April 27, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – April 27, 2020

Good Monday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still reminding you what day of the week it is, 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.

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 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.

Regional efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that their respective states will join CALIFORNIAOREGON, and WASHINGTON in the Western States Pact — a working group of Western state governors with a shared vision for modifying stay at home and fighting COVID-19. 

Stay at home orders:

  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE extended the state’s stay at home order through May 31st. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER extended the state’s stay at home order through May 15th. 

Reopening efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order outlining the new “safer at home” level for the state’s response. Among major benchmarks, starting today, retail businesses can open for curbside delivery, starting Friday, personal services can open if they are implementing best practices, and on May 4th, offices can reopen at a 50 percent reduced in-person staffing capacity but are still encouraged to allow employees to telecommute. Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following Safer at Home requirements. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the website HealthyAtWork.ky.gov is being regularly updated to make the reopening process more clear. The administration is also continuing to talk with mayors, county judge-executives, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and local chambers.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO outlined a phased plan to re-open New York and re-imagine a new normal for the state starting with construction and manufacturing. The plan will be implemented in phases and will be based on regional analysis and determinations. Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate they may begin a phased re-opening. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF laid out additional details on the Department of Health metrics that will be used to define the target goal for reopening. The goal has been set at having fewer than 50 new confirmed cases per 100,000 population reported to the department in the previous 14 days. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM outlined the “Forward Virginia” blueprint, which will help guide the Commonwealth on when to safely begin easing public health restrictions. The blueprint includes a phased approach that is grounded in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and has specific goals to contain the spread of the virus through increased testing, personal protective equipment and supplies, and medical capacity.

Elections:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR signed an executive order allowing all Kentuckians who are registered to vote for the upcoming primary to vote by mail through an absentee ballot.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued an executive order mandating that the New York State Board of Elections automatically mail every New Yorker a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot for the June 23rd primary election
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed an executive order canceling the June 23rd special elections for four vacancies in the state Legislature. The Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections voted to cancel the state’s June 23rd Democratic presidential primary
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM moved the state’ s May general and special elections from May 5th to May 19th and the June primary elections from June 9th to June 23rd.

Business operations:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER issued an executive order establishing additional requirements for food establishments and pharmacies to reduce exposure for both customers and employees. 

Schools:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced that schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order allowing medical, dental, and veterinary voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to start to resume as long as the health care facility or other setting is following the required safety protocols. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order allowing Medicaid-enrolled providers to perform telehealth through audio-only methods for new patients.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending and expanding a previous order which relaxes scope of practice laws to give hospitals and other health care facilities the flexibility they need to deploy qualified physicians, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, nurses, and other health care providers the ability to give the critical care needed to combat COVID-19.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order authorizing certain out-of-state healthcare professionals to provide aid in Minnesota during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced a new Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund for private providers. For the next month, this fund will provide temporary pay increases for low-wage frontline workers at eligible Medicaid-funded residential facilities.

Testing:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ unveiled a new website to help Minnesotans find a testing location within their community. The website provides easy access to Minnesotans’ closest testing site, offers general information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and provides an interactive screening tool to help Minnesotans determine if they need a test.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced expanded diagnostic testing criteria to allow all first responders, health care workers and essential employees to be tested for COVID-19 even if they aren’t symptomatic. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued an executive order allowing pharmacists to conduct COVID-19 testing.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is continuing to conduct antibody testing for frontline health care workers, including at four hospitals and health care systems in New York City.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state has received a shipment of 20,000 antibody tests that are now going through the validation process. In the coming weeks, the state will work with experts at Brown University and the Rhode Island Blood Center to test a random population sample and collect information about the prevalence of the virus.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the RIDOH is creating a Rhode Island COVID-19 Testing and Validation Task Force to help analyze and draw conclusions from antibody testing data.

