Govs On Deck – April 6, 2020
Good Monday 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.
Presidential Major Disaster Declaration:
- MAINE and NEVADA announced their requests for a statewide Major Disaster Declaration was approved by President Trump.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ requested that the president issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the state.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR said there will be a need to crack down on those who continue to ignore guidance and gather in public without practicing social distancing. People can go out for groceries and supplies and, when practicing social distancing, for walks or other exercise in their neighborhood, but otherwise need to stay at home.
- PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF issued updated guidance for the stay-at-home order for religious gatherings, encouraging religious leaders to find alternatives to in-person gatherings and to avoid endangering their congregants.
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS is encouraging small business owners across the state to immediately apply for assistance with payroll, rent and other operational expenses through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced the COVID-19 Testing Task Force, a public-private collaboration that will work with stakeholders across the state to quickly and significantly boost California’s testing capacity. The Task Force plans to scale up testing as demand increases.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order relaxing certain state privacy and security laws for medical providers, so they can provide telehealth services without the risk of being penalized.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order protecting health care professionals and health care facilities, including nursing homes and field hospitals, from lawsuits for acts or omissions undertaken in good faith in support of the state’s COVID-19 response.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order protecting those who are uninsured and those who are insured and are treated by an out-of-network emergency services health care provider from surprise bills and other significant costs. This will ensure that individuals receiving care are not being financially burdened.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced the state’s 213 nursing homes are receiving a 10 percent across-the-board increase in Medicaid payments to help meet extraordinary costs. The payment increase will be applied toward employee wages, including staff retention bonuses, overtime, and shift incentive payments; and new costs related to screening of visitors, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and housekeeping supplies.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRIZTKER announced the completion of the first phase of work to transform the McCormick Place Campus into a new Alternate Care Facility for COVID-19 patients.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the state’s request to recover Medicaid federal match rates and provide federal funds for a payment benefiting over 50 rural hospitals in the commonwealth.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ unveiled a new State of Minnesota COVID-19 dashboard that tracks the virus in Minnesota and provides the latest available data on available ventilators, ICU beds, personal protective equipment, and testing. The dashboard will be updated daily.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the federal government is deploying approximately 1,000 personnel to New York State, including doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and therapists, to help the state’s overwhelmed hospital systems.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO will issue an executive order allowing medical students that are slated to graduate to begin practicing immediately to help with the state’s surge health care force.
- RHODE ISLAND Is setting up surge sites to provide hospital-level care at the Rhode Island Convention Center, the former Citizens Bank building on Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston, and the former Lowe’s building at Quonset. Once complete, these sites will be staffed and equipped with the medical resources needed to treat more than 1,000 people.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced the establishment of a $5 million COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation. The funding will be dedicated to fund nonprofit organizations working to address Rhode Islanders’ behavioral health needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced a partnership with CVS Health to make free, rapid COVID-19 tests available to all Rhode Islanders wanting to be tested who meet criteria established by the CDC.
PPE / equipment supplies:
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin. NEWSOM announced the launch of a new website that will allow individuals and companies to donate, sell or offer to manufacture 13 of the most essential medical supplies, including ventilators, N95 respirators and testing materials.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that California will loan 500 state-owned ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile inventory to help meet the critical need.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS asked all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings when they go out of the house for essential functions like grocery shopping. The state has partnered with ColoradoMaskProject.com, where people can find patterns for making their own masks and ideas for how to help others who can’t make their own, get one.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR also announced a new initiative aimed at making it easier for people to donate personal protective equipment through a hotline and website, as well as at all Kentucky State Police posts across the commonwealth and at Transportation Cabinet offices in Louisville and Lexington.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR called on 3M to release the patent for N95 respirator amid pandemic.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state will receive over 1,000 ventilators and 140 offered by OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN from the state’s stockpile.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO will issue an executive order allowing the state to redistribute ventilators and personal protective equipment, or PPE, from institutions that don’t currently need them and redeploy the equipment to other hospitals with the highest need. The National Guard will be used to transport the ventilators and PPE across the state. The equipment will be returned to the hospital or the hospital will be reimbursed for the equipment in the future.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the state of Washington will return more than 400 ventilators received from the Strategic National Stockpile to the SNS inventory to help states facing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Worker / family support:
- MAINE state employees working in state mental health and correctional facilities will now receive extra hazard pay because of the coronavirus outbreak. More than 800 workers will benefit.
- MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced he will extend federal food assistance to more than 100,000 Montanans, increase food supplies at emergency food pantries and food banks, and streamline nutrition assistance for new mothers and children. All of these changes are made available through flexibility and funding provided in the CARES Act and will be implemented by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
Homeowner / renter / homelessness relief:
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that California has become the first state to secure FEMA approval to provide safe isolation capacity for tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness. The state’s effort has been titled Project Roomkey. State and local governments will receive up to 75 percent cost-share reimbursement from FEMA for hotel and motel rooms, including wraparound supports such as meals, security, and custodial services. Essential behavioral health and health care services will also be provided by the local governments and community partners, as needed.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended his executive order allowing counties to temporarily waive interest on delinquent property tax payments until May 1.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order temporarily suspending taxpayer filing requirements and property valuation schedules for certain taxable property.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order issuing a waiver that will allow eligibility for child care to prioritize essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced an expansion of eligibility to support essential workers’ child care needs and an increase in financial support for emergency child care centers and homes. Effective April 1st, all essential workers in health care, human services, essential government services, and essential infrastructure now qualify for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program. The state will cover most of the cost of care provided by emergency child care centers and homes. This expansion of eligibility includes those working as nurses and doctors, supporting staff in hospitals, grocery store clerks and food producers.
Domestic violence / sexual assault prevention:
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that FEMA has approved his request to add housing for survivors of domestic violence in the reimbursement guidelines it previously approved for Connecticut, which authorized the state and municipalities to receive a 75 percent reimbursement for the costs associated with providing non-congregate housing first responders and health care workers who temporarily need a place to live separate from family or roommates, and also for those who are homeless.
- NEW YORK State Police will respond to all calls to New York’s domestic violence hotline, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa announced.
Public communication efforts:
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced the launch of the “Stay Safe, Stay Home” public service announcement campaign, telling Connecticut residents they have to stay home in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The ads will be placed with CBA members stations across radio and television, and they will also be translated into Spanish.
- CONNECTICUT’s state tourism website has been adapted to feature activities residents can either do in secluded locations or safely at home through virtual experiences. This includes the creation of a list of restaurants, breweries, and vineyards that are now offering take-out and delivery services; and also a collection of online, virtual experiences about Connecticut landmarks, museums, and attractions that provide educational opportunities to engage children while staying safe at home.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER teamed up with the Detroit Lions, Pistons, Red Wings, and Tigers to release a call to action video encouraging nurses and doctors to bring their skills to Michigan as a way to volunteer and help bolster the number of health care professionals.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the launch of www.ny.gov/covid-19tracker, which will provide New York State’s comprehensive coronavirus testing data to the public.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS signed an executive order mandating that travelers arriving in Maine, regardless of their state of residency, self-quarantine for 14 days.
Response Task Forces / Volunteer efforts:
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT urged residents to consider taking on a volunteer role in their communities. The state is launching a campaign seeking volunteers from the general public who are needed for services at many different types of providers, such as food banks, deliveries to the elderly, shelters, and more.
- NEVADA’s COVID-19 task force has raised more than $10 million in contributions in its first week. The COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force was created by SISOLAK to solicit financial and equipment donations to help with the state’s fight against the coronavirus disease.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK sent a letter to State of Nevada Directors, Executive Directors, and Administrators informing them that he has directed the Governor’s Finance Office to begin working with executive branch agencies to begin identifying potential areas for reductions in their budgets due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE used his line-item veto authority today to trim $235 million from the 2020 supplemental operating budget approved last month. The vetoes will reduce spending another $210 million in the state’s next two-year budget. The supplemental budget provides needed funding to help the state respond to the fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak as well as other less-urgent increases, including funding for new or expanded programs and services.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order expanding consumer protection against price gouging by prohibiting sellers of any kind from increasing prices on food, consumer goods, medical or emergency supplies, and certain other items by more than 10 percent. The order also gives additional tools to the California Department of Justice and Attorney General’s Office, among others, to take action against price gougers.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS and Maine’s Congressional Delegation renewed their call for the Department of Defense to take action to protect the health of shipyard employees.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order renewing the restrictions on entry into care facilities and juvenile justice facilities until May 3, 2020. The order now requires facilities to use best efforts to facilitate remote visitations between individuals under their care and their loved ones, using phone or video conferencing software.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order relaxing the requirements for responding to FOIA requests made by mail or fax during the COVID-19 emergency. This action will protect workers who handle FOIA requests by allowing public bodies to defer portions of requests that would require workers to report to work in-person.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ delivered his state of the state address on Sunday.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced an administrative order allowing municipalities and counties to impose additional restrictions on short-term rentals in response to COVID-19.
- OREGON’s state agencies are asking Oregonians to voluntarily refrain from conducting outdoor burning.
- PENNSYLVANIA’s Secretary of the Department of Health signed an order providing direction for maintaining and cleaning buildings for businesses authorized to maintain in-person operations.
Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!