The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved Governor Brad Little’s request to allocate an additional $1.3 million to ensure essential government services continue as the state addresses the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We want to ensure that the state will be able to essential services while allowing our State of Idaho workforce as much flexibility as possible to make the right choices for themselves and their family members and prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Little said. “The additional funds expand opportunities for employees to work remotely when necessary while continuing to deliver essential services to the citizens of Idaho.”
A total of $800,000 is set aside to ensure state workers can more easily work from home. The money will be used to purchase additional bandwidth capacity, Virtual Private Network licenses for targeted employees, virtual desktop infrastructure for IT technicians, collaborative applications to facilitate meetings and related equipment such as web cameras and microphones, among other priorities.
A total of $500,000 ensures agencies can provide employees advanced sick leave and paid administrative leave to help prevent many employees from being out sick at the same time.
The funds come in addition to the $2 million that Little and the Legislature transferred earlier this month to the governor’s Emergency Fund to help combat coronavirus in the state. Governor Little signed a state emergency declaration last week, which opened up access to more resources for Idaho to fight coronavirus. In addition, the President’s federal emergency declaration also directs billions of dollars to the states to cover costs.
Updates on Idaho’s situation and resources for the public are available at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/