July 24, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – July 24, 2020

It’s Friday! Welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here and we still hope you are all safe and healthy. As a reminder, this newsletter is now going out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

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.

Programming note: I am out of the “office” next week so the Govs on Deck you know and love will be coming to you from a different email address (gasp!). Keep an eye out for Govs on Deck, David Turner edition. 

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:

Federal requests:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO and Governor Hogan called on Congress to pass a $500 billion state stabilization fund in the next COVID-19 relief package.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER called on Congress to extend unemployment benefits to struggling workers.

Reopening efforts:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS signed a renewal of the current proclamation extending Phase Two in the state, which includes the statewide mask mandate and additional restrictions, until August 7.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced changes to “Safe Start,” Washington’s phased approach to reopening. To combat the rising numbers, the governor and secretary are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters, and card rooms.

Face-coverings:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that the state will distribute more than 60,000 cloth masks to State agencies, boards, and commissions to protect the health and safety of employees returning to the workplace. All State employees are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing while at their worksites.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order requiring Minnesotans to wear a face-covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that face coverings will be required for all Oregonians ages five and up in indoor public spaces and outdoors when six feet of distance cannot be maintained. Face coverings will also be required even in cases of physical exertion indoors, and outdoors when six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

Business support:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced a new relief program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Lease – Emergency Assistance Grant Program will allow businesses in 64 eligible municipalities to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for lease costs. The program will assist small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which also assists landlords, many of whom are also small businesses.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that the maximum indoor capacity limit is capped at 100 for all venues in Phase II counties and for restaurants and bars in Phase I or II counties. Restaurants and bars will be required to stop serving customers at 10:00 P.M statewide.

Schools/students:

  • KANSAS’ Board of Education did not approve Gov. Laura KELLY’s order to delay the opening of schools until after Labor Day. In a split decision on Tuesday, board members voted 5-5 on the executive order, but a simple majority was needed to affirm the order.
  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Education announced updates to the state’s plan for the safe and methodical reentry into school for students and educators this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Reflecting the change in the state’s overall COVID-19 trajectory and continued steady rise in the spread of the virus around the state, the state has delayed the eligibility date for the return to in-person learning until September 8.

Testing and tracing:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that as a result of state lab expansion and partnerships with the private sector, Colorado has increased testing from 160 Coloradans per day back in March to administering over 10,000 tests per day on average and exceeding 12,000 tests a day in recent days. The state also has invoked the authority from the Food and Drug Administration to approve novel tests for use in Colorado. Over the next few weeks, the state will be evaluating an innovative saliva test that has the potential to significantly expand surveillance testing capabilities. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced a notice of funding opportunity for community organizations to expand COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. 57 local health departments to receive $50 million to hire additional contact tracers. A total of 1,600 tracers are now online.
  • KENTUCKY’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced that all staff at congregate residential settings serving older or disabled adults will get a molecular diagnostic test for COVID-19 at least every 14 days. Staff who test positive will be tested again for confirmation, and symptomatic residents will also be tested. The federal government has allocated an additional $5 billion going to nursing and veterans facilities across the country to help with PPE and testing.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced the state will soon be able to expand surveillance COVID-19 testing for critical front-line health care personnel, essential workers, and other groups thanks to a partnership with Montana State University.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER and NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. with Claudia Velasco-Osorio, Consul General of Mexico in Raleigh, and Jorge Archila, Consul General of Guatemala, released a statement on the effect of COVID-19 on the Latinx/Hispanic Community.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed legislation that requires the governor and Department of Health to submit information to the legislature about COVID-19 testing.

PPE/medical supplies:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will maintain a stockpile of 100 million N-95 respirators and 200 million surgical masks to increase preparedness heading into the fall and that it will secure an additional 120 million N-95 masks and 300 million more surgical masks for distribution to front-line workers.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state has purchased 300,000 tests and 450,000 swab kits through international suppliers, and is expecting 300,000 more tests plus 800,000 swab kits over the next eight weeks. Another 300,000 swabs have been purchased and delivered from United States suppliers, and 500,000 kits are expected by the end of September.

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that he has signed an executive order creating a rebuttable presumption that workers who contracted COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic contracted it on the job and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Family support:

  • CONNECTICUT has received an additional extension from FEMA for approval to apply for reimbursement for statewide emergency feeding efforts until August 19. These vital efforts will continue to be coordinated by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture in partnership with the many state and local agencies and nonprofit providers, including community food banks.

