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Govs On Deck – April 20, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Monday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still reminding you what day of the week it is, 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:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONTDELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHYNEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMOPENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF, and RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced their appointees that will serve on the multi-state, regional council to restore the economy and get people back to work. The appointees include one health expert, one economic development expert, and the respective chief of staff from each state. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONTNEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, and NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers in their states will be allowed to open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed.

Reopening efforts:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR laid out the benchmarks the commonwealth must meet in order to start reopening the state’s economy. Benchmark criteria for Kentucky to move to the first stage includes: 14 days where cases are decreasing; Increased testing capacity and contact tracing; Personal protective equipment availability; Ability to protect at-risk populations; Ability to social distance and follow CDC guidelines on large gatherings; Preparedness for possible future spike; Status of vaccine and treatment
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced a Plan for Pennsylvania to set the state on a path to recovery. The governor outlined six key points to his Plan for Pennsylvania: Using a data-driven approach to determine reopenings; Abiding by guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities for assured accountability while reopening; Making available adequate personal protective equipment and testing before reopening; Using a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation; Keeping in place protections for vulnerable populations throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons; Limiting large gatherings unrelated to occupations through the reopening process.

Federal requests:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS issued a call with U.S. Senators Gardner and Bennett to Senate leadership to make critical improvements to the CARES Act including additional funding and critical modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses in Colorado and $500 billion in relief to states. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER sent a letter to the FEMA requesting cost-sharing requirements for emergency work be waived for the State of Michigan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elections:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order postponing the state’s presidential primary to August 11th.

Public gatherings:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order expanding allowable outdoor recreational activities including golfing, boating, fishing, hunting, and hiking, as long as they follow new outdoor recreation guidelines.

Business operations:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Economic and Community Development formed partnerships with SoFi and Equifax to expedite loan processing and payments – and lower costs – under the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program. 
  • CONNECTICUT’s AdvanceCT, the nonprofit organization that works to advance overall economic competitiveness in Connecticut, launched a survey for the state’s businesses to provide feedback to state policymakers regarding how businesses have been impacted. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed legislation allowing takeout sales of beer and wine from bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that big box stores that include garden centers are required to close open browsing and shopping options within their garden centers. Garden center sales will be temporarily limited to pickup, delivery, and appointment options. 

Schools:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
  • ILLINOIS’ Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, and Illinois Student Assistance Commission are rallying private funders to support grants to meet emergency needs of low-income students at the state’s public colleges and universities. To date the fund has raised $550,000. 
  • KENTUCKY’s Department of Education announced that Kentucky schools have provided more than 4.65 million meals, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners, to students during March.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced he is deploying the Colorado National Guard to conduct testing at the three largest nursing homes in the state.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order requiring workers at critical businesses to wear non-medical face coverings while at work and wear gloves (if gloves are provided by an employer) when in contact with customers or goods. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order requiring any person in a public place in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance from others to wear a mask or cloth face-covering. In addition, individuals shall use a mask or cloth face covering when using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing or similar service or means of mass public transit, or while within any semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that physicians who are licensed in another country but living in the United States can now apply for a temporary emergency license to practice medicine in New Jersey—the first program of its kind in the country. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the State Department of Health will begin to conduct a statewide antibody testing survey.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued an executive order directing all public and private labs in New York to coordinate with the State Department of Health to prioritize coronavirus diagnostic testing. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is working with academic partners across the state to understand how widespread cases of COVID-19 with mild or no symptoms are in the state and to monitor prevalence of the disease over time.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state is implementing a cyclical testing program for all nursing homes to be tested every 7-10 days. This involves delivering swabs to nursing homes and picking up samples the next day. Mobile testing for outbreaks will be deployed to hot spots.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO unveiled the state’s modeling projection for coronavirus hospitalizations through mid-May. The model can be found on RIDOH’s website.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed an executive order implementing several new policies to bolster Virginia’s health care workforce. The order adds physician offices and other health care facilities to have out-of-state licensees provide in-state care, allowing Virginia-licensed nurse practitioners with two or more years of clinical experience to practice without a collaborative agreement, providing additional flexibility to hospitals in the supervision of interns, residents, and fellows, and allows hospitals to use fourth year medical students in the provision of care, and expands the use of telehealth to allow physicians with licenses from another state who have current Virginia patients to continue to treat their patients via telehealth.

