Govs On Deck – April 30, 2021
Happy Friday, folks! Welcome to 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 announced that he is proposing to launch an initiative that will allow all children in Connecticut to visit museums throughout the state free of charge during the upcoming summer months. The initiative was included as part of the proposal the governor presented earlier this week to the Connecticut General Assembly to allocate the federal COVID-19 recovery funding Connecticut is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act. This summer museum portion of the proposal is part of the governor’s larger plan to provide students and families with engaging summer enrichment and learning experiences in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS outlined his plan for spending $1.6 billion in federal funding coming to Louisiana through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to keep Louisiana on the road to post-pandemic recovery by investing in infrastructure, keeping the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund solvent, addressing Louisiana’s aging water systems, assisting the tourism industry and supporting Louisiana’s ports.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY authored an op-ed recognizing the progress made during President Biden’s first 100 days in office. The op-ed was co-signed by GOP Mayor William Pikolycky.
- PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF joined President Joe Biden at William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia to celebrate Amtrak’s 50th anniversary and to highlight the need for critical rail and public transit infrastructure investments.
Joint state action:
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER helped lead a bipartisan coalition of more than 50 current and former state officials in releasing an open letter thanking businesses for speaking out in support of voting rights and encouraging more to do so. The letter was signed by KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR, LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS, MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS, MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ, NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN, PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF, VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM, WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE, and WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS.
- OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN extended her declaration of a state of emergency for COVID-19 for 60 days, until June 28, 2021, unless earlier rescinded or extended.
- HAWAI’I’s government agencies along with private-sector and non-profit partners have launched a full-scale outreach effort to ensure every individual who wants a COVID-19 vaccination can get one. The collaborative effort has focused on vulnerable populations, especially for those in underserved communities who speak English as their second language and may not know how to navigate the healthcare system or vaccination registration process. To ensure easy access and convenience, teams are bringing the vaccinations into their communities.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced Detroit Tigers great Miguel Cabrera has volunteered to serve as a co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission and help promote the state’s COVID-19 vaccination and education efforts.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK highlighted the State’s progress in COVID-19 immunization efforts for members of Nevada’s hospitality and tourism workforce after touring the MGM Resorts vaccination clinic.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced the Your Voice, Your Shot video contest which urges New Jersey residents to share why they and others are getting vaccinated. The contest calls for compelling, creative, and captivating video. After the submission window closes, a select number of finalists will be chosen. The public will then be invited to vote on their favorites. The winning video will be used in the State of New Jersey’s COVID-19 public health campaign.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York State will provide 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses and establish a new pop-up site targeting 16 to 25-year-olds in Buffalo. The governor also announced that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will provide 1,000 day passes to help eligible residents reach the pop-up site.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER set the state of Michigan on a pathway to return to normal by unveiling the ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan as the state continues to push toward its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 years or older. To facilitate this goal, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order permitting summer youth overnight and day camps for the 2021 season. The order requires all overnight and day camps to follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols outlined in guidance issued today by the New Jersey Department of Health.
- NEW MEXICO’s Department of Health announced the updated statewide COVID-19 map, with updated key health metrics used to assign risk levels to counties under the Red-Yellow-Green COVID-19 framework now in effect. The updates to the criteria, announced by the governor and state officials on Wednesday, are made as the state’s nation-leading vaccine distribution effort is over time likely to reduce the number of asymptomatic people seeking out and receiving tests for COVID-19.
- NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced an important state target: When 60 percent of eligible New Mexicans have been fully vaccinated, which state modeling projects may occur as early as the end of June, the state will graduate out of the color-coded county risk system and remove most pandemic-related restrictions on commercial activities. Although a mask requirement while around others will remain in place, and certain COVID-Safe Practices will be required for specific activities, this target will represent the most significant removal of restrictions since the onset of the pandemic.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York City indoor dining will expand to 75 percent capacity beginning Friday, May 7. This brings New York City in line with the rest of New York State. The governor also announced that hair salons, barbershops, and other personal care services will expand to 75 percent capacity beginning May 7. New York City gyms and fitness centers will expand to 50 percent capacity beginning May 15. All changes are subject to state public health guidance including social distancing and masks.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the Buffalo Marathon will return this year on June 26 and 27 for its twentieth anniversary. The race will operate at roughly 50 percent of its typical capacity with additional health and safety protocols for participants, event staff, and volunteers.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER signed an executive order outlining safety measures for the month of May. Executive Order No. 209 will take effect April 30 and is set to expire June 1. As more North Carolinians get vaccinated and adhere to safety protocols over the course of the next month, the state anticipates lifting more restrictions on June 1.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to adopt new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on mask use in outdoor settings.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed a bill that will give small businesses hit hardest by this pandemic a $6.2 billion tax cut over the next six years – a critical lifeline that will help get our small businesses back on their feet and an important component of California’s economic recovery strategy.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY encouraged Kansas small businesses to continue to apply for the 2021 Federal Paycheck Protection Program ahead of the program’s extended deadline of May 31st. Kansans can continue to submit applications for forgivable loans for pandemic-battered small businesses.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced $6.7 million in relief aid is being distributed to New York’s seafood, marine commercial, and for-hire fishing industries after excessive business losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New York State will distribute an additional $5.7 million in the coming months, for a total of $12.4 million, through the Marine Fisheries Relief Program, which administers federal funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER signed an executive order to help North Carolina’s businesses recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order No. 210 extends the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s authorization to permit the delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages as an alternative to on-site consumption through June 1, 2021.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order temporarily suspending statutes to maintain eligibility for Medicaid and Children’s Basic Health Plan enrollees.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY encouraged Kansas medical and behavioral health providers to apply for the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Qualifying providers have the opportunity to apply for federal funding between April 29 and May 6.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order ordering expedited unemployment insurance claim processing to provide relief to Coloradans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE rescinded his May 2020 directive which froze state agency hiring, personal service contracts, and equipment purchases.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR requested federal funding to assist more counties severely impacted by the Feb. 27–March 14, 2021, flooding.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS signed an executive order calling a special election for the 37th Assembly District, as a vacancy has been created by the election of State Senator John Jagler to the 13th Senate District.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK’s proposal to create a State Public Health Resource Office house in the Division of Public and Behavioral Health was introduced in the Nevada State Senate. Senate Bill 424 will establish a Public Health Resource Office in the Department of Health and Human Services under the Division of Public and Behavioral Health and will be charged with identifying opportunities for improved coordination, state infrastructure needs, federal funding opportunities, and improve public health delivery systems throughout the State.
- NEW JERSEY’s Economic Development Authority, in partnership with Nurture NJ and First Lady Tammy MURPHY, issued a Request for Information seeking input to inform the establishment of a Center for Maternal and Infant Health in Trenton which will be dedicated to innovation and research, with an emphasis on addressing racial disparities and ensuring equity in care and outcomes for mothers and infants.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM’s Administration, in partnership with the Virginia Council on Women, unveiled a statewide Maternal Health Strategic Plan to guide the Commonwealth in its ongoing work to eliminate the racial disparities in Virginia’s maternal mortality rate by 2025, a goal the Governor announced in June 2019.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed the Healthy Terminals Act which creates new minimum wage and benefits requirements for certain Newark Liberty International Airport and Newark Liberty International Train Station workers. The legislation will expand access to livable wages and affordable health care for workers at the airport and train station who often cannot afford employer-provided health care plans.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced more than $21 million to cover utility bill arrearages for more than 36,000 qualifying utility customers across Wisconsin through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that $15 million is available to help low-income New Yorkers who suffer from serious health issues exacerbated by heat to stay cool during the upcoming summer months.
School and students:
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that he has signed into law legislation that updates Connecticut’s immunization requirements for students attending PreK-12 schools, daycare centers, and institutions of higher education by removing exemptions that are not medical.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS signed Senate Bill 69, now Wisconsin Act 30, requiring lessons about the Holocaust and other genocides be incorporated into social studies education for Wisconsin students throughout grades five to twelve.
