May 20, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – May 20, 2020

Good Wednesday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still daily, and we hope you are all still safe and healthy.

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 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.

Federal requests:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to pass $1 trillion in direct relief for state and local governments – funding that is critical to reopening our economies. The letter, signed by 91 California leaders, outlines the budgetary challenges facing state, local, and tribal governments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO called on the FDA to take steps now to make sure that pharmaceutical corporations that produce a COVID-19 vaccine release the rights to the vaccine to provide for immediate widespread distribution and help ensure the vaccine is available to all individuals.

Stay at home orders:

  • OREGON’s Supreme Court temporarily stayed a preliminary injunction issued this morning in Baker County Circuit Court that determined Gov. Kate BROWN’s executive orders related to COVID-19 were no longer in effect.

Reopening efforts:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced additional steps allowing retail establishments and restaurants to expand operations. Under the interim steps, all retail establishments in Delaware may operate by appointment only beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20th. Restaurants, bars, taprooms, and craft breweries may also apply to expand outdoor seating capacity to safely serve additional customers when the businesses reopen next month. Applications to expand outdoor seating capacity will be available on Friday, May 22nd, and expansions would be authorized to begin on June 1st. Delaware retailers and restaurants are scheduled to open their indoor spaces at 30 percent of stated fire capacity during Phase 1 of Delaware’s economic reopening, beginning June 1st. The additional interim steps will give retailers and restaurants additional new ways to safely expand their operations by appointment and outdoors. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order moving Kansas into Phase 2 of “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas.” Phase 2, effective Friday, May 22nd, will be modified to include data-driven restrictions necessary to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that the state’s Healthy at Work website now includes guidance for barbershops, cosmetology, hair salons, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors. The state also will be expanding June 1st reopening guidance to include aquatic centers (excluding public pools), fishing tournaments, and auto/dirt track racing. June 8th marks the projected return for museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries, and distilleries. Further out, June 11 will bring back the Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky State Park campgrounds, and Otter Creek.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced today the following updates to her administration’s plan to restart Maine’s economy: 1) Maine residents may enjoy campgrounds beginning Memorial Day weekend; and 2) the Administration is delaying the full reopening of gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons in light of emerging research and experiences in other states of COVID-19 transmission related to these establishments.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced the state will move to Phase Two of the Reopening the Big Sky plan and will lift the 14-day out-of-state travel quarantine beginning June 1st. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the Capital Region has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan starting today.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced new criteria for additional counties to apply for variances to move to Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start recovery plan. Under the plan, smaller counties can apply for a variance from the order which would allow them to open even more businesses than allowed statewide. 

Public gatherings:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR set out state guidelines for having a safe Memorial Day weekend including keeping gatherings to 10 or fewer people, maintaining social distance of at least six feet, wearing masks, gathering outside instead of inside, washing hands frequently and covering food and individually wrapping plates.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state will allow Memorial Day ceremonies of 10 people or less statewide, with final decisions about ceremonies being left to local governments.

Schools/students:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order waiving the deadline to verify grade point average and waive certain certification requirements and selective service registration verification for Cal Grant applicants.
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Attorney General announced that his office has issued guidance to student loan borrowers on the new protections available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Business operations:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced an administrative order authorizing in-person sales to resume at car dealerships, motorcycle dealerships, boat dealerships, and bike shops, by appointment only and with social distancing measures in place.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER sent a letter to the leaders of the Golden L.E.A.F. Foundation, the foundation managing the distribution of $125 million in loans for businesses that was included in the recently passed 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act, encouraging them to ensure women and minority-owned businesses receive an equitable portion of recently approved COVID-19 relief funding. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that businesses and employees in the real estate industry may conduct limited business-related activities statewide and provided guidance for this industry to operate in red phase and yellow phase counties.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued guidance for resuming real estate and fitness operations in Phase 2.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s We’re All In initiative. The initiative will provide direct assistance to small businesses most impacted by the duration and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health care:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Insurance Department Commissioner reminded all insureds in the state that all out-of-pocket costs for testing and treatment of COVID-19 have been removed. Public health coverage is also available to Connecticut residents who qualify.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending her previous order which gives pharmacists increased operational capacity and expands access to prescriptions for Michiganders who need them. The order allows pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients and require insurers to cover early refills for up to 90 days’ worth of supply.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Health issued guidelines on the conditions for hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to begin resuming elective surgeries.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that Nassau County is now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. A total of 50 counties can now resume elective surgeries.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a collaboration with the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State to implement a two-week hospital visitation pilot program in 16 hospitals across the state to allow increased visitations for family members and loved ones. As part of the pilot program, visits will be time-limited and visitors will be provided with and must wear PPE and are subject to symptom and temperature checks.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER proclaimed May 17-23 as Emergency Medical Services Week to recognize the 40,000 men and women who readily provide lifesaving care to those in need. May 19 was proclaimed as EMS for Children Day to honor those who provide pediatric emergency care and are specially trained to address the unique needs of children.