PPE / medical supplies:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced Kansas has received additional supplies and personal protective equipment to expand COVID-19 testing in Finney, Ford, Lyon and Seward counties.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is ready to transport 400 ventilators to Massachusetts if needed. 

Worker support:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, which insures 12,000 Rhode Island businesses, will be allowing frontline healthcare workers to file for workers compensation under the presumption that they contracted the virus in the course of doing their jobs – and will expedite those claims. This includes doctors, nurses, EMTs, home health aides and others.

Family support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order allowing for temporary waivers to certain foster youth programs including allowing county child welfare agencies and probation departments to perform necessary functions using alternative processes other than face-to-face interactions and a 60-day waiver to allow for flexibility in the emergency placement of foster youth.
  • CONNECTICUT’s Banking Commissioner issued guidance to Connecticut state-chartered financial institutions urging them to not use stimulus funds deposited into accounts to offset outstanding debts customers and members may have with their financial institution. 
  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Revenue Services launched a new assistance program specifically designed to help taxpayers subject to current DRS collections matters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN issued an executive order preventing creditors or debt collectors from garnishing federal CARES Act recovery rebate payments. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced nearly $16 million in funding for Pennsylvania food banks.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE signed a proclamation extending the suspension of utility disconnections due to nonpayment and encouraging utilities to adopt flexible credit and billing practices. 

Child care:

  • CONNECTICUT launched a new “Talk It Out” hotline for parents and caretakers in need of help with the stress and increased needs resulting from caring for their children during the pandemic.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that more support will be provided for frontline workers in need of childcare. The “Hero Relief Program” expands the Department for Children and Families’ child care assistance subsidies and provides financial support directly to child care providers. The new program specifically assists health care workers, essential workers, and first responders.

Renter / homeowner / homelessness protections:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that the state’s Project Roomkey has secured 10,974 hotel and motel rooms and 1,133 trailers for extremely vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE signed an emergency supplementary proclamation establishing an eviction moratorium preventing any eviction from a residential dwelling for failure to pay rent.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending a previous order suspending evictions. The suspension now stands until May 15th.

Response Task Forces / Volunteer efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced the formation of a state Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery that will bring together leaders from across the state’s economic and social sectors to chart a path forward on recovery.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced the first round of grants from the COVID Relief Fund. Help Colorado Now has received $21 million in grant applications and will be disbursing $4.8 million during the first round of grants to 206 organizations.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the creation of the Long-Term Care Task Force which will work to protect some of the Kentuckians who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and the health care workers who serve them.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ launched a week-long statewide homemade mask drive to create masks for donation and highlight the importance of workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesotans can deliver homemade masks to their local fire department which will then deliver the masks to local congregate living facilities for their employees and residents to wear.
  • RHODE ISLAND’s State Council on the Arts announced the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund today. Created to provide grants to RI artists who are in financial distress as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Public communication:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO launched an awareness campaign encouraging low-income New Yorkers to claim their Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act. To support the awareness campaign, the Department of Taxation and Finance launched an Economic Impact Payment information: what you need to know web page and will do direct outreach to taxpayers who may not automatically receive the payments they’re owed. 

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS issued an updated public health order that will require long-term care facilities to create a detailed isolation plan and submit it to CDPHE for review by May 1. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT directed his administration to boost Medicaid payments for all of Connecticut’s 215 nursing homes by 15 percent, providing an additional $65 million to these facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Public Health announced that its staff will be making physical, on-site visits to all of Connecticut’s 215 nursing homes and long-term care facilities over the next seven to ten days to provide additional support. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending a previous order imposing restrictions on price gouging. The suspension now stands until May 15th.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced the Stay Home, Stay MIndful website in partnership with Headspace and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide a new mental health resource for Michiganders to access for free.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order extending exemptions for vehicles and drivers providing assistance for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts for 30 days.
  • MONTANA’s Department of Corrections announced that inmates are manufacturing utility personal protective equipment to help address the shortage in the state.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed two executive orders allowing any authorized officiant to perform marriage ceremonies using online video technology, allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely, and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference.
  • RHODE ISLAND will establish a nursing home center as a COVID-19 Specialty Nursing Home. to be a central facility to accept patients who are being discharged from the hospital and who are COVID-19 positive but no longer require acute-level care. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE signed a proclamation extending the state waiver of truck driver hours restrictions through May 15.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!