presser, Gordon thanked his staff as well as reporters around the state for working together to get Wyoming through trying times, acknowledging it hasn’t always been a bed of roses.

“I know we’ve been a little prickly over the last little bit but it’s been a long haul and spring is coming and we all want to get out,” Gordon said. He added, “We’re doing well, while understanding that delicate balance between rights and responsibility. We’re way ahead of our peers.”

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