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Govs On Deck – March 22, 2021

It’s the first Monday of spring! How are everyone’s brackets holding up? Time for another 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@SamNewton, 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.


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:


Emergency declarations:


  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY extended his State of Emergency declaration for an additional 30 days. 


Vaccine distribution:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced partnerships with DuPage and Kane Counties to launch mass vaccination sites. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that Maine is accelerating the timeline of its vaccination plan to make more people eligible for COVID-19 vaccines earlier. Beginning Tuesday, March 23, 2021, Maine residents age 50 and older will be eligible for the vaccination. Beginning Monday, April 19, 2021, all Maine residents age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination. The accelerated timeline comes as some Maine vaccine providers are reporting availability of appointments and as Maine anticipates an increase in vaccine supply from the Federal government.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program is expanding with a new permanent site at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced new guidance has been rolled out allowing pharmacies to vaccinate New Yorkers with comorbidities. Pharmacies were previously able to vaccinate New Yorkers over the age of 60 and teachers.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced Oregon’s accelerated vaccination prioritization timelines. Starting March 22, counties that can attest to largely finishing vaccinations for Oregonians 65 and older can move to the next prioritization groups. No later than March 29, vaccinations may begin for Phase 1B, Group 6, which includes people aged 45 and older with underlying conditions and some groups most vulnerable to COVID-19. On April 19, vaccinations may begin for Phase 1B, Group 7, which includes all frontline workers and people with underlying conditions aged 16-44. On May 1, all Oregonians age 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.


Reopening efforts:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order ending the mandatory requirements for people who travel outside of Connecticut, including those related to self-quarantining after travel.
  • MICHIGAN’s Department of Health and Human Services updated its Gatherings and Mask epidemic order, allowing up to 20% capacity in outdoor stadiums and arenas that establish infection control plans. The update also increases testing for youth ages 13-19 to ensure athletes can safely participate in sports.  
  • NEVADA’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force finished the third of three meetings with counties to discuss the State’s Roadmap to Recovery plan, including a May 1 plan to transition day-to-day management of COVID-19 to local authorities.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE rescinded his November 2020 Travel Advisory and is advising Washingtonians and others visiting Washington to comply with the Center for Disease Control’s current COVID-19 travel advisory guidance. 


Schools and students:


  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced the launch of a new free advising service to assist Virginia students and families applying for financial aid and help address the COVID-19 related decline in completion rates of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The governor also set forth a long-term goal for every eligible student in Virginia to complete a FAFSA application each year. 


Testing and tracing:


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the New York Forward COVID-Safe Offices partnership with major commercial real estate partners to expand access to COVID-19 testing for employers. As part of the initiative, 21 participating landlords have committed to provide space and facilitate access to testing services for tenants interested in conducting regular diagnostic testing of their employees. 


Worker support:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed that ensures access to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for eligible employees, including those advised to quarantine or isolate and those caring for COVID-impacted family members.


Family support:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that Kansas 2020 individual income tax, fiduciary income tax, and Homestead or Property tax relief refund claim filings are extended to May 17, 2021.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that the state income tax filing and payment due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that he is directing the Department of Taxation to extend the individual income tax filing and payment deadline in Virginia from Saturday, May 1, 2021, to Monday, May 17, 2021.


Housing support:


  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced the reopening of the Delaware Housing Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance for renters affected by COVID-19. Landlords and tenants can apply for assistance beginning Monday, March 22, 2021, using DSHA’s application portal.


Beyond COVID-19 


Natural disasters:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR submitted a request to President Biden asking that a Major Disaster Declaration be issued for the severe winter storm system that impacted Kentucky from February 8 through February 19, 2021.


Special sessions:


  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM will call the New Mexico Legislature into a special session roughly Wednesday, March 31, to finish the work of legalizing adult-use cannabis.


Child care:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER’s administration announced a new pilot program to address obstacles faced by rural child care providers in meeting the state’s quality of care standards. In partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, GOECD is providing 35 centers in rural counties with $3.8 million in funding per year to hire additional staff or increase the salaries of existing staff. The pilot program, made possible by both federal and state funding, is expected to run for three years and builds on the Pritzker administration’s ongoing commitment to improving equity and accessibility to quality child care for all Illinois families.


Education:


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO and the Reimagine New York Commission announced the launch of ConnectED NY, an emergency fund to provide approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts with free internet access through June 2022. Funding will be provided by Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation and the program will be managed by Digital Promise, a non-profit which is dedicated to closing the digital learning gap.   


Criminal justice:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced more than $2 million in grants have been awarded to continue improving the response to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, and stalking. 


Clean energy:


  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced a major clean energy initiative that will produce nearly 50 percent of the state government’s electricity through seven new solar energy arrays totaling 191-megawatts to be built around the state. As part of the governor’s GreenGov initiative, Pennsylvania PULSE will go into operation on January 1, 2023. The project is the largest solar commitment by any government in the U.S. announced to date.


IT improvements:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT urged the Connecticut General Assembly to approve legislation he introduced that takes a number of important steps to improve and modernize state government for residents and provide more support to Connecticut’s businesses.


Worker support:


  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order establishing the Governor’s Committee on the Safety, Health, and Wellbeing of Agricultural and Food Processing Workers.


Economic development:


  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS, Port of Iberia Executive Director Craig Romero, and Turner Industries President Stephen Toups announced the company’s selection of a 95-acre Port of Iberia site for future fabrication of modules and related services in the energy sector and other industries.


Other efforts:


  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that he made his quarterly State salary donation of $27,392.88 to Nevada’s K-12 public schools, totaling more than $214,000 in contributions since taking office in January 2019.


Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. See you all on Wednesday!