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Govs On Deck – September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

It’s Wednesday, folks. Welcome to “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 pawlak@dga.net

You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner, @CEAmestoy, @SamNewton, @MadelinePawlak, and @TaylorLeighScof.

We want this to be helpful, so let us 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.

#BuildBackBetter:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM welcomed President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as he arrived in California to survey damage from the Caldor Fire – now the 15th largest and the 16th most destructive wildfire in state history – and discuss his Administration’s response to recent devastating wildfires in the western U.S.
    • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera welcomed President Joe Biden to Colorado. The governor and lieutenant governor joined the President at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado as part of the President’s Build Back Better agenda.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that the U.S. Department of Education has approved Maine’s proposal to use American Rescue Plan funding to support in-classroom instruction for Maine children, sustain the safe operation of schools, and equitably expand opportunity for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 response:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR said the federal government announced a change in the way COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments will be distributed among states due to supply shortages and extraordinary demand across the country. Health care providers will no longer be able to order the treatments directly; instead, state governments will supervise the distribution of a capped number of treatments delivered to them each week.

Vaccines:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK signed emergency regulations that require State of Nevada employees who work with vulnerable populations in state-operated, licensed health care settings or state-operated detention facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR said Kentucky currently ranks third in the nation for the highest number of new daily COVID-19 and urged individuals to talk to their friends, family, and community members about getting vaccinated. The governor said, “I am asking you to break the Thanksgiving dinner rule and have a tough conversation with those you love and care about who are hesitant to get the vaccine. It won’t be easy. But they are more likely to listen to a friend or family member, and that one conversation could save their life.”
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF, state leaders, and community partners visited a local vaccine clinic to encourage eligible Pennsylvanians to do their part to end the COVID-19 pandemic by getting vaccinated. The governor said, “Getting vaccinated is how we end this pandemic. It’s how each of us can be a part of the solution to COVID-19, and it’s a way we can protect the people around us who can’t get vaccinated yet.”

Child care: 

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Hou announced a series of nation-leading investments to strengthen access to childcare for parents seeking to reenter the workforce while simultaneously bolstering childcare providers and their employees. IDHS is expanding Child Care Assistance Program eligibility to include three months of free coverage for unemployed parents who meet the CCAP eligibility requirements to help residents get back to work.

Housing:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced a significant milestone in California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program. To date, more than $1 billion in funding has been obligated – meaning the money has either been paid or approved for payment and awaiting disbursement – and has assisted over 74,000 additional households. More than $526 million of the $1 billion in rental and utility assistance had already been distributed to 44,432 low-income California households who suffered financial hardship because of the pandemic.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Kathy HOCHUL announced significant progress in providing pandemic relief to New Yorkers through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Excluded Workers Program. The amount of pandemic-related emergency rental assistance paid out has nearly doubled in the past three weeks — growing to $399 million — enabling tenants at risk for eviction to stay in their homes and helping struggling landlords to recoup unpaid rent.

Beyond COVID-19 

Severe weather:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS thanked President Joseph R. Biden for his quick approval of the governor’s request for a federal emergency declaration for Tropical Storm Nicholas, which was granted by the president on Monday night.

Reproductive rights:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Kathy HOCHUL announced an agenda to affirm abortion rights and cement New York’s status as a place to welcome women seeking abortion care. Governor Hochul was joined by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to lay out their combined efforts to fight for reproductive rights.

Health care: 

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK toured VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System in Reno alongside Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Donald M. Remy. Their visit aimed at receiving feedback from Veterans, employees, and others and learn more about the efforts of VA Sierra Nevada in support of the Governor’s Challenge and the Mayor’s Challenge to fight Veteran suicide.

Infrastructure

  • NEW YORK Gov. Kathy HOCHUL announced that the New York City Subway, Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road broke pandemic-era ridership records within the last four days. The MTA has undertaken unprecedented cleaning and disinfecting protocols in the year since the pandemic began to ensure that the system is as safe as possible for its customers. The Authority has also rolled out robust public education campaigns and issued millions of masks to its customers.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Kathy HOCHUL announced the start of in-water construction of the Living Breakwaters, a $107 million effort that will provide physical, social, and ecological resiliency for the South Shore of Staten Island. The 2,400 linear feet of breakwaters, consisting of eight partially submerged enhanced stone and eco-concrete structures, will reduce the risks of storm waves and combat the long-term erosion of the beach along Conference House Park.

Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month: 

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month in Colorado by sharing a statement recognizing the significant impact of Colorado Latinos. The governor said, “Colorado’s history is woven through with the remarkable accomplishments of our Hispanic and community. My administration is committed to building a Colorado for All, a state where everyone has an opportunity to succeed, and we can celebrate our shared values.”
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM proclaimed September 15 to October 15 as Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month. The governor said, “As we mark 53 years of commemorating National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, Pam and I encourage all Virginians to join us in celebrating the important history and enduring contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community throughout Virginia and our country. They enrich our communities by sharing their vibrant culture and heritage.”

Support for small businesses:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER proclaimed Sept. 12-19, 2021, as Small Business Week to highlight the importance of small, independent businesses and entrepreneurship to North Carolina’s economy.
  • PUERTO RICO Gov. Pedro PIERLUISI welcomed Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzmán in a visit to Puerto Rico to celebrate Small Business Week. The administrator met with the governor to discuss the economic realities Puerto Rico continues to navigate during the pandemic and the positive impact of the Biden administration’s small business recovery programs.

Climate action:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER released a statement on the Senate passage of the comprehensive energy package, Senate Bill 2408, that puts consumers and the climate first. The governor said, “Today, with the Senate passage of SB 2408, the State of Illinois is making history by setting aggressive standards for a 100 percent clean energy future. After years of debate and discussion, science has prevailed, and we are charting a new future that works to mitigate the impacts of climate change here in Illinois.”
  • PUERTO RICO Gov. Pedro PIERLUISI assigned the Committee of Experts and Advisors on Climate Change to provide recommendations in no more than 30 days on actions to correct, mitigate, and prevent the effects of climate change in the coasts that aid in conservation and socioeconomic development.

Economic justice: 

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed Executive Order No. 262, establishing the Wealth Disparity Task Force, which was previously announced on Juneteenth of this year. This action fulfills a key commitment from the governor’s 2020 State of the State address and will work towards combatting long-standing wealth gaps based on race and ethnicity.

Safeguarding democracy: 

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF released a statement condemning Pennsylvania Republicans for their actions to undermine election security in Pennsylvania, spread lies and conspiracy theories about Pennsylvania elections and waste millions of taxpayer dollars. The governor said, “Senate Republicans would rather cater to the fringe elements of their party who still are perpetuating the Big Lie rather than focus on issues that affect Pennsylvanians’ lives. Election security is not a game and should not be treated with such carelessness. Senate Republicans should be ashamed of their latest attempt to destabilize our election system through a sham investigation that will unnecessarily cost taxpayers millions of dollars.”

Agriculture:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide support to the Maine organic dairy farms who were notified recently that their contracts will not be renewed by the global company Danone’s subsidiary, Horizon Organics. In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the governor noted the serious impact that the termination of the contracts will have on Maine’s organic dairy farmers, the dairy industry statewide, and Maine’s economy.

Economic development:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced Kansas has received Area Development’s Top 20 States for Doing Business recognition for 2021 – the first time in Kansas history the state has made the Top 20 list. The governor said, “Our state’s positive economic development momentum is undeniable, and the rest of the country is taking notice. This designation – in addition to our record-breaking economic success, our receipt of Area Development Magazine’s Gold Shovel Award, and being named as the top business climate in the West North Central region of the United States – is further proof our efforts are paying off in a big way.”
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ  signed Executive Order 21-31 , establishing the new Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion. The Council brings together 15 labor, business, philanthropic, and non-profit leaders from across the state to provide recommendations on expanding Minnesota’s economy.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, will create 290 new jobs in Pitt County, Governor. The company will invest $154 million to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing operations in Greenville.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that total General Fund revenues rose 18.9 percent in August. This increase shows the strength of Virginia’s economy, even in a month that traditionally is not significant for revenue collections, with collections mainly from withholding, sales taxes, and other sources that have regular monthly payments.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that EarthLink, a leading high-speed internet service provider, will invest $5.4 million to establish a major customer support center in Norton. Virginia successfully competed to win the project, which will create 285 new jobs.

Other efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that more than 50 million pages of state government documents have been digitized through a public-private partnership with Scan-Optics, a data management company based in Manchester, as part of an ongoing initiative to modernize services and produce efficiencies within state government.

Stay safe, get your shot, wear a mask (when needed), and wash your hands. See you all on Friday!