PPE / medical supplies:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that his administration is partnering with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and its affiliate CONNSTEP on an initiative to distribute free face coverings to eligible, essential small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Eligible businesses include those defined as essential businesses by the Department of Economic and Community Development. 
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued a modification to his state of emergency declaration requiring Delawareans to wear face coverings in public settings, including in grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and on public transportation. Businesses must require employees to wear face coverings as well, and must provide employees with face coverings and hand sanitizer at the business expense.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER issued an executive order requiring people to wear face coverings when entering enclosed public spaces. 

Worker support:

  • KANSAS’ Department of Labor launched a Spanish language feature of the GetKansasBenefits.gov website. 

Family support:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the state received federal approval today for its plan to provide $72.3 million in SNAP benefits to children eligible for the free and reduced-price meals program. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order allowing Minnesotans to obtain and maintain access to essential services regardless of whether they receive COVID-19 assistance.

Renter / homeowner / housing support:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order allowing tenants to direct their landlords to use their security deposits to offset rent or back rent. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced an administrative order protecting access to hotels and motels for individuals without safe, permanent housing. Individuals protected under the order include, but are not limited to homeless individuals, individuals affected by domestic violence, and individuals in hotels or motels in compliance with a court order.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that more than 20 financial institutions in RI have pledged the following relief to their residential borrowers: a 90-day grace period for all residential mortgage payments for individuals impacted by COVID-19, with the opportunity to request additional relief; an agreement to not report late payments to credit reporting agencies for residential borrowers who take advantage of this relief; A 60-day moratorium on initiating residential foreclosures and evictions; and an agreement to waive mortgage-related late fees.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state will be making available $1.5M in rental assistance for low income Rhode Islanders across the state.

Domestic violence prevention:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that, in the face of a dangerous uptick of domestic violence incidents,  the immediate modernization of the state’s domestic violence hotline with a new text program and confidential online service to aid victims of abuse and provide potential lifesaving ways to get help. 

Response task forces:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order creating the New Normal Advisory Board which will advise the governor and CDPHE on coordinating and harmonizing policies and rules designed to maximize social distancing during the Safer at Home phase. The Board will focus particularly on how local jurisdictions and local public health agencies can coordinate with the state on public education efforts that aim to maximize compliance and enforcement efforts. 
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that he is making $500,000 from the Governor’s COVID-19 Response Fund available to the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Taskforce to examine the causes and possible solutions to the high rate of deaths from the coronavirus within Louisiana’s African-American community and other impacted populations.
  • NEW MEXICO’s All Together NM Fund announced that it has awarded $400,000 in grants to five food banks that serve communities – including tribal communities – across the state. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced business and industry leaders who will participate in the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Business Task Force, which will continue to provide advice and guidance to the Cabinet on a safe, responsible strategy for easing restrictions on businesses and individuals.

Public communication:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced a new website, RIArts.org, to connect artists with available resources and provide Rhode Islanders with an up-to-date list of virtual performances happening in the state.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced a series of initiatives to support vulnerable older Californians who are isolating at home by launching a first-in-the nation meal delivery program, a partnership to make wellness check-in calls, and the expansion of Friendship Line California to help combat social isolation. These actions will support the approximately 1.2 million Californians over the age of 65 who live alone.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR commuted an additional 352 sentences to help lower the prison population in the state to combat the spread of COVID-19.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Kentucky has received more than $450,000 in funding to provide prevention, preparedness and response assistance to non-profit arts organizations throughout the commonwealth as part of the federal CARES Act.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Kentucky’s local public safety agencies and eligible local governments can apply for part of more than $9 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHIMTER signed an executive order extending protections for vulnerable populations in Michigan’s county jails, local lockups and juvenile detention centers during the ongoing pandemic.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order allowing shareholders for Minnesota companies flexibility related to virtual or telephone annual meetings, helping companies to avoid gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed two executive orders extending and expanding weight-related exemptions for trucks transporting agriculture-related material.
  • MONTANA’s Board of Crime Control will be taking applications for $3.1 million in Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding received from the U.S. Department of Justice. The funding is intended to assist city, county and tribal governments, state agencies, nonprofit agencies, and for-profit agencies in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!