April 13, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – April 13, 2020

Good Monday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still daily, and we hope you are all safe and healthy.

Questions or suggestions? Send me a note at amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy@JerusalemDemsas, and @andersonkayjay.

A different sort of week:

Because of the quickly evolving situation, we are changing this newsletter to become a daily roundup of how our states are responding to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Every day this week, we will send an overview of the actions our governors have taken the day before. We want this to be helpful, so let me know what other info/what other formats you’d like to see for these updates.

Dem Govs Get It Done:

NOTE: This is an overview of recent actions, not a comprehensive roundup of everything our incredible governors are doing. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.

Collective action:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER along with DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY, ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKERMAINE Gov. Janet MILLSMONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCKNEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHYNEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAMNORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPEROREGON Gov. Kate BROWNPENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLFVIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM, and WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to ask that the Administration reconsider its decision and take swift action to allow for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange. 

Emergency declarations:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY formally extended the State of Emergency declaration. 

Federal requests:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK  announced the approval from the U.S. Department of Defense for federal funding and authority to use the Nevada National Guard to respond to the state’s COVID-19 emergency. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced the state’s request to use emergency, non-congregate sheltering for individuals that do not have the means or ability to isolate themselves was approved by FEMA. The approval allows state, county, and local entities to be reimbursed for providing housing at hotels or motels for certain vulnerable populations.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued a letter calling on the U.S. Treasury to ensure New Yorkers do not have their stimulus payments frozen by banks or seized by creditors as soon as they arrive.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced an application has been submitted to FEMA to begin the development of a second alternative care facility.

Public gatherings:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order extending all social distancing measures, business closures, and safety measures through May 20th. 
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY released new guidance on worship services. Houses of worship must, whenever possible, conduct their activities from home or through remote audio or video services. No more than 10 individuals — including clergy, staff, and participants — may be present inside a religious facility during any service.
  • KANSAS’ Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Legislative Coordinating Council was not authorized to revoke Executive Order 20-18. The order, which prohibits mass gatherings of more than 10 people – including church services and funerals — remains in effect.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order outlining specific policies on restaurants that have remained open for takeout to limit the spread of coronavirus. 
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM amended her public health emergency order banning mass gathering, defined as five or more people, to now include houses of worship.

Elections:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS issued an executive order moving the state’s primary election from June 9th to July 14th.  

Schools:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order authorizing the commissioner of the Department of Education to temporarily defer any requirements regarding certification testing for educators deemed necessary.

Business operations:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order lifting restrictions on commercial activity in Connecticut highway rest areas and permitting food trucks to set up in these locations.  
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order requiring NJ TRANSIT to adopt policies to limit the spread of coronavirus. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that Goldman Sachs has committed $10 million for loans for small businesses in Rhode Island through a partnership with Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and with the Community Reinvestment Fund.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO signed an executive order ensuring that individual businesses that have closed as a result of COVID-19 will not be penalized for their workers accessing unemployment insurance. 

Health care:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the launch of a new Remote Patient Monitoring Program Telehealth Services and Pandemic Health Worker Programs. Pandemic Health Workers will digitally connect with members in the community who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to stay home or quarantine to protect themselves and others. PHWs will virtually visit recipients daily, deliver wellness kits that include essential tools to monitor their health, and follow-up over a 14-day period to ensure no further assistance is needed. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the launch of a free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm. Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0, or for Spanish, “HABLAR” to the same number. Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor. Individuals can also text 5-5-2-0-2-0, with key words such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on how to navigate and access supports and services.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the expansion of testing in Chicago’s South and West Sides. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the expansion of alternative housing opinions for residents who are unable to successfully self-isolate who tested positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospital-level care or for asymptomatic high-risk individuals who need social distancing as a precautionary measure. These rooms will also be available to medical professionals and first responders.
  • ILLINOIS has issued guidance to the healthcare community on their obligations to provide healthcare in an ethical, equitable and nondiscriminatory manner to people of color, people with disabilities, and all Illinoisans.
  • KANSAS Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced a partnership with Kroger Health to expand the testing capability in Kentucky with drive-through testing sites. 
  • MICHIGAN’s first alternate care facility opened in Detroit at the TCF convention center to provide critical care to COVID-19 patients. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced 13 new or expanded drive-through testing sites across Michigan as well as a new lab to speed up test results. 
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced that the state is deploying self-isolation locations with food, lodging and mental counseling for members of its health care workforce who have tested positive for the coronavirus as well as Native American communities hit hard by the virus.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued an executive order to expand eligibility of individuals to conduct antibody tests. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will create a regional testing partnership to bring mass antibody testing to scale for residents in these states.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced a new loan program – the Hospital Emergency Loan Program, or HELP – that will provide short-term financial relief to Pennsylvania’s hospitals as they prepare for the growing surge of individuals infected with COVID-19 and the economic fallout of the nationwide pandemic. 

