Gov. Inslee signs $2.2 billion COVID relief package

Photo credit Gage Skidmore under CC-BY-SA-2.0

On February 19, Governor Inslee signed House Bill 1368, releasing $2.2 billion worth of COVID relief for increasing vaccination administrations, school and business reopenings, and assisting low income families with rent, food, and child care costs. About the legislation, Inslee said, “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. 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.”

 The federal funding for this bill comes from a combination of the Consolidated Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, and the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. A further breakdown of how the funds are allocated shows that the majority of the money is going towards assistance for K-12 schools and the public health response to COVID, including testing, contact tracing, and vaccination efforts. While the bill includes an emergency clause, meaning the money should be available immediately, the funds will likely not be available until March, according to David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management.