November 20, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – November 20, 2020

Happy Friday, everyone! And welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck!” As a reminder, your favorite newsletter comes out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

As always, questions or suggestions? Send me a note at amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy, and @andersonkayjay.

We want this to be helpful, so let us know what other info/what other formats you’d like to see for these updates.

Programming note: Govs on Deck will be on hiatus next week. We will return Monday, November 30th. Wishing you a wonderful, and safe, Thanksgiving!

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:

Elections:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order extending certain election-related deadlines. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF issued a statement criticizing the House Resolution 1100 introduced by House Republicans that would allow partisan Harrisburg politicians to interfere in the efforts of election professionals to provide a reliable and trustworthy audit of the 2020 general election.

New mitigation efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced a limited Stay at Home Order requiring generally that non-essential work, movement, and gatherings stop between 10 PM and 5 AM in counties in the purple tier. The order will take effect at 10 PM Saturday, November 21, and remain in effect until 5 AM December 21. This is the same as the March Stay at Home Order, but applied only between 10 PM and 5 AM and only in purple tier counties that are seeing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations.

Face coverings:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order establishing a statewide face-covering protocol as part of her administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to keep Kansans healthy, keep schools and businesses open, and protect Kansas’ economy. Under the order, Kansans shall wear face coverings when inside public spaces, or in situations where physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained. 
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced new public health measures to require face coverings in all counties regardless of case count beginning on Friday, November 20 to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Montana. 

Public gatherings:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced new restrictions limiting the capacity of venues, event spaces, and theaters to 25 people per room. This applies to indoor weddings and funerals but excludes in-person worship services.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced new restrictions limiting private social gatherings to up to eight people from a maximum of two households.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ  announced that beginning today, at 11:59 pm and lasting until Friday, December 18, in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household are prohibited.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced new public health measures to limit public gatherings to 25 individuals where social distancing is not possible.

Business support:

  • DELAWARE’s Black Chamber of Commerce and Delaware’s Division of Small Business announced that more small businesses will have help in applying for DE Relief Grants through a new relationship between the two organizations.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced he is dedicating $40 million in CARES Act funding to provide qualifying entities $10,000 in relief for various expenses, with a maximum award of $20,000 per business entity. Businesses with at least 50% of their sales via drive-through will not be eligible. Earlier this month, the governor also waived alcoholic beverage renewal fees for Kentucky restaurants, bars, and temporary venues for 12 months to help during the pandemic. 
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS welcomed the award of $2.4 million in federal funds to spur business recovery throughout Louisiana in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. LED will match $600,000 in state funds for a $3 million initiative. The department will work with economic developers statewide on recovery-focused efforts to retain and attract small and large businesses.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced the launch of the “Give the Gift of Oregon” campaign as part of a comprehensive effort to support local businesses statewide. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced an additional $70 million in the second round of “We’re All In” grants, bringing the second-round total to $120 million to be invested in Wisconsin small businesses. Today’s announcement brings the total investments in the “We’re All In” grant program to $185 million.

Business restrictions:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced new restrictions prohibiting indoor food or beverage consumption. Carryout and delivery is still encouraged as is socially distanced outdoor seating.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced new restrictions limiting gyms, fitness centers, pools, other indoor recreation facilities to 33% capacity, prohibiting group classes, team practices, and competitions, and mandating that masks must be worn while exercising.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced new restrictions limiting office-based businesses to 33% of employees. All employees who are able to work from home must do so and all businesses that can close to the public must do so.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that starting today through Sunday, December 6, 2020, all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and businesses that provide seated food and drink service, including social clubs, restaurants, and bars and tasting rooms currently open for outdoor service, will close for the night by 9:00 p.m. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ  announced that bars and restaurants are dialed back to take-out and delivery service only.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ  announced that gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces, and similar establishments will need to close; and adult and youth sports are paused. Retail businesses, salons, and places of worship may continue to operate with proper precautions in place.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced new public health measures to limit capacity in bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and casinos.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced several tightenings intended to clarify the intent of the emergency public health order effective through Monday, Nov. 30. The changes restrict “big box” stores and other large retailers from operating in-person services. 

