Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday (Feb. 19, 2021) signed House Bill 1368, which appropriates $2.2 billion in federal funding that has been allocated to states in response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
The legislation takes effect immediately.
“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. “The process of getting to a post-pandemic era has already begun, and we will come out of this stronger because of legislation like what I am signing today.”
In December, Inslee asked the Legislature to act early on COVID relief legislation, and the Legislature responded with HB 1368, which addresses a host of needs facing Washingtonians right now.
The bill provides:
- $714 million in assistance for K-12 schools
- $618 million for public health’s response to COVID, including testing, investigation and contact tracing; and funding for vaccination efforts
- $365 million for emergency eviction, rental and utility assistance
- $240 million for business assistance grants
- $50 million for child care
- $26 million for food banks and other food programs
- $91 million for income assistance, including $65 million for relief for the state’s immigrant population
The House legislation was sponsored by Rep. Timm Ormsby. Sen. Christine Rolfes sponsored companion legislation in the Senate.
“Local communities have done their part to keep us all safe during this pandemic. This bill is just one step the Legislature will take this year to support those who are struggling most in our state,” said Ormsby, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “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.”