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Govs On Deck – April 30, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Thursday 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.
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 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.
Stay at home orders:

  • NEVADA  Gov. Steve SISOLAK signed a directive extending a majority of the Stay at Home measures through mid-May, but will be easing some restrictions starting on May 1. Nevada will continue to remain under the Stay at Home order, but this new directive will allow Nevadans expanded outdoor and recreational activities and provide some relief for small business owners. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that dozens of organizations, which collectively represent more than one million Wisconsinites, voiced their support for the extension of Safer at Home in briefs filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. On April 21, 2020, Legislative Republicans asked the Court to block Safer at Home without offering any alternative plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed a response to the lawsuit. 

Emergency declarations: 

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY will issue a new disaster declaration to replace the current declaration as part of her administration’s ongoing efforts to protect Kansans’ health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current declaration will expire Friday, May 1.

Reopening plans:

  • KENTUCKY  Gov. Andy BESHEAR laid out the state’s plan to gradually reopen business activities. The governor unveiled a tentative reopening schedule for a variety of businesses allowed to resume operations between May 11 and May 25. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced a new COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard to aid the state in gauging when and how to best lift restrictions around ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy” in Washington.

Federal requests:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting he allow some local processing in order to avoid food waste and get local meat to Montana food banks for Montanans hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19.

Public gatherings:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order reopening state parks and golf courses, and restoring the authority of county governments to determine whether county parks will be open or closed. The order takes effect at sunrise on Saturday, May 2. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO made clear that it is highly unlikely that groups of more than 50 people will be able to gather at any point this summer. She recommended that anyone planning an event with more than 50 people through the summer cancel, postpone, or find a way to celebrate virtually instead.

Elections:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY today signed an executive order allowing county and municipal clerks to accept initiative and referendum petitions electronically, and allowing signatures for these petitions to be collected electronically.

Schools:

  • MONTANA’s School Safety Advisory Committee issued guidance to schools and families today regarding best practices for re-entry and partial re-entry back into schools based on the three phases issued by the governor for reopening our state. In coordination with local public health departments, school districts may begin the preparations for the reopening of schools on May 7.  
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Virginia has secured relief options for more than 200,000 Virginians with privately held student loans. The payment relief is the result of a new initiative by Virginia and several other states to work with the major private student loan servicers to expand on protections for federal student loan borrowers through the CARES Act. 

Business operations:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE clarified initial guidance for the state’s plan to allow current construction projects to be completed.  

Health care:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order reaffirming the state’s commitment to equitable access to health care and requires health care facilities to develop protocols that ensure non-discrimination in the event demands for critical health care resources exceed availability.  
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ and the State Emergency Operations Center have finalized a lease agreement for an alternate care site in Roseville to provide low-level medical care or monitoring, should it ever be needed.
  • NEW YORK’s Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa today issued a report to Gov. Andrew CUOMO outlining the COVID-19 Maternity Task Force’s initial recommendations which were accepted in full. The recommendations include measures to diversify birthing site options and support patient choice; extend the period of time a healthy support person can accompany a mother post-delivery; mandate testing of all pregnant New Yorkers; ensure equity in birthing options; create an educational campaign; and review the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and newborns with special emphasis on reducing racial disparities in maternal mortality.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 35 counties have been approved to resume elective outpatient treatments.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed into law a bill that allows for National Guard members called to active duty to be covered under the Heart and Lung Act if they contract COVID-19 while performing their duties.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that nearly $324 million in funding has been awarded to 31 hospitals across the commonwealth through the Hospital Emergency Loan Program which provides short-term financial relief as hospitals combat the surge of COVID-19 cases in their area.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF governor released cross-agency guidance on telehealth to ensure that patients in need of vital health care services are receiving them in a timely, appropriate manner. The guidance includes: expanded role of providers; expanding reimbursements for telehealth services; telehealth for infant, toddler early intervention procedures; telehealth for behavioral health; and telehealth for substance use disorder treatment. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM said Virginia is ready to safely resume non-emergency dental and medical procedures once his public health order expires tonight at midnight.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced additional guidance for the existing order on limiting non-urgent medical procedures to provide clarification on what type of procedures are permitted under the order and lays out guidelines for what PPE health care workers should have and how long they should use it.

Testing and tracing:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that, to date, 67,094 tests have been conducted in the state with the goal of increasing testing from 3,000 to 5,000 per day by early May and up to 8,500 by the end of May.
  • COLORADO’s Department of Public Health and Environment has grown its COVID-19 epidemic response team from 31 staff to 56 staff, nearly doubling capacity to perform outbreak response, case investigation, and contact tracing work through a contract with the Colorado School of Public Health.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK outlined a framework to ramp up COVID-19 testing capacity in Montana over the next several months with a goal to eventually conduct 60,000 tests per month and prioritize testing for vulnerable people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, tribal communities, and those with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York State is now conducting an average of 30,000 diagnostic tests for COVID-19 per day. The state is working with the federal government to double New York’s testing capacity from 20,000 tests per day to 40,000 tests per day over several weeks.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is testing today 1,000 transit workers for antibodies to further determine the spread of infections among our frontline workers. The State is working with BioReference to provide antibody tests to first responders and other essential workers from the MTA, State Police, DOCCS, and others.

PPE / medical supplies:

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced that a machine capable of decontaminating personal protective equipment for reuse will be fully functional starting this weekend.

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Labor today launched a website containing spreadsheets that breaks down information on people who have filed for unemployment in the state by age, industry, gender, and town. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced the “Futures for Frontliners” program to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who don’t have a college degree. This includes employees in hospitals, food services, child care, manufacturing, public safety, and other essential industries. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that she is expanding the state’s Workshare Program to allow employers to reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance benefits as well as the additional $600 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance weekly benefit.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced that recipients of federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to the self-employed, independent contractors and others who are not usually eligible for unemployment insurance benefits will start being notified of their PUA eligibility today, and the Department will begin making payments Friday.   

Family support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM unveiled $3.64 million in new funding to expand the state’s Farm to Family program, including $2.86 million from the USDA and $775,000 committed by philanthropy to jumpstart a $15 million campaign to further support the program through the end of the year. 
  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that CalFresh recipients will receive the maximum benefits for the month of May. Families with children eligible for free or reduced-price meals are eligible to receive additional support. Additionally, Newsom announced the launch of the EBT for online purchasing.

Child care:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced a $130 million investment to make child care more affordable and accessible for Michigan families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan has created the “Child Care Relief Fund” to provide direct, non-competitive grants to child care providers. 

Response task forces / relief efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS named the members of his Equity Task Force.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT is urging community stakeholders throughout the state – including municipal officials, community-based organizations, nonprofit providers, and philanthropic partners – to establish local long-term recovery committees that will help meet urgent needs, accelerate recovery, and expedite coordination with the state’s emergency management structure in the ongoing response and recovery efforts.
  • NEW JERSEY First Lady Tammy MURPHY announced her plans to join New Jersey’s COVID-19 volunteer effort. The First Lady will lend a hand at volunteer sites across New Jersey to provide support and spotlight the many essential non-profits throughout the state.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA First Partner Jennifer Siebel NEWSOM will host an interactive virtual storytime via Facebook Live on April 30th from 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., on  Día de los Libros.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO directed the MTA to issue a full plan by tomorrow, April 30th, on how it will clean and disinfect every train, every night in response to reported deteriorations of the conditions in the subways during the pandemic.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS’ administration is rolling out plans to cut many state operations by 5% as costs rise and revenue plummets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!