LITTLE ROCK — Members of the Arkansas Legislature voted on Friday afternoon to delay COVID relief aid to northwest Arkansas. The already approved federal dollars are intended to address the spike in cases in Marshallese and Latinx communities. The Arkansas Legislative Council voted 14-9 to delay hearing the state Department of Health’s plan for $7 million in spending authority to get federal COVID relief dollars to Northwest Arkansas Council’s Health Care Transformation Division for testing and contact tracing.
“It’s ridiculous and sad that Arkansas’s elected leaders are choosing to delay sending COVID relief funds to northwest Arkansas.” said DPA Chairman Michael John Gray. “It’s a slap in the face to the Marshallese and Latinx communities that have been hardest hit by COVID. While members of these communities are worried about their lives, lawmakers are worried about getting home early on Friday. Surely we can do better than this.”