Gordon signs three CARES Act related bills to get $1.25 billion in Wyoming COVID-19 assistance flowing - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Gordon signs three CARES Act related bills to get $1.25 billion in Wyoming COVID-19 assistance flowing

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (Wyoming Legislature, Youtube)

CASPER, Wyo. —Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed three pieces of legislation into law on Wednesday, May 20 which relate to the use of $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act funding received by the state.

While Gordon signed the legislation, he issued two line item vetoes for aspects of House Bill 1004, a bill that will create three COVID-19 relief programs for businesses in Wyoming.

House Bill 1004 along with Senate File 1001 and Senate File 1002 were passed during the Wyoming Legislature’s special session May 15-16.

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“Senate File 1001 gives the Governor further flexibility to spend the $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding through three allotments,” Gordon’s office explained. “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 creates a $50 million Wyoming Business Interruption Stipend Program aimed at businesses with 50 employees or less impacted by COVID-19. Grants up to $50,000 will be available.

The bill also creates a $225 million Coronavirus Business Relief Stipend Program aimed to help businesses with up to 100 employees. That program has a maximum grant amount of $300,000.

The third relief program created by the bill is a $50 million Coronavirus Mitigation Stipend Program. That program aims to help reimburse businesses of any size who incurred direct COVID-19 related expenses such as the purchase of personal protective equipment. That program offers grants up to $500,000.

Gordon vetoed two aspects of that bill using his line-item veto authority which applies to legislation that includes multiple appropriations.

“The first addresses the timing of the allocation of funds,” Gordon said. “Under the bill as written, the Legislature appropriated $325 million for these business relief programs, but required the entire appropriation be applied to the initial $450 million. This would limit the Governor’s flexibility to address other urgent needs prior to July 15.”

“The second line-item veto removes 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.”

Further details of House Bill 1004 are available in Governor’s veto letter. He also penned a letter addressing Senate Files 1001 and 1002.

The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:

What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: covid@cnchd.org

  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.