FAQs: April 24 COVID-19 Virtual Policy & Action Update

During our 4/24 Policy and Action Update Webinar, participants asked questions regarding policy and advocacy:

Federal Updates
Q: Are there any guardrails on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) replenishment to ensure more funds get to small businesses?

A: Last week Congress passed CARES Act 1.5, which included a replenishment of funds for the Paycheck Protection Program ($310 billion) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program ($60 billion). Congress included a provision that $60 billion of the PPP replenishment funds be set aside for smaller banking institutions (i.e credit unions and community banks). The hope is that smaller banking institutions will channel funds to smaller businesses and nonprofits.

Q: I heard that CARES 1.5 included a set-aside of $6B for museums. Is that true?

A: The CARES Act 1.5 did not include additional funds for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Institute of Museums and Library Services.The New England Aquarium as set up an action alert to ask your member of congress to support $6 billion in funds for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Send a quick email to your member of Congress asking for their support.

State Updates
Q: How do recently filed legislation (that are currently in the House and Senate) impact nonprofits?

A: MASSCreative works to monitor bills filed in both the House and the Senate. Last week Rep. McMurtry and Rep. Elugardo filed HD5042 ‘An Act assisting non-profits to provide for COVID-19 unemployment benefits.’ This bill will make it possible for thousands of nonprofits in every region of the Commonwealth to financially survive the pandemic. Send a quick email to your State Representative in support of this bill today.
As more legislation is filed, we will continue to communicate with you, our advocacy partners, on how to engage.

Q: Given school closures, the state is investing in online learning tools and curriculum that do not seem to include the arts, focused heavily on STEM. Is there any opportunity for arts and culture to participate?

A: MASSCreative is a member of the Arts for All Coalition. We recently released a set of in-school arts education COVID-19 policy recommendations to address the needs of students and arts educators. We hope to have opportunities for advocacy on these recommendations soon.

Q: Can you share updates on how to apply for Unemployment Insurance if you have both 1099 and W2 income and are currently receiving UI from lost W2 income -- how can the UI system acknowledge ALL our lost income by adding the two forms together?

A: Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts has put together several useful info sheets and recorded webinars on how to apply for unemployment as a W-2 and/or a 1099 worker. In addition, they are offering one on one technical assistance. Please schedule a 15 minute call today.

Additional Areas of Interest
Q: Can you help work with acting unions and licensing agents to create alternative performance platforms? i.e. opening up materials for staged readings, or video taping performances to live stream or present at a later time.

A: There are examples of great partnerships between performing arts unions and organizations allowing for alternative platforms for performances due to COVID-19.
Please reach out to those unions directly for more information:
Actors Equity: https://www.actorsequity.org/aboutequity/Contact/
Stage Directors and Choreography Society: https://sdcweb.org/
American Guild of Musical Artists: https://www.musicalartists.org/
American Federation of Musicians: https://www.afm.org/

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