Sinema’s bill ensures all 310 special districts across Arizona have access to critical coronavirus relief funding
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Republican Senator John Cornyn (Texas), and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act—legislation ensuring Arizona fire, sewage, water, power public utilities, flood control, and public health special districts are eligible to receive future federal coronavirus relief. This bicameral legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman John Garamendi.
“Arizona’s special districts safeguard Arizonans from deadly fires, manage our water security, and help protect public health. These local entities must receive a fair share of coronavirus relief in future legislative packages,” said Sinema.
“We are thankful that Senator Sinema and her team understand the importance of the services provided by America’s Fire Districts who were omitted in the CARES Act. It is great to work with a team who’s forward thinking will help to ensure these agencies have access to funds that will help to solidify the stability of emergency response systems,” said Scott A Freitag, Fire Chief, Central Arizona Fire and Medical, President, Arizona Fire Chiefs Association.
“Texans keeping our lights on and water running, or serving others as firefighters and public health workers, deserve additional support during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Cornyn. “By giving them the resources they need, we can ensure they’re able to continue providing the essential services our communities rely on.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities in California and across the nation, we must ensure that special districts, which can provide critical services such as firefighting, energy and water, healthcare, transportation, and recreation, have access to coronavirus relief funding,” said Harris. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act–– our bill will give special districts the federal assistance they need to provide critical services to their communities during this uncertain time.”
Special districts are self-governing political subdivisions of states that provide public services such as fire protection and water sanitation. There are 310 special districts across Arizona, and they were ineligible for direct federal financial assistance under the CARES Act. Sinema’s Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act ensures that special districts are eligible for future financial assistance, and will provide them access to the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility.
The Arizona Fire Districts Association, the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, the Arizona County Treasurers Association, the National Water Resources Association, and the Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona all support Sinema’s Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act.