Govs On Deck – April 3, 2020
Good Friday afternoon 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Stay at home orders:
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS extended the state’s stay at home order through April 30th.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE extended the state’s stay at home order through May 4th.
Presidential Major Disaster Declaration:
- HAWAII and VIRGINIA announced their requests for a statewide Major Disaster Declaration was approved by President Trump.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK requested that the president issue a major disaster declaration for the state.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER called on President Trump to open a special enrollment period for the federal health care exchange.
- MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK called for an extension to the census deadline to accommodate COVID-19 health and safety measures.
- NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM is requesting the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers assist the state to update old decommissioned-type hospital buildings to expand the number of beds.
- VIRGINIA’s hospitals have asked the federal government to look to military medical facilities to expand capacity. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had evaluated 41 sites for building out bed capacity
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that all Kentucky State Parks no longer will be open for overnight stays. The facilities will be open for use during daytime hours as long as visitors maintain proper social distancing.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS issued guidance to municipalities across Colorado who are preparing for upcoming elections including encouraging absentee voting methods where possible, following social distancing guidelines, encouraging early voting and voting during off-peak hours, and drive-up voting or ballot drop off.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS issues a statement praising the federal court’s decision to ease requirements for absentee voting in the upcoming April 7 election.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced new resources to help small businesses in the state. Beginning today, small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can apply for a loan from the federal government for up to $10 million. Additionally, the state will allocate $50 million to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for loan guarantees to small businesses to help eliminate barriers to capital for individuals who do not qualify for federal funds, including low wealth and undocumented immigrant communities. The state is also allowing small businesses to defer payment of sales and use taxes of up to $50,000, for up to 12 months.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order prohibiting all hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and short-term residential rentals (including those arranged through online hosting platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo) from renting to customers for leisure or vacation purposes. Instead, lodging at these facilities must be limited to essential purposes.
- OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced the launch of the Coronavirus Small Business Resource Navigator, which will help connect small businesses to financial support and information they need to stay in business through the COVID-19 crisis.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR recommended that school districts statewide extend the suspension of in-person instruction until at least May 1.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the special enrollment period for individual health insurance will be extended to run through April 30, 2020.
- CONNECTICUT’s health insurance marketplace – Access Health CT – announced that it is extending the deadline for the new special enrollment period for uninsured residents to enroll in health insurance plans to April 17th.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order enabling the Department of Social Services to provide relief to various providers, including nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for the intellectually disabled, and residential care homes, by way of a temporary rate increase without being subject to rehearings.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that residents in 36 state nursing homes who have tested positive with COVID-19 are in the process of being separated and placed in either other wings of existing facilities or moved to entirely separate dwellings, some that have been vacant in recent years.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that plans are moving ahead to convert the state fairgrounds in Louisville into a 2,000-bed makeshift hospital.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that Minnesota’s health plans have agreed to waive cost-sharing for treatment of COVID-19. This move comes in response to the Governor’s Commissioners of Health and Commerce sending a letter urging the health plans to remove barriers to coverage.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced an administrative order that permits blood donation drives to continue in order to meet the critical medical needs of New Jersey residents.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that, because of the high number of cases, the temporary emergency medical facility being run at the Javits Center by the US Army will accept COVID positive patients. Originally, the facility was to house non-COVID patients from hospitals to open up beds.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that consumers and businesses experiencing financial hardship may defer paying premiums under individual and small group health insurance policies. During this period, health plans will be required to continue to pay claims, not to report late payments to credit rating agencies, and to work with individuals to help them transition to new coverage, if appropriate. Insurers cannot impose late payment fees. Cuomo thanked CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT for his collaboration on this initiative.
- NEW YORK is extending its special enrollment period through May 15, 2020 to allow uninsured New Yorkers to apply for coverage through NY State of Health or directly to insurers.
- RHODE ISLAND is expanding testing to all individuals exhibiting symptoms.