Homeowner / renter relief:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing has awarded more than $1.9 million of emergency assistance to 19 agencies to serve low-income Coloradans in need of emergency rental and mortgage assistance.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order protecting residential renters by prohibiting evictions until July 1st, 2020 and granting an automatic 60-day grace period for rent due in April and May for tenants financially impacted by the pandemic. 
  • CONNECTICUT is converting the Connecticut Convention Center into a recovery center with the assistance of the Connecticut National Guard. 

Worker / family support:

  • ILLINOIS’ Department on Aging is distributing $7 million across the state to meet the growing demand for meal assistance by older Illinoisans impacted by the pandemic.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued an executive order directing employers to provide essential workers with cloth or surgical masks free of charge to wear when directly interacting with the public.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO signed an executive order allowing for data sharing between state agencies, granting the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training access to the tax records of every person that has applied for unemployment, speeding up their ability to process claims. It also allows for recent DLT retirees to rejoin state service and help process claims, without having to sacrifice their pensions. 

Child care:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced the release of $100 million to support child care services, and to support child care providers who are serving essential infrastructure workers and vulnerable populations and their children.

Response Task Forces / Volunteer efforts:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued a community call-to-action urging all Delaware citizens with health care and child care experience to offer their expertise. Delaware has launched an online application portal to recruit Delawareans with health care and early education credentials to fill critical positions in the health care and emergency child care workforce.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY has asked two former gubernatorial chiefs of staff to research the coronavirus’s economic impact in Delaware and begin to compile ideas on how to aid in the recovery effort once the health concerns subside.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR convened a new task force aimed at addressing concerns in Kentucky’s long-term care facilities, where residents and staffers are at elevated risk of coronavirus outbreaks.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced the creation of the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will look at how health inequities are affecting communities that are most impacted by the coronavirus.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a new partnership with the New York State Court System to create a pro bono network of volunteer lawyers to provide New Yorkers with free legal assistance. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO is working with New York’s Congressional delegation to create a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund to support health care and other frontline workers and their families who contracted COVID-19.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a new partnership with Airbnb to provide housing for frontline medical workers. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced he is creating a task force to ensure nursing homes and long-term care facilities have the resources and supplies needed to fight the spread of COVID-19.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS encouraged active and retired healthcare professionals and those who wish to help in non-clinical support positions are encouraged to sign up to volunteer through the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry. 

Public communications:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced a partnership with Nextdoor, a neighborhood social networking platform, to keep people up to date on a neighborhood level on public health updates, links to various resources, and important messages around the State of Emergency.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM outlined steps the state is taking to protect the residents and employees of skilled nursing facilities and residential care facilities including retraining nurses to support facility compliance with COVID-19 guidance, working to decompress facilities, and providing stipends to certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses and other critical staff at nursing homes to make sure their needs are met. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order suspending certain regulatory statutes concerning juvenile justice, regional centers, and behavioral health to provide the Colorado Department of Human Services with flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order implementing the medical surge plan for long-term care facilities that was announced on Wednesday to establish COVID-19 recovery centers in certain nursing homes throughout the state that will accept patients who can be discharged from acute care hospitals but are still impacted by COVID-19 infection.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order to help protect Minnesota’s first responders by sharing information between the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and 911 Dispatchers and first responders while safeguarding patient privacy.
  • OREGON’s Department of Human Services and Oregon’s Health Authority have launched a multi-agency support team to assess the needs of long-term care facilities experiencing increased COVID-19 cases and help them access resources to help prevent the spread of the virus.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM will propose an amendment to allow prisoners with one year or less on their sentence and are deemed not a risk to the public to be released sooner. The governor is asking for legislators to take up the matter as soon as the General Assembly returns later this month.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation authorizing a nursing home to transfer or discharge residents to another long term care facility, even in cases in which a resident has appealed that transfer or discharge. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation providing flexibility and relief to courts by removing certain statutory hearing deadlines and service of process requirements as it relates to protection orders, including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, extreme risk and other similar orders, to ensure access to justice for victims.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation removing restrictions on the ability to pay employees by mail, allowing for shared leave for employees who have not been exposed to the COVID-19 but cannot telework and cannot come into the office due to the “Stay Home – Stay Health” order, and waiving the requirement that an employee cannot carry over 240 hours of accrued vacation time on their anniversary date, as there are employees who cannot use leave due to participation in activities related to the state’s response.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!