Child care/early education:

  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced the release of draft guidance for early learning and child care programs across the state following this week’s meeting of the Healthy Early Learners Council.

Relief funds:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced a second round of Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Response Supplement funds to 56 Kansas communities. A total of more than $7.2 million is being disbursed to assist communities affected by the pandemic and its economic effects.

Task forces:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the creation of a multi-agency task force to crack down on social distancing violations at restaurants and bars across the state. New York State Police and State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley will lead the effort, which will employ real-time data to enhance enforcement efforts by rapidly deploying investigators to respond to dangerous social distancing violations as they happen. 

State budgets:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that the state is looking to close out fiscal year 2020 without a shortfall, despite the continuing challenges presented by efforts to fight COVID-19.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced he has directed the Department of Administration to work with state agencies to identify $250 million in cost savings for the current fiscal year (FY20-21).

Inter-state travel:

  • GUAM’s Department of Public Health and Human Services issued the list of Low-Risk Areas from which travelers will not be subject to quarantine if their visit is five nights or less. 

Public communications:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO launched a new ad campaign aimed at young people. The weekly average COVID-19 rate among 21 to 30-year-olds has increased to 13.2 percent from 9.9 percent.

Other efforts:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order which continues the limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities previously imposed by Executive Order 2020-136.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, alongside the Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, health care advocates, and legislators, hosted a virtual roundtable to discuss the importance of supporting residents and small businesses with the cost of purchasing health care coverage through the development of a state-level Health Insurance Assessment.

Beyond COVID-19 

Federal actions:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that President Trump told him federal agents will not currently be sent to New York City. The president said he would discuss the deployment of agents with the governor before making a decision. New York State will continue to closely monitor the federal government for any changes in policy.

Economic development:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that more than $866,000 will be awarded to 90 destination marketing organizations through the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s new DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program announced in June. 

Education:

  • ILLINOIS Board of Higher Education announced it will award $1.3 million in grants to five Illinois colleges and universities to strengthen and diversify the early childhood workforce pipeline.

Infrastructure:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced today $194 million in loans and grants to help pay for 54 drinking water and wastewater projects. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the investment of $66 million for 11 drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater projects across nine counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.

Law enforcement:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed the Minnesota Police Accountability Act, authored by members of the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus, which includes a ban on ‘warrior training’ and chokeholds; arbitration reform; requirements for the duty to intercede; mental health and autism training; reforms to the Police Officer Standards and Training Board; the creation of a new advisory council with citizen voices; and use of force reform.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN convened the first meeting of her Public Safety Training and Standards Task Force. The Task Force will make recommendations to the Governor to improve the training and certification processes for Oregon law enforcement officers, including systemic changes to incorporate racial equity into hiring and training.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed legislation that strengthens state law to make an assault on a corrections employee at a local, county, or state facility a felony of the second degree. It is a felony of the first degree if a weapon likely to cause serious injury is used. The bill also establishes a third-degree felony if a law enforcement officer or correctional facility employees engages in a sexual act with an inmate or detainee.

Health care:

  • PENNSYLVANIAGov. Tom WOLF signed a bill into law that establishes a mental wellness and stress management program for emergency responders who experience post-traumatic stress injuries or traumatic brain injuries on the job.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have approved Pennsylvania’s Section 1332 Waiver application for a reinsurance program. Pennsylvania’s Reinsurance Program is authorized to operate under section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act from 2021 through 2025.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed legislation that is intended to improve transparency and reduce prescription drug costs by ensuring that pharmacies and pharmacists may inform customers about lower-priced alternatives, including generic medications. The bill prohibits pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacy services administration organizations from restricting these discussions.

Racial justice:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM applauded a unanimous vote by the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol recommending the removal of the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from National Statuary Hall. The Commission made its recommendation following a virtual public meeting hosted by the Department of Historic Resources. The governor testified before the Commission in favor of removing the statue.

LGBTQ+ rights:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF issued a statement on hate targeting transgender Pennsylvanians after a post made on Facebook by the Bloomsburg Fair mocked Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. 

Other efforts:

  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE issued a pre-landfall emergency proclamation as the State of Hawai‘i prepares for possible impacts from Hurricane Douglas. The proclamation authorizes the expenditure of state funds for the quick and efficient relief of disaster-related damage, losses, and suffering that may result from the storm.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF called on the state’s General Assembly to increase the state’s minimum wage. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands! See you on Monday!