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Govs On Deck – June 17, 2020

Govs on Deck

Happy Wednesday 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. We are also going to expand our content to the “pandemic plus” model – get ready for updates on the coronavirus pandemic response, plus other key actions by our Dem govs.
Programming note: in commemoration of Juneteenth, our office will be closed on Friday. Govs on Deck will return on Monday.
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:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE sent a letter to the Trump administration requesting the immediate implementation of a national aviation screening system for domestic and international passengers to ensure the safety of travelers and aviation workers. 

Reopening efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced “Protect Our Neighbors,” a framework that will empower local governments that can demonstrate strong public health and health care systems, paired with low virus levels, to make decisions about how they should reopen. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced a new round of Safer at Home guidelines to further relax restrictions on the economy and society. Guidelines include residential summer camps, indoor and outdoor events, bars, personal services, and non-critical manufacturing facilities. The new guidelines will be open for comment for 48 hours and will be finalized on Thursday, June 18th.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order modifying previous orders to adapt to Phase 2 reopening efforts that begin today. 
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that, amid an uptick in people testing positive for COVID-19 nearly two weeks after Nevada reopened casinos, the state is not yet ready to enter into “Phase 3” of business reopenings.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that global public health experts have cleared Western New York and the Capital Region to enter Phase Three.

Public gatherings:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced updated guidance for indoor and outdoor gatherings over the next several weeks. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR offered updated guidance on public pools and gatherings of up to 50 people. 
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Health issued guidance on COVID-19 health and safety protocols for outdoor organized sports activities which are set to resume as of June 22nd. The guidance permits practices and competitions for low-risk sports that do not involve contact and modified no-contact practices for medium-risk and high-risk sports. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed in Phase Three of reopening, up from the limit of 10. 

Elections:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order activating the Colorado National Guard to assist with election cybersecurity defense efforts during the 2020 state primary election on June 30, 2020.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER signed two bills into law to provide vote by mail applications to all recent voters in Illinois. The legislation also expands early voting hours at permanent polling places, improves the signature verification process, and makes election day a state holiday.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS’ administration released detailed guidance for Maine local governing bodies to hold gatherings, such as annual town meetings, school budget meetings, and elections, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business guidance:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS’ administration announced that indoor dining in Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York counties can voluntarily resume today. With this change, restaurants statewide will now be open to both inside and outside dining with added health and safety precautions. The administration is also further aligning re-openings in these counties with the rural part of the Restarting Maine’s Economy Plan.
  • NEW MEXICO’s Tourism Department has issued a $50,000 grant to the New Mexico Society of Association Executives to administer a COVID-Safe Practices training program in an effort to help businesses operate in a COVID-19 world.

Business support:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS signed a Republican-crafted plan to spend $300 million in federal coronavirus aid to help small businesses recover from the outbreak.
  • MICHIGAN’s Economic Development Corporation’s Match on Main program awarded businesses in 22 Michigan communities $993,984 in grant funding.

Schools/students:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced today that The School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency has approved the opening of two funding announcements totaling $157.5 million that school entities are immediately eligible to apply for to address COVID-19-related health and safety needs for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Health care:

  • GUAM has updated visitation restrictions in health care and nursing home facilities.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that hospitals and group homes will be allowed to accept visitors at their discretion. Any facility that chooses to allow visitors must follow state guidelines, including time-limited visits and requiring visitors to wear PPE and be subject to symptom and temperature checks. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO and the New York State Covid-19 Maternity Task Force, Chaired by Secretary Melissa DeRosa, announced the governor has directed the State Department of Health to allow midwife-led birthing centers in New York for the first time.  This directive to diversify birthing site options and support patient choice was one of six key recommendations of the COVD-19 Maternity Task Force launched in April.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER proclaimed June 15th Healthcare Heroes Day to recognize the daily heroic sacrifices made by healthcare professionals, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing and tracing:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that beginning today, nine more COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites will open in Walmart parking lots across the state, bringing the total to 19 sites at Walmart locations. 

PPE/medical supplies:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the seven project awardees of $174,603 in new funding through the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program COVID-19 Challenge to address the commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homeowner/renter assistance:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced $275 million in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Community Services Block Grant programs.

Worker support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order to extend certain state income tax payment deadlines for all Colorado taxpayers to quickly provide relief from payment and penalties due to COVID-19.

Family support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order extending waivers temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program, allowing for self-attestation of pregnancy and conditions of eligibility, and waiving in-person identification requirements.
  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order suspending face-to-face visits for eligibility for extended foster care.

Relief funds:

  • KANSAS’ State Finance Council approved the distribution of $400 million in funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to local Kansas governments to help combat the health and economic challenges COVID-19 has brought on their communities, and to help prepare for possible future outbreaks of the disease.  
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the first CARES Act reimbursement for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19.
  • NORTH CAROLINA’s Department of Health and Human Services is allocating $35 million in federal funding to local health departments to support the COVID-19 response. Per federal guidelines, counties will be able to use these funds to support COVID-19 staffing, infection controls, testing and tracing, IT infrastructure and data sharing and visualization.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that people with intellectual disabilities and autism and the providers of support services for these vulnerable Pennsylvanians will receive $260 million in CARES Act funding to help continue to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced today the availability of $40 million in funding through the federal CARES Act to support Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and food security programs, following months of uncertainty and loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM, First Lady Pamela Northam, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Director and CEO Alex Nyerges today announced a special program to assist visual artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: the Virginia Artist Relief Fellowship Program. Forty visual artists from the Commonwealth will be selected to each receive a $5,000 grant. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM  announced more than $14.66 million for a new Economic Resilience and Recovery Program to respond to the unprecedented economic conditions facing Virginia and address the near and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative was created through a restructuring of Growth and Opportunity for Virginia funding. The program will focus resources on economic resilience and recovery while staying true to the GO Virginia mission of creating higher-paying jobs that strengthen and diversify regional economies.

