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Govs On Deck – April 17, 2020

Govs on Deck

Happy Friday and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still daily, and we hope you are all 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.
A different sort of week:
Because of the quickly evolving situation, we are changing this newsletter to become a daily roundup of how our states are responding to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Every day this week, we will send an overview of the actions our governors have taken the day before. 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.
Regional efforts:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR, MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMERMINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, and WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that they will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region.

Reopening efforts:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO outlined a blueprint to unpause New York, getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus. The ultimate plan will be implemented in coordination with other states in the multi-state council. 

Stay at home orders:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO extended all “NYS on Pause” closures and restrictions through May 15th. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS extended his stay at home order to May 26th. 

Federal requests:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM sent a letter to the Virginia congressional delegation thanking them for their ongoing partnership and outlining additional requests for federal support in response to COVID-19. The letter outlines six key areas of needed investment: (1) additional flexible state funding; (2) investments in public health infrastructure; (3) support for Virginia’s families, including an increase in SNAP benefits and relief for renters, home-owners, and those experiencing homelessness; (4) support for Virginia’s workers, including expansion of unemployment benefits, health insurance, and hazard pay; (5) small business relief, including a federal recovery loan fund and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program; and (6) infrastructure investment, including funding to achieve universal broadband. 

Business operations:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order allowing for commercially licensed food trucks to be able to temporarily operate in roadside rest areas for a period of 60 days, to ensure essential infrastructure workers have access to food.  

Schools:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order adjusting admissions requirements for the California State University system to allow more flexibility in making adjustments to admissions criteria for students applying this coming fall to enter as freshmen in the fall of 2021.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS extended K-12 school closures through the end of the year.  

Health care:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced a partnership with CVS Health in an initiative that will make free, rapid COVID-19 tests available to eligible Connecticut residents and the opening of the state’s first rapid testing site.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced new COVID-19 testing sites, expansion of testing guidelines, and an elimination of supply chain problems as they relate to raw materials for testing. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced an expansion of the state’s partnership with Kroger to provide drive-through testing for the coronavirus. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the opening of state facilities to house people ill with or who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Initially, the shelters will be available at Lake Barkley and Lake Cumberland state parks.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO directed all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings on public transportation systems and while taking private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles. Additionally, all operators of public systems, private carriers and for-hire vehicles must wear a mask or face covering at all times while working. 

PPE / medical supplies:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the state has now delivered PPE from the state stockpile to all 102 counties, including local Emergency Management Agencies, all Regional Health Care Coalitions, and local health departments. In sum, the state has sent out more than 5 million surgical masks, over 1.5 million N95 masks, nearly 20,000 gowns, over 4 million gloves, and nearly 200,000 face shields.. The state has also been able to procure an additional 28 million N95 and KN95 masks, 29 million surgical and disposable masks, 8.4 million gowns and coveralls, 27 million gloves and 7.5 million face shields and goggles.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state will give 100 ventilators to NEW JERSEY.

Worker support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order granting two weeks of paid sick leave for California workers from large employers in the food sector industry, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The order fills the gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.  

Family support:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that the Department of Human Services will begin emergency SNAP benefit issuance in line with the federal government’s interpretation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Payments include a supplemental increase for both March and April and will continue to be issued for current SNAP households through April 29. 

Child care:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order allowing federal stimulus checks to flow directly to custodial parents owed back child support payments. 

Renter / homeowner protections:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS signed an executive order preventing the immediate eviction of tenants other than those who engage in dangerous or unlawful conduct for the duration of the state of emergency. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced a partnership with MaineHousing to create a new rental assistance relief program for Maine people who cannot pay their rent due to COVID-19. The $5 million COVID-19 Rent Relief Program will allow households that meet certain income and ability to pay requirements to receive a one-time, up to $500 payment in rental assistance to be paid directly to their landlord.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS sent letters to Maine financial institutions urging all financial institutions to work proactively with Maine homeowners and small businesses experiencing financial hardship from COVID-19 to help keep them in their homes and storefronts.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency has unanimously voted to suspend rent increases at all eligible properties within the Agency’s portfolio, which includes 36,000 rental units across the state.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE signed a proclamation expanding the eviction moratorium and adding additional protections for residential and some commercial tenants.

Response Task Forces / Volunteer efforts:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced the establishment of the Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force to provide guidance and advice on how to best use $1.25 billion appropriated to Montana through the Federal CARES Act to assist workers, businesses, and sectors of the economy impacted by COVID-19.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order allowing the California Department of Justice to develop procedures to perform name-based background checks to protect health and safety and avoid delays in processing employment for critical sectors, such as health care services and care and support for vulnerable populations. 
  • CONNECTICUT’s Health and Educational Facilities Authority is replacing their typical grant cycles with the FY 2021 CHEFA COVID-19 Grant Program that will focus on funding statewide efforts that are currently, or plan to be, launched by 501 (c)(3) Connecticut nonprofit entities within the next few months to respond to the crisis.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN signed an executive order directing state and local governments to take necessary measures to facilitate public participation in decision-making, helping ensure the continued operation of local government and the delivery of essential services during the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that state’s efforts to release low-level offenders from local and regional jails in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are working, and the administration’s guidelines have been effective in decreasing the jail population. The state has seen a 67 percent decline in new commitments for misdemeanors and a 17 percent decrease in jail population.

Friday feelgood:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER is pulling out all the stops. The governor has enlisted Chicago Shedd Aquarium residents, chief among them, Wellington, the iconic rockhopper penguin, for a new video that reinforces an important message for families and children: stay home and practice social distancing to help protect your community. The video highlights the importance of social distancing, proper hand washing and avoiding gatherings as ways to stay safe and healthy. And it is wonderful. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands (just like the otters)!