Law enforcement reform:
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ released a statement after receiving a letter led by the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus of the Minnesota Senate, which outlined a plan to pass police reform quickly and independently from other bills. The governor said that he “stand[s] with the POCI Caucus in full support of this bill” and urged Republicans in the legislature to put politics aside to pass the reforms.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER proclaimed May as Asian American-Pacific Islander Heritage Month to celebrate the many contributions Asian Americans have made, and continue to make, to North Carolina’s communities, schools, and workforce. This year’s proclamation also serves as a reminder of the need to stop the increased discrimination that many members of the Asian American-Pacific Islander community have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that the Consumers and Climate First Act was introduced in the General Assembly. The legislation provides a path for Illinois to help lead the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy. The bill serves as a starting point — a series of markers intended to help guide the energy negotiations underway in Springfield.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced a new funding opportunity and unveiled an updated plan to spend its share of the multi-billion-dollar federal Volkswagen (VW) Settlement. Illinois is seeking applicants for $9 million in funding to electrify school buses in the Chicagoland area and Metro-East. Illinois is also proposing to revamp its VW Beneficiary Mitigation Plan to award funds to replace old diesel engines with all-electric school buses, public transit, and infrastructure projects to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from mobile sources in the areas of Illinois that disproportionately bear the impacts of climate change.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, joined by Heartland Community College and Rivian, announced an investment to build two advanced manufacturing training academies to expand training for high-demand manufacturing jobs in Illinois. A $15 million capital investment through the Governor’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan will establish two downstate manufacturing training academies that will provide hundreds of Illinois residents the opportunity to develop specialized skills for a career in advanced manufacturing.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced nearly $1 million in funding from the Community Development Block Grant program for communities in Western Kentucky. Recipients will use funds to purchase land for the Western Kentucky Regional Training Center in Webster County and to upgrade the outdated Job Corps Sewer system in Union County.
- PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the approval of 33 projects through the Municipal Assistance Program to assist local governments with floodplain management, creating comprehensive plans, and incorporating the humanities into community plans in 20 counties.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY sent a letter to President Biden and to certain members of the House of Representatives urging them to support the aviation industry, create jobs, and encourage economic development in Kansas by sustaining and modernizing the F-35 Lightning II program.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced Kentuckiana Curb Co. Inc. plans to add 700 high-wage jobs in Shelby County with a $60 million investment to establish a new location in Simpsonville.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced tofu producer House Foods America Corp. plans to locate its first Kentucky facility in Louisville Riverport Authority’s Phase 5 development with a $146.3 million investment that will create 109 full-time jobs.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Dante Valve Company will invest $1.9 million to expand its operation in the City of Norfolk. The company will add 10,000 square feet to its facility at 1324 Ballentine Boulevard to increase production and better serve its East Coast customers. The project will create 40 new jobs.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Ridgeline International, Inc. will invest $1.75 million to expand its operation in Fairfax County. The company will increase capacity to develop customized solutions that help its clients implement secure communications and guard against security threats, creating 162 new jobs.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Modine Manufacturing Company will invest $7 million to establish a manufacturing facility in Rockbridge County. The company will convert its former warehouse located at 360 Collierstown Road into an operation producing highly engineered data center cooling solutions. Virginia successfully competed with several other states for the project, which will create 60 new jobs after full ramp-up.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Traeger Grills will invest nearly $3 million to establish a new grill pellet manufacturing operation in Wythe County. The company’s new location will purchase forest products sourced exclusively from Virginia’s robust hardwood resource and hire 15 new employees.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS celebrated the completion of a crane in the Port of Manitowoc that is securing existing jobs, creating new jobs, and bringing a source of major economic development to the region.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY ceremonially signed a bill that will require electric utilities to take certain steps before exercising eminent domain to construct an urban electric transmission line in Kansas. The bipartisan legislation ensures Kansans can communicate openly with utilities about new transmission lines that may affect their homes, businesses, and communities.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS issued a statement congratulating nurses at Maine Medical Center on their vote to unionize.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK hosted a “Mentorship and Your Future” panel, as part of the Women’s Leadership Series. The series of roundtable discussions are a way to continue to highlight female leadership across the State and create connections to the next generation of leaders.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Dan MCKEE announced $50,000 in donations to the Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund. The donations were the result of a fundraising campaign spearheaded by the governor last year.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation related to gypsy moths. The proclamation makes a formal finding that there is an imminent threat of non-native gypsy moth infestation in parts of Cowlitz County. This order authorizes the Department of Agriculture to respond to that threat of infestation with emergency measures, including aerial spraying.
Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. See you all on Monday!