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Govs On Deck – August 12, 2020

Govs on Deck

It’s Wednesday, everyone, and welcome to another edition of “Govs on Deck!” As a reminder, we are still sending out this newsletter on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Let’s get to it.

As always, questions or suggestions? Send me a note at You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy@JerusalemDemsas, and @andersonkayjay.

We want this to be helpful, so let us 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.

COVID-19 response:

Federal requests: 

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and Colorado’s legislative leadership called on the U.S. Senate to pass a real relief package that provides support to Colorado schools and state and local governments and extends unemployment insurance for Coloradans.

Legal action:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER won another legal victory defending his COVID-19 executive orders on Tuesday, this time when a judge rejected Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s demand that they be blocked by declaring his lawsuit is unlikely to succeed.

Reopening efforts:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued new guidance for agricultural events and updated guidance for indoor fitness and religious and faith-based services.

Face coverings:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER issued a statement following the ruling from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules which upheld enforcement fines for the governor’s mask mandate.


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended and amended an executive order concerning limiting in-person contact for the 2020 elections and the Secretary of State’s operations due to the presence of COVID-19 in the State. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order clarifying several administrative steps in the management of absentee ballots for yesterday’s primary.

Business guidance:

  • KENTUCKY bars are allowed to reopen and restaurants to increase their capacity. Both bars and restaurants can operate at 50% of capacity, as long as other guidance requiring social distancing, facial coverings, and sanitation is followed.


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced new guidance asking schools to wait until Sept. 28 to begin in-person classes.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced an administrative order authorizing the reopening of computer labs at private and public colleges and universities in New Jersey. Computer labs at public and private colleges and universities must abide by the health and safety protocols as well as sanitization requirements that are described in the order.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER directed $95.6 million in new funding to help support K-12 and postsecondary students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who can benefit from support during the upcoming school year. The funding is North Carolina’s share of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, a part of the federal CARES Act. 
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Education said it is adjusting its 2020-21 school year calendar to begin classes for students on Monday, September 14th. The first day of school was initially scheduled for August 31st.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes to maintain eligibility for Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan.
  • COLORADOGov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order allowing for the temporary suspension of certain statutes and rules to expand the healthcare workforce for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER vetoed a state Senate bill that would make patients receiving treatment at a hospital and residents in nursing homes powerless to seek relief when they are harmed in any but the most egregious cases, regardless of the type of emergency or disaster declared by the governor.


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced the first phase of the New Jersey Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program, designed to ensure that the State’s small businesses and nonprofits have access to the fairly priced personal protective equipment necessary to facilitate safe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing/contact tracing:

  • GUAM Gov. Lou Leon GUERRERO and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Worker support:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending existing safety measures, including 2 hours a week of reserved shopping time for vulnerable populations, to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies.   
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK signed legislation that seeks to protect the lifeblood of Nevada’s economy, both small businesses and hospitality workers. The measure balances the protection of workers and the needs of the business community to stay afloat during the pandemic and subsequent economic crisis.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN criticized Senate Republican legislators who voted down a Senate bill in committee that would have helped speed up the processing of unemployment insurance claims for thousands of Oregonians waiting for benefits.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the creation of two funds to help workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Immigrant Relief Fund will provide $40 million to assist Washington residents who are unable to access federal stimulus programs due to their immigration status, and the Food Production Paid Leave Program will provide $3 million of financial resources to certain food production workers who remain home when ill.

Homeowner/renter support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order to help prevent evictions of Coloradans economically harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending relief to public utility customers to mitigate, respond to, and recover from the current economic disruption due to the presence of COVID-19 in Colorado. 
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced the reopening of the Delaware Housing Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance for renters affected by COVID-19, and announced that emergency mortgage assistance is now available for homeowners who have missed payments due to the pandemic.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that applications for rental assistance are now available for renters who have lost a job or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, IHDA will allocate $150 million to help income-eligible residents. Following the application period for rental assistance, IHDA will open applications for Emergency Mortgage Assistance, providing $150 million to homeowners impacted by COVID-19. Taken together, these programs are the largest emergency housing assistance programs in the nation and will help approximately 40,000 households before the end of 2020. 

Child care:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced he is going to direct $50 million for increasing child care options for Montana families as well as increase the state’s child care infrastructure in response to COVID-19.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that families and caregivers in need of child care for children up to age 12 can call the child care hotline at 1-888-600-1685 to be connected directly to care options in their community that meet their families’ needs. 

