April 14, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – April 14, 2020

Good Tuesday 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.

Elections:

  • TOMORROW Wednesday, April 15, at 3:00 PM ET – DGA’s Every State, Every Vote co-chairs OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN and Stacey Abrams will join Stand Up America Founder and President Sean Eldridge on a press call to urge Congress to immediately provide $4 billion in election assistance funding for states to protect voters’ rights during the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the media interested in joining the call should RSVP to Ryan Thomas at ryan@standupamerica.com.

Regional action:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM, OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN, and WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONTDELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY, NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHYNEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMOPENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF, and RHODE ISLAND Governor Gina RAIMONDO, announced the creation of a multi-state council to restore the economy and get people back to work.

Emergency declarations:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ extended the state’s peacetime emergency for 30 days.  

Federal requests:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, urging the coordination of a nationwide strategy to increase the amount of food available to emergency food programs and to address gaps in the food supply chain. 

Schools:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced a dramatic expansion of Virtual Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education’s existing online learning system, to allow every teacher to host virtual classes while schools are closed. These resources include a platform that enables all Virginia public school teachers to share lessons and activities with their students through June 30. 

Business operations:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order tasking the Michigan Liquor Control Commission with initiating a spirits buy-back program to offer financial relief to bars and restaurants with on-premises liquor licenses affected by restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending previously signed executive orders confirming that various places of public accommodation remain closed to the public for the time being and that restaurants must continue to limit service to carry-out and delivery orders.
  • OREGON’s OSHA will begin systematically conducting spot checks to verify that employers are complying with requirements – including closures to the public – aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced businesses that collect Pennsylvania sales tax will not have to make Accelerated Sales Tax prepayments over the next three months. That means businesses that normally have a monthly prepayment requirement will not be charged penalties for missing the prepayment deadline during this three-month period. 

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state will begin releasing all available race and ethnicity data on reported cases of COVID-19 in the state. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ is challenging the state to reach the capacity of 5,000 tests per day within the next few weeks so that everyone who wants a test can be tested.
  • NEVADA’s Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Analytics launched a new data dashboard focused on confirmed cases in skilled nursing, assisted living facilities. The dashboard is available on the Nevada Health Response website.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM released new infectious disease modeling designed in partnership with researchers from the University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute and the nonprofit RAND Corporation showing the impact of COVID-19 mitigations in Virginia. 

PPE / medical supplies:

  • OREGON’s Army National Guard facilitated transportation and distribution of medical personal protective equipment to all 36 counties, nine Tribal Nations, and two Tribal Health Agencies.

Homeowner / renter / homelessness relief:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS sent a letter encouraging hotel and motel owners and operators to enter into agreements to temporarily house homeless Coloradans, along with some of the state’s most vulnerable. 
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK issued a directive providing emergency rental assistance to help families with limited financial resources by creating a program to provide rental assistance to households experiencing substantial financial hardship due to COVID-19. The program will also include relief funds specifically for households with children eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Worker support:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER outlined the state’s efforts to expand access and eligibility to unemployment insurance including increased capacity on the website and the call center as well as filed emergency rules to ease eligibility requirements, waived the waiting week for claimants, acted quickly to implement Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation giving high-risk workers the right to protect themselves from COVID-19 without jeopardizing their employment status or loss of income. The proclamation provides older workers and those with underlying health conditions a series of rights and protections, including the choice of an alternative work assignment like telework if possible and the ability to use any accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work assignment is not feasible and the employee is unable to safely work. Employers must maintain health insurance benefits while high risk employees are off the job and employers are prohibited from permanently replacing high-risk employees.

Family support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced $42 million in new investments to protect foster youth and families. The investments include making more than $27 million available to help families stay together, nearly $7 million to support social workers, and $3 million to support Family Resource Centers. 
  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Social Services announced the allocation of over $3.8 million in federal food assistance to two of the state’s largest food banks.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order prohibiting cable and telecommunications providers from terminating Internet and voice service due to nonpayment until 30 days after the current public health emergency has ended. The order also mandates that all service downgrades, service reductions, or late fees due to nonpayment are prohibited unless they are imposed in accordance with a policy approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Additionally, any Internet or voice service that was disconnected after March 16 due to nonpayment must be reconnected.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that Oregon will provide $8 million to the Oregon Food Bank,

Response Task Forces / Volunteer efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the nonprofit organization AdvanceCT will form a panel of experts from within the state’s medical and business community to consult and advise his administration on reopening Connecticut’s economy. 

Response funding:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR line-item vetoed parts of budget bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly to ensure he has the flexibility to continue Kentucky’s decisive response to the coronavirus pandemic. The line-item vetoes were not of specific appropriations but to language that would limit his flexibility to respond.

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS encouraged Coloradans to participate in the Colorado Face Mask Design Challenge that allows people to submit designs to be featured on the Colorado Creative Industries Facebook page and possibly produced by Colorado companies for purchase.
  • DELAWARE’s libraries across the state have created a shared Virtual Library Events Calendar to enable Delawareans to participate in library programs and storytime while at home.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending temporary relief for motor carriers from certain weight restrictions and permitting requirements to allow needed medical supplies, food shipments and other items.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHIMTER signed an executive order temporarily extending the expiration of valid driver’s licenses, state identification cards and commercial vehicle registrations that would otherwise expire during the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending previously signed executive orders providing relief from weight and other delivery-related restrictions for vehicles carrying essential supplies and allowing certain state administrative hearings to be held by video conference or phone in place of in-person hearings.
  • MONTANA’s  Historical Society is asking Montanans to fill out a survey to help pass the time and collect information for future generations and historians about this unprecedented time.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced his intention to sign into law a bill extending New Jersey’s income and corporate tax filing deadline to July 15. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced steps to protect the health of incarcerated individuals by focusing on the early release of vulnerable populations, including nonviolent individuals who are due to be released within the coming weeks and months. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!