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Gov. Abbott signs bill allocating $16B in American Rescue Plan Funding across Texas

SB 8 allocated critical funding for various state resources and programs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) from the third special legislative session, allocating nearly $16 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding awarded to the State of Texas earlier this year.

SB 8 allocated critical funding for various state resources and programs, including:

  • $7.2 billion to the Unemployment Compensation Fund to pay back outstanding advances and to bring the balance of the fund to the statutory floor
  • $500.475 million for broadband infrastructure
  • $150 million for the deployment and reliable operations of next generation 911 service including equipment and administration costs
  • $180 million for tourism, travel and the hospitality industry recovery (for those who have not received federal aid)
  • $160 million to address the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) shortfall affecting Crime Victims Assistance grants
  • $2 billion for state and local hospital surge staffing, antibody therapeutic drugs and the operation of regional antibody infusion centers
  • $378.3 million for critical staffing needs of frontline workers including recruitment and retention bonuses for nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home health facilities, community attendants and emergency medical services providers
  • $75 million to support rural hospitals that have been affected by COVID-19
  • $113 million to support the operations and expansion of mental health services for Texas children and families
  • $35 million to upgrade all nine Texas State Veteran Homes, along with negative pressure COVID-19 wards and mobile high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration units for the homes
  • $95 million for supplemental funding to food banks in response to COVID-19

"Senate Bill 8 allocates federal funding to support Texans in need, including our veterans, rural communities, small businesses and frontline workers," said Gov. Abbott in a release on Monday. "Allocating these federal funds paves the way for a more prosperous, brighter future for all Texans, and I want to thank my partners in the Legislature for bringing this bill to my desk."

Gov. Abbott included a filling statement while signing the bill to clarify SB 8 does not lead to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Texas.

"Senate Bill No. 8 from the 87th Legislature, Third Called Session, appropriates funds made available to the State of Texas under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Pub. L. No. 117-2," reads the statement. "The Texas Attorney General has advised that the State’s receipt and use of these so-called 'ARPA Funds' does not legally lead to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Texas. Based on this understanding, I signed and approved this bill."

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