June 29, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – June 29, 2020

It’s Monday – 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:

Reopening efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM released guidance on the closure of bars for counties on the County Monitoring List. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF commended the Allegheny County Executive and Health Department for the additional mitigations the county is putting in place in response to significant COVID-19 case increases over the past few days, emphasizing that the situation in Allegheny County is a reminder for the entire state to follow mask-wearing and other mitigation requirements. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced today that Lebanon County is slated to move to the green phase of reopening on July 3rd, putting all 67 counties in green. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced today the Washington State Department of Health is putting a pause on counties moving to Phase 4 though the “Safe Start” phased approach. Rising cases across the state and concerns about the continued spread of the COVID virus have made Phase 4, which would essentially mean no restrictions, impossible at this time. Eight counties were eligible to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 before the pause. 

Face-coverings:

  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that Clatsop County will require face coverings in indoor public spaces, effective July 1st. Clatsop County will be added to the Oregon Health Authority guidance that went into effect June 24 for seven other counties.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF issued a public statement reminding people that masks are mandatory when visiting a business.

Elections: 

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order ordering the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes concerning petition gathering for Unaffiliated and Independent candidates for office.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed legislation designed to mitigate the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 general election. Under the new law, county clerks may automatically mail applications for absentee ballots to each mailable voter in the county, among other provisions. The bill also accommodates the secretary of health and secretary of state requiring additional provisions for voting-by-mail should they be warranted by emergent public health conditions. The legislation additionally protects the voting rights of New Mexico pueblos and tribes by ensuring polling places will not be closed or consolidated without the written agreement of the nation.

Business guidance:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order setting requirements for indoor dining which can resume on July 2nd and baseline requirements for indoor recreational and entertainment businesses which can also open on July 2nd. 

Business support:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation that places limits on service fees charged to restaurants by third-party delivery applications and websites during a state of emergency declared by the governor in response to COVID-19.  
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that beginning tomorrow small businesses across Pennsylvania can apply for grants to offset lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdown order.

Schools/students:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY and the Department of Education Commissioner announced the release of “The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education” to assist schools with reopening in the fall. The guidance announces that, absent a change in public health data, public schools will open for in-person instruction and operations in some capacity at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending the use of telehealth services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Testing and tracing:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced The Kansas Department of Health and Environment deployed a Mobile Testing Unit to assist communities with COVID-19 testing for underserved populations. KDHE is working with local health departments and other health organizations to identify locations throughout Kansas which would benefit from this service.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO directed the State Department of Health to investigate the potential COVID-19 exposure at a high school graduation ceremony in Westchester County after an individual who had recently traveled to Florida and attended the ceremony subsequently began showing symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, four more individuals who attended the ceremony and had contact with the first positive case have also tested positive.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the New York State Department of Health’s contact tracing program has identified and is investigating two clusters related to COVID-19 in Upstate New York. 

Worker support:

  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Workforce Solutions announced today that New Mexico will begin offering the Federal-State Extended Benefits program for those who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits.

Child care/summer programs:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order directing the Colorado Department of Human Services to access federal funds for child care services during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure stability and consistency for child care providers and protect the vital role they play for children and families.

Homeowner/renter support:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending the temporary suspension of evictions until July 15th and creating the Eviction Diversion Program, which outlines a process for renters to get fast rental assistance or establish a manageable payment plan to keep Michiganders in their homes. Rental assistance under the Eviction Diversion Program will be available beginning July 16th.

Relief funds:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Health and Educational Facilities Authority has approved $3 million in grants to assist Connecticut health care, education, child care, and cultural organizations in their response to the COVID-19 crisis. Earlier this spring, CHEFA’s board of directors decided to replace all of its typical FY 2021 grant programs with a COVID-19 grant program to help these organizations meet the needs of these unprecedented times.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that her administration has approved almost $9 million in grant awards to nearly 100 municipalities across the state under the Keep Maine Healthy Plan to support local COVID-19 public health, education, and prevention efforts. 
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced that over $1 million in grant funding has been awarded from the Montana Agriculture Adaptability Program. The grants are designed to provide relief to small and medium-sized food and agriculture businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

State budgets:

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed legislation that reverts unencumbered state appropriations to the general fund and authorizes the issuance of several short-term bonds as part of a comprehensive effort to stabilize state finances in light of the global economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special sessions:

  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN commended legislators for taking action during the 2020 First Special Session on a number of priority pieces of legislation, including bills for police accountability and reform, as well as bills extending protections for Oregonian families against residential and commercial evictions and foreclosures.

Inter-state travel:

  • GUAM’s Department of Public Health and Social Services has updated protocols relative to the quarantine, testing, and monitoring requirements for all travelers entering Guam.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued a new executive order that makes New York employees who voluntarily travel to high-risk states after June 25th ineligible for COVID-19 paid sick leave.

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order concerning the temporary suspension of certain requirements preventing the issuance of marriage licenses, and extended an executive order concerning the suspension of certain regulatory statutes. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that starting today, the state will resume visitation at assisted living and personal care homes; group activities (10 or fewer) in facilities; communal dining; and off-site appointments. Starting July 15, visitation will resume in nursing homes and in Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed executive orders creating the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and signed an executive order extending existing safety measures to maintain restrictions regarding entry to care facilities designed to protect vulnerable populations.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced New York will offer to assist states with high infection rates, as several states begin to see spikes in COVID-19. 

Beyond COVID-19 

Federal response:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF released a statement applauding  the U.S. District Court’s ruling ordering the release of migrant children held in the country’s three family detention centers, including the Berks County Residential Center in Leesport, Berks County:

Racial justice: 

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed legislation establishing the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission, a bipartisan nine-member body. The commission will evaluate and make recommendations about the creation of a civil right of action for violations of state constitutional rights, and, in light of an ongoing national reckoning on unnecessary excessive force by police officers, will also review the use of qualified immunity as a defense to liability by an employee of a public body. 

LGBTQ rights:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York veterans who were denied honorable discharges due to their LGBTQ identity can begin submitting applications under The Restoration of Honor Act. This will allow veterans who were denied an honorable discharge because of their sexual orientation or gender identity to have their New York State veterans’ benefits restored. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced today an action by the New York State Department of Financial Services to further protect LGBTQ New Yorkers from discrimination in healthcare as the federal government continues to remove or erode these protections.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that throughout the weekend, in celebration of Pride in New York and the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march in New York City, landmarks across the state are illuminated in honor of Pride Month and the LGBTQ community.

Criminal justice:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that he has granted 13 pardons and 21 commutations.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM issued the first pardons of her administration, invoking her power of executive clemency for 19 individuals convicted of crimes in New Mexico, the overwhelming majority of whom were guilty of a non-violent offense.

Education:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER signed a bill that will give public school educators a one-time $350 bonus but that still fails to give educators the support the governor has been fighting for. 

Economic development:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY applauded news of Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems’ new partnership with Virgin Hyperloop on a groundbreaking travel venture.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Ashton Lewis Holding Company will invest $11 million to establish a new specialty southern yellow pine sawmill in Ruther Glen.

Clean energy infrastructure:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM ceremonially signed landmark offshore wind legislation and led a delegation of legislators, industry members, and stakeholders to tour the ongoing construction of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind demonstration project located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. This is the first offshore wind project to be installed in federal waters. Once completed, the two six-megawatt wind turbines will provide enough electricity to power 3,000 homes.

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation extending limited immunity from civil and criminal liability currently applicable for retail food establishments, nonprofit organizations, and other entities that donate items of food to nonprofit organizations for use or distribution in providing assistance to needy or poor persons to correctional facilities.

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