PPE / equipment supplies:
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR called on anyone who could make donations of gloves or other PPE supplies to please do so in the face of concern over dwindling supplies.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order authorizing the New Jersey State Director of Emergency Management to use the Governor’s full authority under the Disaster Control Act to commandeer personal services and/or real or personal property, including medical supplies and equipment from private companies and institutions.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the State has begun conducting a hospital-by-hospital survey on a nightly basis to take inventory of every hospital’s supplies. All hospitals are being asked to contribute the supplies they don’t currently need to a central stockpile to be distributed to hospitals with the greatest need.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO is also encouraging any company with the proper equipment or personnel to begin to manufacture PPE products if possible. The state is willing to provide funding to any company to obtain the proper equipment and personnel.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM, in partnership with Bitwise Industries and the Kapor Center, announced the launch of OnwardCa.org, a new platform connecting displaced California workers with more than 70,000 job opportunities in critical industries.
- CONNECTICUT’s Department of Social Services announced that all households enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum food benefit allowable for their household size, even if they aren’t usually eligible for the maximum benefit.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order prohibiting all employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or one of their close contacts tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of the disease.
Homeowner / renter relief:
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order restricting all water shutoffs to homes and small businesses while the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the executive order will restore water for occupied residences that may have had their water shut off as of March 4, 2020.
- CONNECTICUT’s Department of Social Services announced that it is extending the application period for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program.
- NEW JERSEY’s Departments of Children and Families and Human Services issued guidance for the Emergency Child Care Assistance Program for children of workers designated as ‘essential’ under Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 110. Through this program, the state will help support child care costs for essential workers.
Domestic violence / sexual assault prevention:
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order suspending the requirement that victims of domestic abuse sign an application for an order of protection under oath before a notary or attorney. Instead, the order enables them to sign an application outside the presence of a third party under the penalty of false statement.
- ILLINOIS’ Department of Human Services is launching a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its current statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The plan expands the role of the Domestic Violence Helpline by creating a one-stop access point for shelter needs, takes steps to establish an emergency fund to support local providers, gives Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention providers a three-month advance of their current grant to support continuations of services and respond to the needs of domestic violence survivors, provides the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault with a grant advance to enhance the capacity of local rape crisis centers statewide to aid sexual assault survivors., and advances grant funds to Partner Abuse Intervention Program grantees for programs costs related to COVID-19.
Public communication efforts:
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER launched a new statewide effort today called ‘All in Illinois’ to reinforce the state’s core message, backed by scientists and public health experts: stay at home and stay safe.
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced a new text alert system that will provide timely COVID-19 updates and other critical guidance directly from the governor’s office to Louisiana residents.
- NEW YORK has issued a new PSA providing information on how to apply for unemployment benefits and reassuring New Yorkers that everyone will receive full benefits even if their filing is delayed.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR expanded a recent order restricting travel to include people from out of state coming into the commonwealth. Anyone from out of state must self quarantine for 14 days.
- DELAWARE announced that three dozen inmates who are employed in the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center garment shop began producing cotton face masks for the correctional system and first responders.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the partial resumption of state government operations and the delivery of various services as of Monday, April 6th.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced plans to commute the sentences for hundreds of non-violent offenders to help reduces the risk of virus transmission for an at-risk population as well as for Department of Corrections officers and other personnel.
- MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK issued a directive implementing measures at correctional facilities to protect inmates and staff. The directive suspends new transfers into Department of Corrections custody, except where authorized by the Director, requires screening anyone who arrives at a facility and restricting all in-person visitation. Inmates will have access to one free video visit and one free phone call each week and the department will continue facilitating unmonitored calls for inmates to communicate with attorneys as necessary. The Board of Pardons and Parole will also consider early release for older inmates, inmates who have medical conditions that make them high risk, pregnant inmates, and inmates nearing their release date
- MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK issued a directive allowing Montanans to renew their driver’s licenses online and by mail and extended the deadline to complete title and registration paperwork.
- NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed an executive order requiring the New Mexico Department of Transportation to issue special permits to allow heavier-than-normal vehicles to traverse the state when their loads consist primarily of relief supplies.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced an initial $2.5 million in emergency funding to shelter Virginia’s statewide homeless population. This emergency support will provide temporary housing for those who are currently unsheltered or rely on shelters that require them to leave every day. The funding will also provide housing for individuals in shelters that may need to be quarantined, or where social distancing is not feasible.
Friday feel good:
- MAINE MED launched an online platform to share our gratitude and well wishes with our health care workers on the frontlines of this public health crisis.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO gave us a much needed smile when she reassured children that yes, the Easter Bunny, is an “essential worker.”
Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!