Schools and students:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONTDELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY, Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker, NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHYNEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMORHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO, and PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced they will encourage residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break to the maximum extent possible before they leave campus. Any student who tests positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before they can travel or detail arrangements of their safe travel home with the local department of health. In addition, the governors are strongly recommending that colleges and universities finish their fall semesters by expanding remote instruction, enabling more students to learn from home for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break rather than require students to travel back to campus and then back home again in December. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that all public and private schools (K -12) are required to cease in-person instruction. Middle and high schools will remain in remote or virtual instruction until at least Jan. 4, 2021. Elementary schools may reopen for in-person instruction on Dec. 7 if their county is not in the red zone and the school follows all Healthy at School guidance.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that her Administration has awarded $5.6 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund monies to fund the construction of permanent internet infrastructure that will bring high-speed broadband to more than 730 students across rural Maine.

Health care:

  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Health will open an alternate care site at the Gibson Medical Center in Albuquerque. The site will operate as a limited care facility for recovering, COVID-positive adults who do not require acute care. Admissions are for those suspected of being positive for the virus or exposed to a COVID-positive person and do not have a safe place to isolate or quarantine. 

Testing, tracing, and vaccination:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR urged people in and around Fayette County to take advantage of new COVID-19 surge testing being conducted at Keeneland Race Course.
  • NORTH CAROLINA’s Department of Health and Human Services is offering more than 120 no-cost COVID-19 community testing events, including new locations in partnership with retailers to help North Carolinians protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities as they prepare for Thanksgiving.  

Worker support:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced the launch of the Interim Pandemic Assistance program, directing the Montana Department of Labor & Industry to issue an extra $200 weekly payment to unemployed Montanans impacted by COVID-19 using up to $25 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds.

Family support:

  • NEW MEXICO’sHuman Services Department announced that New Mexico households receiving SNAP benefits will once again receive the maximum amount for their household size for the month of November.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that $6.6 million in COVID-19 Out-of-School Support Grants have been awarded to 42 Wisconsin organizations providing care to school-aged kids during the pandemic.

Travel restrictions:

  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE announced that starting on Nov. 24, travelers wanting to bypass Hawaii’s 14-day mandatory quarantine must have COVID-19 test results, from a trusted travel partner, prior to departure to the islands

Relief funds:

  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Environmental Management announces today that it has set up a $1 million fund capitalized by CARES Act money to help owners of indoor sports facilities.

Public communications:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced her administration is partnering with the Kansas Leadership Center to mobilize its alumni base, which is nearly 12,000 strong, to mobilize and lead virtual non-partisan convenings across Kansas beginning the week of November 17 and concluding by late December. The project will dramatically increase the number of local leaders – pastors, coaches, neighborhood leaders, business owners, community officials, and others to use their influence to combat the virus.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY approved CARES Act funding to assist a coalition of stakeholders including the Kansas Hospital Association, Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Farm Bureau, and others, to create a statewide public health campaign to begin next week. The campaign will encourage Kansans to follow the best practices, encourage voluntary testing, avoid mass gatherings, and use face-coverings.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS urged all Louisianans to take COVID-19 seriously this holiday season as Louisiana enters its third surge with increasing cases of coronavirus and hospitalizations. The governor’s office shared a letter to the editor and video message with media outlets statewide. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS’ administration announced it will invest $100,000 in Coronavirus Relief Funds to extend its statewide Keep Maine Healthy public awareness campaign into January 2021 with social media, digital, television and streaming media advertising. DHHS launched the campaign in June to encourage Maine people to continue taking actions that are proven to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN launched a statewide public awareness campaign with Portland-based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy to inform Oregonians about the urgent importance of limiting social gatherings—especially during the holiday season—and continuing to wear face coverings even when visiting family and friends in small gatherings.

Special sessions:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS called a Special Session of the 72nd General Assembly, scheduled to commence on Monday, November 30 at 10 am. 