Travel restrictions: 

  • CONNECTICUTNEW JERSEY, and NEW YORK’s regional travel advisory was updated to include Hawaii, South Dakota, and the Virgin Islands on the list of impacted locations. Meanwhile, the states of Alaska, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island have been removed from the list.
  • KANSAS’ Department of Health and Environment amended its travel quarantine list, removing the state of Florida and adding attendance at mass gatherings greater than 500 people.

Relief funds:

  • KANSAS’State Finance Council approved $60 million to expand broadband access, $3.9 million in reimbursements to state agencies for COVID-19 related operational expenses, and up to $5 million for consulting services for meeting the accounting and compliance requirements of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that her administration has approved an additional $4 million in awards to more than 80 municipalities and Tribal governments across the state under a second round of Keep Maine Healthy funding to support local COVID-19 public health, education, and prevention efforts.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that 18 communities across the Commonwealth will receive $278,000 in Virginia Main Street grants to accelerate the economic revitalization of their downtown districts as part of Virginia’s COVID-19 economic recovery strategy.

Long-term care:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order maintaining the strong infection control protocols in nursing homes the governor put in place at the outset of this crisis and protects residents from eviction and employees from retaliatory action for staying home when exhibiting symptoms.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced the administration’s proposal to provide long-term care facilities with $155 million in additional funding as they look to reopen to visitors and resume normal operations. The funding—which will be a mix of state and federal monies—will allow for the implementation of a new DOH directive for the safe reopening of long-term care facilities for indoor visitation by appointment and other activities if the facilities have no COVID-19 cases among residents or staff.

Special sessions:

  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN issued a statement thanking state legislators for their work as the special legislative session wrapped up.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced $81.8 million in additional commitments from private and philanthropic partners to provide resources and services for individuals needing to isolate or quarantine. The effort builds on the state’s comprehensive actions to support diverse communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Beyond COVID-19 

Economic development:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that Schwan’s Company, a leading food producer in the United States, will build a new 400,000 square-foot expansion at its pizza-manufacturing facility in Salina. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC (RCH), a leading national name in retirement plan services, will create 300 new jobs in Mecklenburg County, 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that Beam Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing precision medicines through DNA base editing, plans to build a manufacturing facility in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, creating 201 jobs. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that OraSure Technologies Inc., a developer and manufacturer of rapid diagnostic tests, collection and stabilization devices headquartered in Northampton County, will expand its manufacturing operations in the Lehigh Valley, creating 177 new, full-time jobs and retaining 233 jobs.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Greenswell Growers, Inc. will invest more than $17 million to establish a new commercial hydroponic greenhouse operation in Goochland County’s West Creek Industrial Park. 


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation prohibiting housing providers from discriminating against a person who relies on an animal for assistance alleviating symptoms or the effects of a disability. Housing providers must now provide reasonable accommodation by permitting a support animal to live in a home that otherwise would have prohibited pets. 

Racial justice: 

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced proposed changes to the financing tools New York makes available to municipalities that will prioritize Environmental Justice areas for water infrastructure projects. The changes would help address the historic inequities faced by low-income communities and communities of color that have borne the brunt of the worst environmental impacts.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced, in partnership with Google, that the forthcoming update to the company’s Android operating system will incorporate California’s earthquake early warning technology into all Android phones.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY celebrated the success of this year’s third KANSASWORKS Statewide Virtual Job Fair, which involved 189 employers and 1,182 jobseekers.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that her Administration has purchased gas detection meters for twenty fire departments across Maine. The purchase comes in the wake of last September’s explosion in Farmington, which was caused by a gas leak and claimed the life of Farmington Fire Department Captain Michael Bell and injured several others. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation extending the moratorium on live poultry markets and slaughterhouses in New York City. The bill prohibits the Department of Agriculture and Markets from issuing a license to animal slaughter establishments or live poultry markets within a 1,500-foot radius of residential buildings in New York City. The bill extends the existing moratorium for four years.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation requiring all passengers in motor vehicles over the age of 16 to wear a seat belt. Currently, passengers aged 16 and older are only required to wear a seat belt in the front passenger seat next to the driver. 

Stay safe everyone, wear a mask, and wash your hands! See you on Friday!