Legislators vote to provide one-time $250 stipen to front-line workers during COVID stay-at-home order

Also to protect schools and colleges against lawsuits that could arise if students or staff-members contract virus

By Kathleen Peppo
LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE--Legislators voted Monday to provide one-time payments of $250 to front-line workers during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order and to protect schools and colleges against lawsuits that could arise if students or staff-members contract the virus.

The $250 stipend passed by unanimous votes in both chambers. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sam Jenkins, D-Shreveport, now makes its way to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has already voiced his support.

Under the bill, up to 200,000 public and private workers will be eligible to receive a check. To apply, the worker must make $50,000 a year or less. He or she also must have worked at least 200 hours in an essential job, such as in a grocery store or a nursing home or as a first responder, while the stay-at-home order was in effect from March 22 to May 14.

The bill will use $50 million of the state’s $1.8 billion in federal coronavirus aid funds.

In response to the financial crisis created by the COVID-19 shutdown, Republican lawmakers slated $300 million of the federal relief dollars to provide grants for Louisiana businesses and $565 million to provide aid to local governments.

The bill takes $25 million from the business relief appropriation and $25 million from the government relief appropriation to be able to give $50 million of the relief dollars to people who had to come into contact with the public during a time when officials advised citizens that doing so could result in contracting the virus.

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