July 8, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – July 8, 2020

Happy Wednesday and welcome to today’s “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.

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:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER called for a “national mask-up campaign,” saying it is necessary for everyone, even those in the White House, to wear masks to stem the spread of coronavirus as the number of cases surge across the US. 

Emergency declarations:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended the state’s disaster emergency declaration for 30 days.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY extended the state’s emergency declaration for 30 days. 

Reopening efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced on Monday that the state of Connecticut will pause Phase 3 reopening amid a jump in COVID-19 cases in different areas across the United States.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that her administration, and officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, recommend that most local communities again do not move into “Phase Out” of “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas” at this time, and instead stay in Phase 3.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY said he is hitting pause on the state’s gradual reopening from months of coronavirus lockdown orders after the state’s rate of transmission rose above the key mark 1 for the first time in 10 weeks.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the Mid-Hudson region was cleared to enter Phase IV and Long Island is on track to enter Phase IV today.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the extension of the Safe Start proclamation until August 6. 

Public gatherings:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the New York State Fair will be canceled this summer out of an abundance of caution.

Face-coverings:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS will be signing an executive order that will require public-facing businesses in coastal Maine towns to enforce her previous mandate that face-coverings must be worn while in public. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY will sign an executive order requiring people to wear masks outside in public when social distancing isn’t possible to help prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued guidance on face-covering requirements including that no business may operate, allow a customer to enter a business, or conduct in-person business with a customer in any public setting unless the customer is wearing a face-covering; individuals are prohibited from entering a place of business without wearing a face covering; employers must notify the employer’s local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading in the employer’s workplace, or if the employer is aware of 2 or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.

Elections:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Secretary of State announced a statewide effort to recruit poll workers for Connecticut’s primary and general elections.

Business guidance:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that casinos and movie theaters will currently remain closed as the state government continues to review the science and facts on their safe reopening.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York State will make industry recommendations on the use of air filtration technology to potentially eliminate the spread of COVID-19 through air conditioning systems. As evidence emerges that COVID-19 spread is linked more to airborne transmission than to surface area transmission, New York State is studying filters, their compatibility with existing air systems, the expense of modifications to air conditioning systems, and other factors. 

Business support:

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed the Small Business Recovery Act of 2020 that will allocate $400 million from the state’s $5 billion Severance Tax Permanent Fund for loans to small New Mexico businesses and nonprofits and almost $50 million for loans to local governments.

Schools/students:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Michigan was spearheading a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over the distribution of funding under a federal coronavirus relief package.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the New York State Department of Health, in consultation with the Reimagine Education Advisory Council and others, is finalizing guidance on the possible reopening of schools in September. New York State previously directed all school districts to develop reopening plans. A decision on whether to reopen schools in September has not been made yet. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN’s Healthy Schools Reopening Council convened for its first remote meeting today. The council is charged with advising the Governor and the Oregon Department of Education as school districts develop their plans for a safe return to school for Oregon’s students under the Ready Schools, Safe Learners K-12 schools reopening process. Districts will develop plans for in-person instruction, remote instruction, or a combination of the two.

Health care:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER signed legislation renewing the Hospital Assessment Program. The Hospital Assessment Program is a $3.8 billion program that will bring in over $250 million additional federal dollars to the state. The program consists of $450 million in additional funding for hospitals since the last assessment four years ago.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER signed the Health Care Affordability Act, which helps expand access to quality and affordable health care in response to health and economic inequities and challenges heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the legislation eliminates or loosens requirements on who can access Medicaid.

PPE/medical equipment:

  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced additional efforts to distribute PPE to schools, food processors, and businesses across the state. Wisconsin Emergency Management will begin shipping more than 2 million cloth face masks and more than 4,200 infrared thermometers to K-12 public, charter, and private schools throughout the state. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection is also helping to facilitate the delivery of approximately 60,000 masks to local food processors and businesses.

Testing and tracing:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS secured an additional 10,000 COVID-19 testing kits for Denver’s Pepsi Center testing site, preventing the site from having to scale back operations due to its testing partner, LabCorp, experiencing a shortage of testing kits as states such as Arizona, Texas and Florida see a virus resurgence.
  • MONTANA’s VA Health Care Systems recently announced more COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic veterans.
  • NORTH CAROLINA’s Department of Health and Human Services has issued a Statewide Standing Order for COVID-19 Diagnostic testing, along with a State Health Director Temporary Order on COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Reporting. The Statewide Standing Order allows sites to collect and submit samples to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing without requiring a specific order. Also, it authorizes testing sites to receive results directly from laboratories.
  • NORTH CAROLINA’s Department of Health and Human Services launched the Community testing in High-priority And Marginalized Populations (CHAMP) Initiative to increase access to no-cost COVID-19 testing for African American, LatinX/Hispanic and American Indian communities that currently have limited testing sites.

