January 13, 2021

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – January 13, 2021

Just another uneventful Wednesday in the nation’s capital. To keep things interesting, here is 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, 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:

Vaccine distribution:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar requesting permission to directly purchase up to 100,000 doses of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the State of Michigan. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced five state-run vaccination sites have begun accepting appointments and are scheduled to open this week.

Mitigation efforts:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS  extended his modified Phase 2 order, keeping COVID mitigation measures in place for another 28 days, and strongly recommended that all businesses in Louisiana move to remote work for as many employees as possible, as COVID cases and hospitalizations surge in Louisiana. The governor’s statewide mask mandate also stays in place.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced updates to county risk levels under the state’s new public health framework to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19. 

Schools and students:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Public Health issued guidance over the weekend to the state’s universities and colleges regarding the upcoming spring semester. The guidance includes a recommendation that testing and quarantining of all residential students be done prior to fully opening campuses. The department is also advising universities and colleges to implement weekly testing of all residential and off-campus students who attend class in-person through the end of February 2021.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order to affect the following changes for the 2020-2021 school year: 1) waiver of the graduation assessment test requirement for any 12th-grade student who has satisfied all other statutory graduation requirements; 2) removal of Student Growth Objectives as a component of formal educator evaluations; and 3) extension of the time in which certificated teachers or those in the process of becoming certificated teachers can serve as substitute teachers.  

Health care:

  • COLORADOGov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order increasing the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees.
  • COLORADOGov. Jared POLIS amended an executive order regarding the order of operations for surging hospital capacity for the state as it relates to elective surgery. 

Worker support:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR signed an executive order creating the Unemployment One-Time Relief Payment Program to be administered by the Office of Unemployment Insurance and funded by Coronavirus Relief Fund money for up to $48 million. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR wrote an op-ed calling on the state legislature to take needed action to deliver relief to workers and small businesses harmed by the pandemic.

Family support:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER’s Food Security Council is making several recommendations to ensure Michigan families have access to nutritious food during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations are a continuation of the swift action the state has already taken to address food insecurity related to COVID-19. The goal is to help residents already struggling to feed their families as well as those facing food insecurity for the first time due to job losses or other challenges related to the pandemic. 

Relief legislation:

  •  WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS released a statement regarding Assembly Bill 1 as amended and advanced by the Wisconsin State Senate, calling it a “good start” to support the state’s recovery efforts.

Other efforts:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE  issued a proclamation that suspends the requirement that statewide elected officials be sworn in ‘at the capitol’. This waiver allows statewide elected officials to choose to either be sworn in remotely or in person. The order is effective January 12, 2021, and expires at 11:59 PM on January 15.

Beyond COVID-19 

January 20th:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that at the request of United States National Guard officials, he is authorizing the deployment of more than 100 members of the Connecticut National Guard to Washington, D.C. to aid and facilitate the peaceful transition of presidential power.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan held a joint call to discuss planning for the 59th Presidential Inauguration. The call covered recent requests by D.C. to the federal government, and the leaders discussed the need for enhanced planning and preparation compared to previous inaugurations given the chaos, injury, and death experienced at the United States Capitol during the insurrection on January 6, 2021. The Mayor and the Governors agreed to urge Americans not to come into Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration and to instead participate virtually.

State capital safety:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER released a statement calling the Michigan Capitol Commission’s decision to ban guns in the capitol, “the right thing to do.”
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE released a statement announcing the extension of actions taken by the state to ensure the safety and security of Washingtonians, legislators, state employees, and the buildings of the Capitol Campus.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to support Wisconsin’s Capitol Police. Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will mobilize to state active duty to support safety and security efforts at the State Capitol in Madison. 

Second and third terms:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY and Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long have announced plans for a virtual inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, January 19. They will be sworn in for their second terms at 10 a.m. at Legislative Hall in Dover.

State of the State addresses:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY delivered her 2021 State of the State Address.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY delivered his 2021 State of the State Address. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO delivered his 2021 State of the State Address.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS delivered his 2021 State of the State address.

State budgets:

  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Finance and Administration on Monday released the FY22 Executive Budget Recommendation from the administration of Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM, totaling $7.3B in recurring spending with a 3.3% increase. The executive recommendation will maintain reserves at 25%, while increasing key state investments in priority areas like pandemic response, public education, early childhood services, and youth, adolescent, and young adult wellbeing.

Early childhood development:

  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that Wisconsin was awarded a Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Renewal, totaling $30 million over the next three years.

Health care:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS issued a statement in response to the report released by the Maine Attorney General’s Office on drug overdose deaths in the third quarter of 2020, calling it “a call to action that underscores the serious challenges Maine faces in stemming the opioid epidemic”.

Workforce development:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a proposal to create a Pathways Pledge for New York State employers to create more inclusive workforces and provide more workforce development opportunities as part of the 2021 State of the State. 

Elections and voting access:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF issued a statement in response to the U.S. District Court decision reaffirming that Sen. Jim Brewster won re-election to the 45th Senate District in the Pennsylvania State Senate.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM issued a writ of election declaring a special election in the 38th Senate District for March 23, 2021. The seat was previously held by Senator A. Benton Chafin, Jr., who passed away on January 1, 2021.

Infrastructure:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the approval of 26 rail freight improvement projects that will enhance freight mobility while creating or sustaining more than 200 jobs across Pennsylvania.

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that the state of Kansas has once again been recognized as a national leader in wind energy, with Business Facilities Magazine noting lofty rankings for Kansas when compared to all other states, and awarding an Honorable Mention to the Grain Belt Express project in the magazine’s Deal of the Year competition.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced her intent to once again submit an executive reorganization order to the Kansas Legislature creating the Kansas Department of Human Services. The new agency will include the current programs at the Department for Children and Families and the Department for Aging and Disability Services.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration due to damage in Louisiana from Hurricane Zeta has been approved by President Trump.  

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