The NCSL Blog


By Erica MacKellar

As states race to contain and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease, state legislatures have quickly moved to ensure health and human services agencies have the funding necessary for their work.

coronavirusSeveral states have introduced supplemental appropriation bills in the last few days to provide additional funding to departments on the front lines of the outbreak.

Six states—Alabama, Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York—have enacted legislation to provide additional funds for purposes relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bills are making their way through the legislative process in six more states—Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska Utah and Washington. In most cases, the funding has been appropriated from state general funds, but legislation enacted in Arizona and Maryland and proposed in Washington authorize transfers from budget stabilization accounts.

A brief overview of the enacted legislation is below, and you can view a full list of legislation on our website.

  • Alabama: HB 186 appropriates $5 million from the state’s general fund to the Department of Public Health to be used for preparedness and response activities relating to the coronavirus.
  • Arizona: SB 1051 appropriates a total of $55 million from the state’s budget stabilization fund to the public health emergencies fund. The director of the department of health services must notify the joint legislative budget committee before spending the funds, and any unspent funds will revert back to the budget stabilization fund.
  • Maryland: SB 1079 allows the governor to transfer by budget amendment up to $50 million from the revenue stabilization account to fund costs associated with the coronavirus disease. The governor is required to provide the Legislative Policy Committee seven days to review before transferring funds, and within 60 days of the release of funds, the Department of Budget and Management must submit a report to the Legislative Policy Committee and the General Assembly on the use of the funds.
  • Massachusetts: HB 4502 appropriates $95,000 for the Executive Office of Education to contain, treat and prevent the coronavirus. The bill requires a report to the legislature by June 1, 2020, with recommendations if additional funds or actions are needed. HB 4561 appropriates $15 million from the general fund for the fiscal year 2020 to provide for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects.
  • Minnesota: SB 3813 provides a one-time appropriation of $20,889,000 from the general fund to the public health response contingency account to respond to a potential outbreak of the coronavirus disease. Requires all federal funds received by the commissioner of health and preparedness in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to be appropriated in the fiscal year in which it is received. Includes reporting requirements for the use of these federal funds to the Legislative Advisory Commission.  
  • New York: SB 7919 temporarily expands the definition of disaster in state law to include disease outbreak and permits the governor to issue any directive necessary to respond to a state disaster emergency. Makes a $40 million appropriation from the State Purpose Account of the general fund for responding to the outbreak.

NCSL continues to monitor several aspects of state responses to the coronavirus outbreak, including actions relating to public health, education and the legislative institution. You can view all our current resources on our website. Read a breakdown of the federal spending bill here.

Erica MacKellar is a senior policy specialist in NCSL’s Fiscal Affairs Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.