Child care/early education:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ visited a child care center in St. Paul and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan visited a family child care provider in Rochester to announce their $56.6 million Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) proposal to help support Minnesota child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that she will be convening a Healthy Early Learners Council to advise her and the Early Learning Division on guidance for the reopening and ongoing operation of early learning and child care programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The work of this Council will align with the work of the Early Learning System strategic plan, Raise Up Oregon, the Governor’s Early Learning Council, and the Joint Taskforce on Access to Quality Affordable Child Care.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that $53 million in additional financial support will be available for child care providers that have suffered during COVID-19.

Relief funds:

  • KENTUCKYGov. Andy BESHEAR announced that 16 northern Kentucky governments have applied for nearly $7 million in reimbursements from the CARES Act for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19.

State budgets:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK released the Nevada COVID-19 Fiscal Report and details about the Fiscal Year 2021 budget ahead of the Nevada Legislative Special Session, which is planned for today.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO asked Rhode Island lawmakers to authorize up to $300 million in short-term borrowing to tide the state over amid unprecedented financial uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Task forces:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced appointments to the Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force. 

Special sessions:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK issued a formal proclamation for a special session starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday to address the state’s pandemic-driven budget shortfall, but says he may issue another proclamation authorizing the Legislature to take up other issues if there are additional policy matters that deserve immediate consideration.

Inter-state travel:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONTNEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, and NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO advised individuals traveling to New Jersey from additional states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. The updated advisory includes three additional states, Delaware, Kansas, and Oklahoma, bringing the total to 19 states. 
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM’s mandatory health advisory requires that anyone crossing a border into the state must quarantine for 14 days. 

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed two bills into law that will enable government services to be provided at a distance, decreasing the odds of COVID-19 infection.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order modifying the number of service hours required to be provided by certain group homes and the requirement that group homes perform semi-annual times studies of their services in order to receive monthly Medicaid payments.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the Connecticut Department of Public Health has selected Mathematica Policy Research to conduct an independent, third-party review of the response to COVID-19 within the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Last month, the governor announced that he was ordering the review to be conducted.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order providing for the extension of drivers’ licenses that would expire before September 15, 2020, and also sets a staggered deadline for vehicle registrations depending on when a vehicle was purchased. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order amending regulations on licensure, certification, and registration for persons and Licensure of adult care homes in Kansas put in place by earlier executive orders. The new order narrows the relaxation of regulatory provisions put in place previously and limits those provisions more specifically to adult care homes that have been granted provisional licenses for the purpose of cohorting or isolating residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR signed an executive order extending his executive order prohibiting price gouging.

Beyond COVID-19 

Racial justice:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY appointed Judge Monique Centeno, Wichita, District Court Judge – Division 11 of 18th District Court, to the Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice. The Commission will study racial equity and justice in Kansas, and hold listening sessions with Kansans across the state with experience and expertise in the topic.

Criminal justice:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER vetoed a bill that could have the unintended consequence of limiting transparency in death investigations.

Education:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation creating a multi-agency working group to address school safety.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order establishing an annual education report card for students in foster care. The report card will track educational outcomes and collect data to give state leaders, education providers, and stakeholders a picture of where the state needs to improve when it comes to educating foster care kids in Kansas.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed a bill into law eliminating many barriers to telehealth services in the state. The bill allows doctors to get paid for virtual patient visits without additional red tape from insurers.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation creating the Colorado affordable health care coverage easy enrollment program for the purpose of leveraging the tax filing process to connect uninsured Coloradans to free or subsidized health care coverage. The program will allow Coloradans to ask on their state income tax returns for the Colorado health benefit exchange to assess whether uninsured household members are potentially eligible for free or subsidized health care coverage.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation that will guarantee the continued success of the state’s reinsurance program. Additionally, subsidies for many Coloradans who purchase insurance on the individual marketplace will continue to expand.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation authorizing working adults with disabilities who are over 65 years of age to continue participating in the existing Medicaid buy-in program.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF’s Opioid Command Center released its strategic plan, highlighting accomplishments to date and providing a roadmap for the continued work to help those with substance use disorder.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced five insurance carriers have applied to offer public option plans in a majority of counties across the state. The first year of Cascade Care, the public option program, begins later this year with plans to start coverage on Jan. 1, 2021.

Renewable energy:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM launched Clean Energy Virginia, a new initiative to drive investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency and help meet the Commonwealth’s goals for clean energy production, which include powering 100 percent of Virginia’s electricity from carbon-free sources. 

Economic development:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced Cabot will make a $90 million capital investment to enhance the performance of its plant in Ville Platte, Louisiana. The facility manufactures carbon black, a key material that extends the life of tires and other rubber products.

Family support:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Youth and Family Stability Grants have been awarded to eight agencies from across the state. 

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order issuing drought declarations for 74 Kansas counties. The declaration includes 74 out of 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY and NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett today announced that NJ TRANSIT’s latest Locomotive Engineer Training Class has completed the final stage of certifications and requirements necessary to become locomotive engineers. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced more than $160 million in transportation aid for local governments as part of the governor’s 2019-21 biennial budget. 

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