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Wyoming Legislature pass legislation to get $1.25 billion in CARES Act funds flowing

Governor Mark Gordon talks during a protest against coronavirus shutdowns at the State Capitol Building in Cheyenne on April 20, 2020. (John Roedel, CapCity)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Legislature have passed legislation that would allow $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act funding or future federal funds received to get flowing.

After moving through the legislature, the legislation will move to Governor Mark Gordon’s desk for consideration. The legislation gives the executive branch broad authority in how the funding is used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Senate Enrolled Act No. 1, $450 million of the overall $1.25 billion will be immediately available once the legislation becomes law. An additional $400 million would become available July 15 if the legislature does not enact legislation to modify the use of that funding in the interim.

The remaining funding would become available Sept. 15, pending possible changes from further legislation. The CARES Act funds received by the state must be obligated by Dec. 30.

The legislation describes four categories of priority need for use of the funding:

  • COVID-19 emergency response: funding for expenditures incurred or that will be incurred “as a direct response of combating COVID-19 in Wyoming, for which CARES Act relief funds may currently be expended”
  • Relief aid: payments to state and local programs to support businesses, families and individuals
  • Economic development projects: capital construction, road building, infrastructure, broadband and other projects aimed to offset economic impacts of COVID-19
  • Replacement of lost revenue for public entities: relied funds for state and local governments to continue providing “a base level of critical services while longer term solutions to this economic crisis can be implemented”

During the special session, the legislation was amended to allow tribal governments to possibly receive support from the funding.

The legislation was also amended to allow funding to go toward hospital capital construction costs.

Full details are available in the full text of Senate Enrolled Act No. 1.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.