February 19, 2021

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – February 19, 2021

Happy Friday, folks. Welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck!” As a reminder, your favorite newsletter comes out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

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

We want this to be helpful, so let us 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.

COVID-19 response:

Emergency declarations:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS extended the State of Civil Emergency through March 18, 2021.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY extended the Public Health Emergency that was first declared on March 9, 2020, for 30 days.

Vaccine distribution:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that his administration is partnering with Health Equity Solutions on an outreach program to ensure the state makes contact with as many people as possible with information about the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly among communities that have historically been disproportionately impacted in access to health care.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT, the Mohegan Tribe, and Yale New Haven Health System announced plans to open a large-scale community vaccination site at Mohegan Sun.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the launch of three additional state-supported mass vaccination sites in southern and central Illinois. Two vaccination sites will operate in Carbondale and one site will provide vaccines in Springfield. The state will also deploy additional Illinois National Guard mobile vaccination teams to stand up mobile sites in Sangamon and Jackson Counties.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced new steps to address data reporting issues that to date have inaccurately identified the number of individuals vaccinated for COVID-19 in Kansas. To address this gap, the State will be implementing a series of policies – in partnership with enrolled health care providers — to help solve the vaccine administration gap, beginning next week.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the state is opening an additional 28 vaccination sites, for a total of 291 sites across the commonwealth.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that beginning Monday, February 22, an additional group of Louisianans – K-12 teachers, school support staff, daycare staff, those who are pregnant, and Louisianans aged 55 to 64 with certain health conditions – are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that Minnesotans have received more than one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In all, 728,081 Minnesotans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 286,543 had completed the two-dose series. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced the launch of the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, a tool that helps all Minnesotans find out when, where, and how to get their COVID-19 vaccine. The Vaccine Connector is the next step of the state’s vaccination strategy to meet Minnesotans where they are and connect them to vaccine opportunities, no matter where they live or their personal circumstances.
  • NEVADA’s Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Analytics announced additional metrics to be included on the COVID-19 vaccine dashboard. The enhancements, to provide data on trends and demographics, will mirror other categories of data included on the Dashboard.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that the state has administered almost two million doses of vaccine. The state continues to make progress in the equity of vaccine distribution. Last week, 23% of doses were administered to black North Carolinians, up from just 13% five weeks ago. Winter weather was expected to cause a delay in shipments. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM invited Virginians to pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine online at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA. The Commonwealth’s new, centralized system allows individuals to easily pre-register for the free vaccine, confirm that they are on the waitlist, and learn more about Virginia’s vaccination program.

Reopening efforts:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY signed a modification to the Omnibus Emergency Order that increases gathering limits for indoor events with restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced updated visitation protocols in some of the state’s long-term care facilities. Indoor visitation will resume for non-Medicare-certified facilities that have been through the vaccination process: that includes assisted living facilities, personal care homes, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and independent living facilities. Group activities, communal dining, and visitation amongst vaccinated residents will resume. Visitors need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the visit or of a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Schools and students:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM issued a statement regarding efforts to safely reopen schools in California saying that while the legislature’s proposal “represents a step in the right direction, it doesn’t go far enough or fast enough.”
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that programs that received funding for remote learning are eligible to apply for extensions to support the continuation of online education through Spring 2021. The Remote Learning Grant program will continue to help address learning and supervision needs of school-age children who are not able to attend in-person school due to the pandemic.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ updated Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan to allow more middle and high school students to return to the classroom. Beginning February 22, all middle and high school students can return to the classroom for hybrid or in-person learning. The governor expects all schools to offer their students some form of in-person learning by March 8.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN issued a statement on the return to in-person learning saying that, in the last eight weeks, Oregon has more than doubled the number of students learning in-person, to 116,749. Starting next month, even more school districts across Oregon will begin returning elementary students to the classroom for hybrid instruction––including the second-largest school district, Salem-Keizer, with over 17,000 elementary students. By the end of April, most elementary students in Oregon will be learning in classrooms again.

Business support:

  • MICHIGANGov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that nearly 6,000 small businesses across Michigan have been awarded $52.5 million through Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program.    
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS signed legislation that will provide approximately $450 million in tax relief to Wisconsin businesses and $30 million more in tax relief to low-income families by adopting federal changes to align state tax law. 

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order requiring hospitals and freestanding emergency departments that have reached capacity or are reasonably anticipated to reach capacity to notify the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and providing CDPHE with authority to direct those facilities to cease admitting new patients and/or transfer patients.
  • PENNSYLVANIA First Lady Frances WOLF addressed mental health, trauma, and equity during COVID-19 in a virtual conversation hosted on Facebook. 

Worker support:

  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS released a statement following action by the Wisconsin State Senate on the governor’s special session legislation to modernize Wisconsin’s antiquated unemployment system, saying “it’s not enough but at least it’s a step in the right direction.” 

