May 21, 2020 |

Governor Mark Gordon said yesterday he is happy with the three bills the legislature passed during the special session this past weekend. The governor signed them into law with few changes last night.

The legislation sets up a variety of relief programs, including $325 million in rapid assistance for businesses. None of the vetoes will affect the amount of money in any of the programs. In some cases, the vetoes give the governor greater flexibility.

House Bill 1004 lays out a time for distributing the grant money, starting with an initially outlay of $450 million. Governor Gordon said he has tweaked the language in the bill to allow his office more control over the levers as the money rolls out because needs might change.

A second veto applies to the $50 million business interruption stipend program. The governor lowered the threshold so grant money can now be accessed by small businesses with losses of less than $20,000.

Lowering the threshold below $20,000, as originally set by the legislature, will give businesses still hurting after receiving PPP money a shot at securing a state grant. The Wyoming Business Council will oversee the distribution of all business grants.

Josh Dorrell is the CEO of the Wyoming Business Council. Dorrell said he wants to make the process of applying for a grant as simple as possible. He’s also working to put in safeguards against fraud and abuse.

The legislation will also help renters avoid evictions. SF 1004 includes $15 million in rent and mortgage assistance to Wyoming residents who lost jobs or wages because of COVID-related employment downturns. The Wyoming Community Development Association will administer that program.

All of the programs established by the legislature during the special session are funded with the $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act money that the state received from Washington.

None of the relief programs existed two weeks ago, but the first of the grant money for businesses is expected to be available the during the first week of June.




Photo courtesy of Governor Mark Gordon.

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