State budgets:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that he will call lawmakers to the capital sometime this month to address a sizable state budget hole, and he declined to rule out asking for a tax increase to help fill a budget gap estimated at close to $900 million just for the fiscal year that concludes at the end of June.

Public communication:

  • NEW MEXICO launched a COVID-19 outreach campaign featuring the work of renowned Native American cartoonist Ricardo Caté, who uses humor to discuss serious topics affecting Native American communities to raise awareness about the current public health crisis in tribal communities.
  • PENNSYLVANIA First Lady Frances WOLF offered encouraging messages to children, parents, teachers, and caregivers through the release of a series of videos created in collaboration with Pennsylvania PBS titled #TogetherPennsylvania.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order extending permission for commercially-licensed food trucks to operate in roadside rest areas, in compliance with a temporary permit issued by Caltrans, to ensure essential infrastructure workers have access to food.
  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order extending deadlines related to the payment of real estate license application and renewal fees and continuing education requirements for licensees.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the U.S. Open will be held in Queens without fans from August 31st to September 13th. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN will convene a Special Session of the Oregon Legislature on Wednesday, June 24th to take up proposed legislation to improve police accountability and address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE extended a proclamation that provides flexibility and relief to courts by removing certain statutory hearing deadlines and service of process requirements as it relates to protection orders, including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, extreme risk, and other similar orders, to ensure access to justice for victims. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE extended a proclamation that waives or suspends the restrictions on truck driver hours.

Beyond COVID-19
Federal requests:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER requested a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump for $245 million in damage widespread flooding caused in five Michigan counties last month. 

Law enforcement:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT has signed an executive order taking several actions to modernize police strategies and programs in Connecticut, including banning the use of chokeholds, requiring all State Police to be equipped with a body camera, and prohibiting the purchase or acquisition of military equipment from the federal government.
  • NEW JERSEY Attorney General ordered all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey to begin publicly identifying officers who commit serious disciplinary violations. Under the order, going forward every state, county, and local law enforcement agency in New Jersey will be required to annually publish a list of officers who were fired, demoted, or suspended for more than five days due to a disciplinary violation, with the first list to be published no later than December 31, 2020.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation requiring all New York State Police officers to wear body cameras while on patrol and creating the Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed policing reform legislation requiring state and local law enforcement officers to report within six hours when they discharge their weapon; requiring courts to compile and publish racial and other demographic data of all low-level offenses; requiring police officers to provide medical and mental health attention to individuals in custody.

Racial justice:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery issued an open letter calling out the insidious effects of structural racism across society, including the economy, and urging business and civic leaders to take a stand against injustice as the state and nation work to rebuild, for a more inclusive and resilient economy.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER issued a proclamation declaring June 19th as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ issued a proclamation to officially recognize June 15 as Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie Commemoration Day on the 100th anniversary of their lynchings in Duluth.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM released a statement on reports of violence, armed ‘guard’ at a protest in Albuquerque.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO directed the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate a noose found hanging in Harlem. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that he intends to mark Juneteenth as a permanent paid state holiday, starting by giving state employees a day off this Friday, June 19th. Virginia has long marked Juneteenth by issuing a proclamation, but the date has not previously been considered a state holiday.

Infrastructure:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that his administration successfully secured a $55,150,000 Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund the Mountain Parkway Expansion through Wolfe County.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced plans to develop the New Jersey Wind Port, a first-in-the-nation infrastructure investment that will provide a location for essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects on the East Coast. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the opening of the 3.6-mile shared bicycle and pedestrian path on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, providing an environmentally friendly new connection for families, runners, cyclists, walkers and commuters to travel between Westchester and Rockland counties. 

Housing:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced more than $10 million in funding through the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program to support affordable housing projects across the commonwealth.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced two new affordable housing programs that will build upon efforts to provide safe and secure housing for all Virginians. The $3 million in Vibrant Community Initiative funding will support affordable housing and community development in the cities of Charlottesville and Newport News.

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed into law the “Colorado Partnership for Quality Jobs and Services Act” to facilitate the creation of formal labor-management partnership agreements between state employees in the state personnel system and the executive branch of state government.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order which clarifies that in the event an appointee to the Court of Appeals does not receive Senate consent the Court of Appeals Nominating Commission will forward an additional nominee for the governor’s consideration. That nominee will be selected from the applicants for the same vacancy and will be considered along with the two remaining nominees already submitted for that vacancy.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR showed his ongoing commitment to transparency by releasing his tax returns for 2019 and once again called on other officeholders to do the same. The governor also released his 2019 Statement of Financial Disclosure and launched a transparency webpage listing executive flight details.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM’s Early Childhood Education and Care Department announced the formation of its Advisory Council. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER declared this month as LGBTQ Pride Month in North Carolina to honor the state’s LGBTQ+ communities and their fight for equality.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced new procurement changes to improve opportunities for minority-, women-, LGBT-, veteran- and disabled-owned businesses ¬– to compete for state government contracts and succeed in the commonwealth’s economy.

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