State budgets:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed House Bill 5005, Virginia’s revised biennial budget. The governor had called the General Assembly into special session and has worked with legislative leaders to enact a spending plan that protects key priorities, preserves the Commonwealth’s financial options, and addresses critical challenges that Virginians are facing amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that she will be extending the duration of the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform. The COVID-19 crisis has not only been a crisis for our healthcare system but has created a crisis in our economy—impacting the state budget. Following the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group’s projections from last week, the state will continue to bring in less revenue. Given the current budget situation, a full and robust discussion on future tax reform proposals is not possible at this time. 
  • LOUISIANA’s Resilient Louisiana Commission released their report of long-term recommendations for creating a more resilient Louisiana. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. John Bel EDWARDS created the Resilient Louisiana Commission to determine ways the state can better protect itself against disruptions, such as public health emergencies and natural disasters.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER visited Bright View Technologies in Durham, an optical film manufacturer that began producing personal protective equipment when the pandemic hit. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced a new cap on fees charged to restaurants by third-party delivery platforms, such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, and others. 

Beyond COVID-19 

Natural disasters:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM issued an emergency proclamation for Mono County due to the effects of the Mountain View Fire, which has burned over 20,000 acres and resulted in at least one fatality, forced the evacuation of residents, and is threatening critical infrastructure.

Economic development:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS welcomed an announcement that Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs has been selected as one of the six finalists for the permanent home of the U.S. Space Command. The final decision is expected in January 2021. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER joined ADM and Innovafeed in announcing major new plans to bring the world’s largest insect protein production to Decatur, Illinois. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced 43 Illinois museums that attract more than 16 million visitors annually will receive $22.8 million in state capital investments to improve their facilities and develop new exhibits. The investments are through the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, funded through the governor’s Rebuild Illinois multi-year state capital program.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the release of more than $142 million to launch new facilities for the Discovery Partners Institute and Illinois Innovation Network, created to accelerate job creation and economic growth through groundbreaking education, research, and discovery. The funding is made possible by the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois Capital program, with state DPI investments matched dollar for dollar through university, private, and philanthropic funding sources.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Dynamic Aviation will invest $47.9 million to expand its operation in Rockingham County.

Renewable energy:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced the state’s plan to create the country’s first floating offshore wind research array in the Gulf of Maine.

Educations:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced that Montana will again partner with the SANS Institute to provide high school students with a free and fun opportunity to learn cybersecurity skills and qualify for the National Cyber Scholarship Competition.

Infrastructure:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced $161.25 million in Municipal Aid grants, with 543 cities and towns across the state receiving funds to advance road, bridge, safety, and quality-of-life improvements, demonstrating the Department of Transportation’s Commitment to Communities.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the New York State Public Service Commission has completed its investigation into the apparent failure of New York’s electric utilities to adequately prepare for and respond to Tropical Storm Isaias, which ravaged large swaths of New York State this summer. As a result of the investigation, the fastest ever conducted by New York’s utility regulator, three of the state’s largest utilities – Con Edison, O&R, and Central Hudson – now face potential penalties totaling $137.3 million, with Con Edison and O&R also facing potential license revocation. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that Con Edison now faces $25 million in penalties and possible license revocation from the New York State Public Service Commission following an investigation into the utility’s failed response during large-scale power outages in Manhattan and Brooklyn in July 2019. 

LGBTQ rights:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations has released the first-ever Gender Identity Toolkit to all state agencies. The toolkit will serve as a key training resource for all state employees to ensure transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers receive non-discriminatory, high-quality services when interacting with or while being employed by the State. The toolkit was first outlined by the Governor in his State of the State in 2020.

Other efforts:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced $10 million in new funding to support future oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay. 

Tortoises and lemurs, oh my!

  • DELAWARE’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control cut the ribbon on its new Madagascar exhibit on Nov. 19 and officially welcomed its new tortoise and lemur inhabitants. This new exhibit is home to radiated tortoises and three species of lemurs. The public will be able to visit the habitat starting today.

Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. We’ll see you in a week. Happy Thanksgiving!