June 24, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – June 24, 2020

Good Wednesday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck!”  We’re still here and we still hope you are all safe and healthy, but we are no longer daily (at least for right now). Instead, this newsletter will be 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:

  • MAINE Governor Janet MILLS called for the USDA to designate maple syrup as an eligible Coronavirus Food Assistance Program specialty crop. 

Reopening efforts:

  • GUAM’s Department of Public Health and Social Services releases a guidance memo relative to expanding and clarifying allowable and unallowable activities for non-organized, contact physical activities and sports.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that her administration, as well as officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, recommend that communities do not move into “Phase Out” which was originally planned to begin June 22nd and instead stay in Phase 3 for at least two more weeks.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR issued updated guidance beginning next week for many venues, including restaurants and bars. Nearly all businesses and venues will be reopened starting next week.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that Louisiana will stay in Phase Two of reopening. The governor will extend his Phase Two order for another 28 days, keeping in place occupancy limits and other restrictions.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced she is postponing the reopening of indoor service at bars to protect public health given the higher risk of COVID-19 transmission in such settings.
  • NEW MEXICO’s Human Services Department Cabinet Secretary provided a COVID-19 modeling and reopening webinar update.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that global public health experts cleared the Mid-Hudson Valley and Long Island to enter Phase 3 of reopening.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that the commonwealth would start Phase Three of the reopening process on July 1, more than three weeks after most of the state began ‘Phase Two.’

Public gatherings:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR issued new guidance covering wedding venues and gatherings of 50 or fewer people. Beginning June 29th, people can begin gathering in groups of 50 or fewer people. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced increased indoor and outdoor gathering capacity limits. Effective immediately, indoor gatherings are now limited to 25% capacity of the rooms in which they will take place, with a maximum of 100 persons. Outdoor gatherings are now limited to 250 persons, and outdoor religious services and political activities will continue to have no numerical limits. 

Business support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation creating a grant program for small businesses funded by CARES Act money.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation establishing a state and private investor funded small business recovery loan program.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released applications for the latest in a series of grant programs designed to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 for businesses and communities across Illinois. The new Business Interruption Grant and the Rebuild Distressed Communities grants total $85 million. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is now accepting applications for the $62.5 million Small Business Relief Grants Program for businesses impacted by COVID-19, which he signed into law last week.

Schools/students:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced guidelines that will allow K-12 schools, community colleges, and higher education institutions to resume in-person instruction for the upcoming academic year. To help schools meet these guidelines, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide public K-12 districts in Illinois with 2.5 million cloth face masks, allowing K-12 schools to provide a cloth face mask to all students and staff.
  • NEW MEXICO’s Public Education Department released guidance requiring schools to start the year in a hybrid learning model with in-person attendance limited to 50% of classroom capacity.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation allocating COVID-19 funding for behavioral health services. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that the state has reached an agreement with several health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options through at least Dec. 31, 2020. Health insurance companies will continue to provide coverage for expanded telehealth services for Oregonians and pay for these services at the rates they established during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • WISCONSIN launched a dashboard detailing county and regional COVID-19 data and a new online portal to help connect Wisconsinites with health insurance options, which could provide assistance to anyone who has lost their employer-based benefits due to pandemic-related layoffs.

Testing and tracing:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK confronted Vice President Mike Pence over the president’s calls to slow down testing. 
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. and DGA Vice Chair Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM released a statement criticizing President Trump’s calls to slow down testing.

PPE/medical supplies:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced a statewide mandatory face-covering order that will take effect Friday, June 26th.

Family support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed a bill creating the food pantry assistance grant program to aid Colorado food pantries and food banks in the purchase of foods to meet the needs of their clientele.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced his support for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and its statewide expansion. The program provides free help for Connecticut’s low-income and ALICE families to file tax returns, allowing them to receive tax credits and Coronavirus economic impact checks and to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.  

Child care:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that $65 million in federal CARES Act funding is available for child care providers statewide through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive program.