Testing and tracing:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Walmart is greatly expanding its testing operations in the state with new sites opening on Friday.
  • KENTUCKY has conducted coronavirus testing this week at 23 long-term care facilities. So far, more than 4,300 tests have been conducted, including 2,324 staff members and 2,003 residents. Officials plan to conduct another 2,100 tests over the next two days.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Division of Consumer Affairs has authorized licensed New Jersey pharmacists to widely administer COVID-19 tests to customers, paving the way for thousands of pharmacies statewide to serve as testing sites. Expanding testing authority to the more than 18,000 pharmacists licensed in the state advances Gov. Phil MURPHY’s goal of doubling statewide testing by the end of the month as part of his “Road Back” recovery plan to reopen the state.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced the first version of CRUSH COVID RI, the state’s pandemic response mobile app. CRUSH COVID RI provides Rhode Islanders with easy access to all of the resources required during the public health crisis, including a location diary that helps users identify the people and places they are in contact with and a symptom checking survey.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced a $1 billion statewide effort to support COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, acquisition of needed supplies, emergency operations, and resources for local communities throughout Wisconsin. The effort is funded by $1.17 billion in federal CARES Act dollars.

Family support:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that Pennsylvania food distributors will receive more than $50 million of $1.2 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. The money will fund the purchase of surplus milk and other dairy products, as well as chicken, pork, and fresh produce from farmers. Distributors will work with food banks and other non-profit organizations statewide to get food boxes to families who are facing food insecurity.

Child care:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that on June 15th some child care and limited-contact youth sports will be allowed.

Worker support:

  • NEW YORK’s Department of Labor today announced that the backlog of pending unemployment benefit applications has been reduced to 7,580. Since the passage of the Federal CARES Act, 562,766 PUA applicants have received unemployment benefits. In total, more than 2 million unemployment benefit applications have been processed, and those New Yorkers have received over $10 billion in benefits.

Homeowner/renter support:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed a bill that stops farm foreclosures until Dec. 1 for farmers struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic who elect to take part in creditor mediation.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM shared new resources to protect Virginians from eviction and support individuals who have lost their job or income due to COVID-19. These tools include StayHomeVirginia.com, a new website to help Virginians navigate housing programs, services, and resources. Resources include relief for private mortgage holders, multifamily complexes, and tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Task forces/relief funds:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce to lead the state’s economic recovery. The Recovery Office team will be responsible for the statewide distribution of significant CARES Act funding. A five-member executive committee will oversee the process, and the office will have a steering committee with an additional 15 members who will form three subcommittees. The three subcommittees will focus on communication and engagement, finance and policy development and implementation and accountability.  

Public communications:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER will be kicking off a campaign to address disparities in minority communities when it comes to COVID-19 fatalities. Pritzker’s administration will release a set of video messages and radio announcements featuring key influences from black and brown communities who reiterate the need to practice social distancing and take protective measures to stay healthy amid the pandemic.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order helping ease the strain on domestic violence service providers by waiving the 10 percent cash or in-kind matching requirements for state grants awarded to these organizations.
  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order suspending programmatic deadlines for entities that receive funding from the Energy Commission for the development and deployment of new technologies that support the state’s clean energy and decarbonization goals and extending the timeframe for local governments to submit claims for reimbursement to the State Controller’s Office.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF vetoed three bills related to the state’s response to COVID-19 that violate the separation of powers and make other changes that go against the administration’s measured plan for reopening the state safely.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the extension of a proclamation waiving the requirements for in-person visitation by children in the custody of the Department of Children, Youth, and Family with family and DYCF caseworkers. It also waives requirements for DCYF to provide parents and children in child dependency cases with remedial services, which include things like coordinating family visits. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!