Legislature considers pandemic relief measures. First hearings scheduled for this afternoon.

The “early relief” bills introduces by House Democrats Friday are scheduled for a hearing today in the House Appropriations Committee.    HB 1367 and HB 1368 would, as the Washington Research Council reports

appropriate $2.589 billion from state and local funds ($164.3 million from the rainy day fund and $2.425 billion in federal funds). Of that, $403.6 million had previously been allocated by the governor, as described below. The net increase in appropriations would be $2.185 billion.

WRC senior analyst Emily Makings writes,

HB 1367 would fund temporary COVID-19 rate enhancements for long-term care providers using $164.3 million from the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund) and $239.4 million from the enhanced federal match for Medicaid (FMAP, enacted Mar. 18, 2020). This is a policy for which Gov. Inslee had previously allocated $403.6 million from the state’s share of the coronavirus relief fund (CRF, enacted Mar. 27, 2020). Thus, this bill would free up $403.6 million that would be used for other purposes in HB 1368….

Note that HB 1367 does not include language specifying that the appropriation from the BSA doesn’t alter the requirement to balance over four years…

HB 1368 would appropriate money from the general fund–federal (GFF). This includes $70.0 million from the enhanced FMAP, $411.7 million from the CRF (offset by the use of other funds in lieu of the CRF in HB 1367), $1.604 billion from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA, enacted Dec. 27, 2020), and $100.0 million in unspecified GFF dollars.

Makings details how the funds would be distributed and contrasts the Democrats’ proposal with an earlier proposal from GOP Rep. Drew Stokesbary

More on legislative pandemic relief proposals in The Seattle Times.