Homeowner/Renter support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed a bill transferring CARES Act money to the eviction legal defense fund and the housing development grant fund to provide assistance to individuals facing housing-related hardship as a result of COVID-19. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed a bill allocating $10 million to the energy outreach Colorado low-income energy assistance fund to provide direct utility bill payment assistance to households facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Relief funds:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed legislation creating a subfund for CARES Act funding within the state’s general fund. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY’s Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Taskforce Executive Committee approved proposed operating expenditures for the Recovery Office and SPARK Taskforce for the 2021 fiscal year.

Special sessions:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK released a statement agreeing to postpone the state legislature’s special session to make sure it can be held safely.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM issued a statement thanking the state House of Representatives for their work during the special session.  

Public communication:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed a bill allocating additional funds to support the state’s 2-1-1 system which provides critical information on available resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Volunteer efforts:

  • NEW JERSEY First Lady Tammy MURPHY announced her plans to continue serving New Jersey’s COVID-19 volunteer effort. 

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order extending a waiver that allows retailers to temporarily pause in-store redemption of beverage containers. The order also temporarily suspends the requirement for recycling centers to hold a minimum number of hours of operation.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY convened a call with a group of Kansas Manufacturers to discuss how her administration can support the state’s equipment manufacturing industry as the state moves forward into economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY directed the Kansas Department of Revenue to begin phasing in the availability of drive tests. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR signed an executive order extending a previous order prohibiting price-gouging.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed legislation providing an extension of waivers and modifications to human services programs approved under a previous executive order. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF visited the York County Food Bank’s East York Emergency Food Hub, which provides groceries to approximately 2,000 families each, and thanked food banks, farmers, volunteers, and others across the state for helping to feed Pennsylvania families during the pandemic.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that since March 1, the population of those in state correctional facilities has been reduced by 3,471 individuals, the largest multiple-month decrease ever experienced by the Department of Corrections and one that likely helped the department reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in facilities.

Beyond COVID-19 

Law enforcement:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced members of a task force to provide recommendations for legislation on independent investigations involving police use of force. The governor’s task force is a part of a coordinated effort with legislators to provide a comprehensive set of reforms.

Health care:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced $383 million in state and federal dollars for 54 rural hospitals by settling a 13-year-old dispute regarding Medicaid funding rates.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed a bill into law increasing access to health care for Michiganders through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services. 
  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Services Division announced that it has partnered with OpenBeds, a provider of a technology platform that identifies, unifies, and tracks behavioral health and social services resources to facilitate rapid digital referrals, to launch the New Mexico Behavioral Health Referral Network. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that through a public-private partnership, North Carolina has created the nation’s first statewide technology platform to coordinate whole-person care uniting traditional healthcare settings and organizations that address non-medical drivers of health, such as food, housing, transportation, employment, and interpersonal safety. 

Education:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed legislation prohibiting districts and charters from suspending a prekindergarten student. Additionally, it requires all middle school students to receive vaping prevention instruction at least once, encourages it for high school students, and adds questions about vaping and smoking prevention to the Minnesota Student Survey; it requires all tiers of teachers to have annual training on mental health; it modifies district reporting on serving students with dyslexia to include screening; and other provisions.

Economic development:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and Trade announced today that Marqeta has selected metro Denver for its second company headquarters alongside its Oakland office.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY broke ground at the Heartland Logistics Park in Shawnee, Kansas.  
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the signing of an international agreement with 16 other partner organizations, including the Dutch government, to advance the goal of making the state the AgriTech capital in the country. The governor also established an AgriTech Advisory Council to guide the commonwealth’s increased focus on this industry that will expand the state’s economy and create jobs for Kentuckians. He announced the state has launched a new website, Kentucky AgriTech: agritech.ky.gov.

Environment:

  • ILLINOIS Environmental Protection Agency Director John J. Kim announced two grant opportunities with up to $9.5 million in funding for projects that will improve water quality in Illinois.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced the Clean Cars Nevada initiative, which will evaluate the adoption of new regulations to provide Nevadans with more choices for low and zero-emission electric passenger cars and trucks at dealerships throughout the state beginning in 2024.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF reaffirmed his commitment to combating climate change by providing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection with a six-week extension to develop a proposed rulemaking to allow Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Gun safety:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO signed a bill banning so-called “ghost guns” in Rhode Island.

Other efforts:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that 60 senior community centers throughout the commonwealth will be the recipients of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s 2019-20 Senior Community Center grants.

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