Govs On Deck – April 28, 2021
It’s Wednesday, it’s warm, and it’s time for today’s edition of “Govs on Deck”! As a reminder, your favorite newsletter comes out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
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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.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT provided legislative leaders and committees of cognizance with his proposal for use of the federal COVID-19 recovery funding that Connecticut is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act. The governor’s proposal make investments in five key areas: defeating COVID-19; investing in the future; creating a more affordable Connecticut; economic growth that works for all; modernizing state government
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that beginning Tuesday, April 27, 2021, more than 50 providers of COVID-19 vaccines in Connecticut will no longer require an appointment prior to providing individuals with vaccinations. Connecticut residents will be able to walk up to the clinic and receive a vaccination on the spot.
- ILLINOIS is offering partnerships with community organizations that want to host vaccine clinics in an effort to help more vulnerable Illinoisans get vaccinated. Interested organizations can apply online to bring mobile clinics to underserved communities, with a particular focus on Black and Latino communities, rural communities, immigrant communities, disability communities, and any community that has current barriers to vaccination.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced a new Pandemic Health Navigator Program launched in partnership with the Illinois Public Health Association, the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, and OSF Healthcare System. The program, already in operation in communities around the state, integrates community health centers, community-based organizations, and public health partners to coordinate available resources for Illinois regions that have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that Minnesotans can now use the Vaccine Connector to directly schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the state’s Community Vaccination Program locations.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that beginning Thursday, April 29, all New York State mass vaccination sites will be Open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in vaccination on a first come first serve basis for all. The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only with second doses to be scheduled automatically after administration of the initial shot. Additionally, all vaccine providers are encouraged to likewise allow walk-in appointments and for eligible New Yorkers.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS kicked off World Immunization Week with a video message encouraging Wisconsinites to get vaccinated. The message comes during World Immunization Week, a global public health campaign to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated against preventable diseases.
- DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued the 10th revision to the COVID-19 emergency order, easing outdoor table size restrictions in restaurants. Under the order, outdoor table size is increased to parties of 10 people. Table size inside food and drink establishments has not changed. The revision also removes certain requirements around surface cleaning and disinfection, reflecting advances in the scientific community’s understanding of how the virus is spread.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order that gives licensing agencies flexibility to start reimposing license renewal deadlines and fees, marking another step in Kansas’ continued return to normal life following the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that, based on recent studies and Kentucky’s increasing number of vaccinations, the statewide mask mandate will no longer be in effect when Kentuckians are outside at events or venues with 1,000 people or fewer. Masks are still recommended at outdoor events with 1,000 people or fewer, and the mask mandate is still in effect when Kentuckians are indoors or at any outdoor event with more than 1,000 people.
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that some mitigation measures will be eased and, starting today, the statewide mask mandate will be lifted. Mask policies in Louisiana will be set by local leaders and business owners. Under the governor’s new public health order, masks will still be required on public transit and in state government buildings, K-12 schools, early childhood education centers, colleges and universities, and healthcare facilities.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that Maine is updating its public health guidance to remove the requirement that people wear face coverings in outdoor settings. Face coverings are still required for indoor public settings, and there are no changes to Maine’s physical distancing requirements at this time. The change follows updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the use of face coverings in outdoor settings.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced the easing of restrictions for a variety of activities and higher outdoor capacity limits, effective May 10. The changes, which include higher outdoor gathering limits, higher large venue outdoor capacities, higher maximum capacities for private catered events, and more, come as COVID-19 metrics are on the decline and as more New Jerseyans continue to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31. The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31. Catered events can resume at residences beginning May 3 above the State’s residential gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, as long as the events are staffed by a professional, licensed caterer, permitted by the respective locality or municipality, and strictly adhere to health and safety guidance, including social and event gathering limits, masks, and social distancing. Also on May 3, the guidance for dancing among attendees at catered events will be aligned with neighboring states, replacing fixed dance zones for each table with social distancing and masks.
- OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced updates to county risk levels under the state’s public health framework. With hospitalizations rising above 300 people statewide, threatening to overwhelm doctors and nurses, 15 counties will move to the Extreme Risk level effective Friday, April 30 through Thursday, May 6. In addition, nine counties will be in the High Risk level, four at Moderate Risk, and eight at Lower Risk.
Schools and students:
- DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued the 10th revision to the COVID-19 emergency order, suspending Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association masking regulations to ensure consistency with the governor’s emergency orders and guidance from the Division of Public Health. Student-athletes participating in the interscholastic sports of baseball, golf, girls’ lacrosse, girls’ soccer, softball, tennis, and track and field must wear face coverings except when actively engaged in practice or gameplay while on the field.
- DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY and Secretary of Education Susan Bunting announced their plans for helping schools support students and address unfinished learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using federal funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, Delaware will focus onkey areas to support districts and charter schools in helping students make up for unfinished learning. The state received roughly $21 million for K-12 education and districts and charter schools received more than $164 million from this bill.
PPE and medical supplies:
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that California will send lifesaving oxygen equipment to India as that country faces a devastating and fast-spreading surge of COVID-19 cases.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed a bill into law, extending workers’ compensation eligibility for emergency first responders and front-line workers, which was set to expire May 1, 2021. The bill ensures that front-line workers, including doctors and nurses, firefighters, paramedics, police, long-term care workers, home health workers, correctional officers, and child care providers, continue to qualify for workers’ compensationbenefits if they test positive for COVID-19.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and several state agencies have partnered to help Coloradans access the Federal Communication Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The $3.2 billion EBB Program will help qualifying households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic by providing a discount of up to $50 per month—or $75 per month for those qualifying households on Tribal lands—toward the cost of broadband service, including a $100 benefit toward the purchase of a connected device.
- PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF is honoring nine employees from the Office of Administration and Department of Health for their efforts to deliver timely, relevant, and actionable data to inform public health and policy decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
State of the state address:
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER delivered his third State of the State address. The speech highlighted North Carolinians’ resilience throughout the pandemic and reinforced the need for legislators to work together to help the state rebuild from the pandemic even stronger by expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, investing in workforce training, and solidifying the state’s infrastructure.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed House Bill 2007, the state budget for FY 2021 and FY 2022, which passed with bipartisan support. However, she line-item vetoed certain provisos resolved in existing legislation or that would be better addressed not in this budget but through better collaboration between agencies and stakeholders.
- MAINE’s nonpartisan Revenue Forecasting Committee is expected to upgrade the State’s General Fund revenue forecast by an estimated $461.9 million for the current Fiscal Year (FY), which ends June 30, 2021, and by an estimated $460.5 million for FY 2022-2023. These projected increases surpass the amount of revenue that had been forecasted for the General Fund prior to the onset of the pandemic by approximately $83 million for FY 2021 and by approximately $58 million for FY 2022-2023.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM issued a proclamation declaring a special election for the 18th Assembly District of the State of California on August 31, 2021. The primary for the special election will be held on June 29, 2021.
Law enforcement reform:
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that following his letter calling for action, the Police Officer Standards and Training Board moved proposals to create uniform standards in how law enforcement responds to protests and prohibiting peace officers from affiliating with extremist organizations.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER issued a statement urging for a special prosecutor following the shooting of Andrew Brown. The governor said, “In the interest of justice and confidence in the judicial system, I believe a special prosecutor should handle all matters regarding the shooting in Pasquotank County.”
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER signed the Health Care and Human Services Reform Act into law. The legislation, which represents the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ healthcare pillar, takes sweeping action to address health inequities and obstacles while establishing new programs, increasing oversight and trainings, building out a Community Health Worker certification and training program, and improving transparency.
- KANSAS’ Health Institute released a report that indicates private-sector employers would save between $39.6 million and $80.6 million if Kansas opted into Medicaid expansion. Kansas businesses currently employ about 139,000 people in industries like health care, food services, and manufacturing, who would qualify with the expansion of KanCare, the program through which the state administers Medicaid. Gov. Laura KELLYhas pushed Medicaid expansion under the 2012 Affordable Care Act as a top policy priority. Two attempts to tack on bill amendments expanding Medicaid were rebuffed in the House and the Senate earlier this year.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced his endorsement and the launch of the Nevada Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative to be housed at the Department of Health and Human Services. The Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative is designed to give employers the support and resources needed to implement recovery-friendly practices and provide support for employees in recovery and those impacted by Substance Use Disorder.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that eligible Kansans can now apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telehealth grants program.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS called for passage of legislation to establish the Maine Connectivity Authority, a new entity that would be charged with achieving universal availability of high-speed broadband in Maine, during her testimony before the Legislature’s Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS’ administration introduced legislation to establish a 10-year moratorium on new offshore wind projects located in State waters. The moratorium would preserve State waters for valuable fishing and recreation while reaffirming Maine’s priority of locating offshore wind projects in Federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, where the State has proposed the nation’s first research array for floating offshore wind technology.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS signed into law Senate Bill 11 which will allow public safety officers—including law enforcement and firefighters—who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder under certain conditions to receive worker’s compensation benefits.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed the Unemployment Legislation bill, House Bill 2196, which passed with bipartisan support. The governor said that “after a decade of neglect, this bipartisan legislation is another important step to address and resolve the issues facing the Kansas Department of Labor.”
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced more than $98 million has been awarded to create 1,054 affordable homes in 20 separate developments across New York. This funding will help revitalize communities, fight homelessness, and expand access to energy-efficient, affordable housing opportunities.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that he has signed tribal-state gaming compacts between the State of California and the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California and the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe. The new compacts reflect the governor’s and the Tribes’ mutual commitment to a strong and respectful government-to-government relationship, and to promoting tribal economic development and self-sufficiency, and strong tribal government. The compacts’ terms respect the parties’ interest in improving the quality of life of tribal members through a framework that generates revenue for governmental programs, while also fairly regulating the gaming activities; affording meaningful patron and employee protections; and providing thorough environmental review for potential off-reservation impacts.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that he is recommending 13 projects for funding by the Appalachian Regional Commission, totaling $4.1 million in grants. Virginia’s Appalachian region encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities. ARC will finalize approval of these project awards later this year.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR awarded Perry County Fiscal Court more than $2 million in grants for an expansion at Dajcor Aluminum, a Canadian manufacturer of extruded and fabricated aluminum products based at the Coalfields Industrial Park in Hazard. The funds will help Dajcor add an anodize line and hire 50 additional Kentuckians.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER called Ford’s announcement that it will make a $185 million investment to develop a new 200,000 square-foot global battery center of excellence an investment that will “bolster our economy, attract innovative talent to Michigan, and help us continue to lead the world in advanced mobility and manufacturing.” The latest announcement by Ford follows their commitment to invest $22 billion in electrified vehicles by 2025.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY requested President Biden designate a state funeral upon the passing of the last World War II Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Hershel Woodrow Williams of West Virginia. The President of the United States has the sole authority to designate a state funeral.
Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. See you all on Friday!