Relief packages:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM and legislative leadership announced that they have reached an agreement on a package of immediate actions that will speed needed relief to individuals, families, and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship from the COVID-19 Recession. The compromise builds on the initiatives in the governor’s state budget proposal to provide cash relief to lower-income Californians, increase aid to small businesses, and provide license renewal fee waivers to businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition to these measures, the agreement provides tax relief for businesses, commits additional resources for critical child care services, and funds emergency financial aid for community college students.

Travel restrictions:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced that Canada will not require COVID-19 testing for Point Roberts residents who travel through Canada for essential services. Land access to Point Roberts, located south of Vancouver, B.C., on the Tsawwassen Peninsula, is only possible via a 25-mile trip through British Columbia. 

Other efforts:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that nearly $27 million in grants has been awarded to 34 municipal and county governments in North Carolina. The federal funds are being distributed through the Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus program to assist local governments with subsistence payments to prevent evictions and utility disconnections in their communities.In addition to public utilities and rent assistance, the funds will also provide public facilities support with broadband, communications, and the rehabilitation of buildings as well as financial assistance to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees and micro-enterprises with no more than five employees.

Beyond COVID-19 

Severe weather:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that President Biden approved his request for a federal emergency declaration for all 64 Louisiana parishes impacted by the severe and historic winter weather. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration approved his request to extend the deadline for survivors of Tropical Storm Isaias to apply for low-interest loans from SBA until March 18, 2021.

State of the State addresses:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS delivered his 2021 State of the State address. 

State budgets:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER proposed his third balanced budget, closing nearly $1 billion in corporate tax loopholes and holding overall state spending flat while strengthening the social safety net.  The proposed budget does not increase income taxes for hardworking Illinois families. The administration proposes significant government efficiencies, as well as strategically maximizing federal dollars and bending the cost curve of government through flat spending. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that she will deliver a virtual State of the Budget Address on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at 7:00 p.m ET.
  • MICHIGAN’s Poverty Task Force released a report that urges new state policies to tackle root causes of poverty, bring opportunity to more Michiganders.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced his Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Address will stream online and via social media at 1:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced his 2021-2023 biennial budget, laying out his Badger Bounceback agenda to help make sure Wisconsin can bounce back from this pandemic and better than before. Several components of the governor’s proposal have received bipartisan praise and support from members of the State Legislature and advocacy groups.

Opioid crisis:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS’ administration commended the Maine Office of the Attorney General’s release of new monthly reports on fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses in Maine. These more detailed monthly updates will replace quarterly assessments and fulfill a goal of the State’s Opioid Response Strategic Plan, which calls for more timely and transparent data in order to identify trends and allocate resources faster in response to drug overdoses. The new monthly reports also include non-fatal overdoses, ensuring greater attention on Maine people and communities at high-risk of drug overdoses, and accelerating efforts to assist them in seeking substance use treatment, counseling, or pursuing other harm reduction strategies.

Education:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services is partnering with Paxis Institute to utilize funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Relief Grant Program and the Mental Health Block Technical Assistance Grant to offer training programs that will assist educators in providing a nurturing learning environment for children with behavioral issues.

Climate change:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT outlined key legislative proposals he is introducing for the 2021 regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly to adapt to the very real and unavoidable impacts of climate change, mitigate the sources and impacts of climate change beyond 2050, and prioritize the most vulnerable communities. Many of the proposals implement recommendations of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change for near-term climate action, delivered to the governor in January 2021.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced accelerated plans to help local governments and state agencies build at least 40 distributed solar systems that will generate renewable energy while bringing reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy to surrounding communities. The 40 projects will help meet a newly announced New York Power Authority 2025 community solar target that sets a goal of 75 megawatts of renewable capacity that includes 15 MW of paired battery storage, enough energy to offset the emissions of 2,572  cars. These projects are expected to stimulate more than $135 million in direct, private investments toward their development, construction, and operation, and create more than 1,250 short-term and long-term jobs.

Community development:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority has approved 12 grant requests to local governments totaling $4,566,930. The requests include commitments to create a total of 439 jobs, 64 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $60 million in private investment.   

Workforce development:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania in York County was approved for $200,000 in funding through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing Training-to-Career program, a program that helps bring awareness to careers and opportunities within the state’s manufacturing industry and supports companies in identifying and training a skilled workforce through targeted programs and services.

Infrastructure:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the awarding of $13.5 million for 18 projects selected for inclusion in its Transportation Alternatives program for Federal Fiscal Year 2022-23.

Economic development:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that Crown Equipment Corporation, a global lift truck manufacturer, expects to create more than 130 new jobs in Lenoir County.

Other efforts:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that more than $37.2 million in federal highway safety grants have been awarded to 502 programs throughout New York State during the federal FY 2021. 
  • OREGON will have access to ShakeAlert, an earthquake early warning system powered by the U.S. Geological Survey, as of 10 a.m. on March 11. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has designated Fort Monroe as a Site of Memory Associated with the UNESCO Slave Route project. 

Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. See you all on Monday!