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Govs On Deck – August 28, 2020

Govs on Deck

It’s Friday, everyone. And it’s time for another edition of “Govs on Deck!” We’re back to our tri-weekly schedule, so keep an eye out for your favorite newsletter on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

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 responses

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONTNEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, and NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO released the following joint statement regarding the federal government’s decision to weaken COVID-19 testing guidelines.
  • NEVADA’s health officials confirmed that they will not be adopting the new guidance and will continue to strongly recommend testing for all individuals – symptomatic or asymptomatic – who have been in contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Emergency declarations:

  • GUAM Gov. Lou Leon GUERRERO signed an executive order extending the public health emergency. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY extended the public health emergency. 

Stay at home orders:

  •  GUAM Gov. Lou Leon GUERRERO signed an executive order modifying and extending the stay at home order.

Reopening efforts:

  • NEVADA’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force met with seven counties flagged last week for having an elevated risk of transmission of COVID-19. Based on data provided this morning by the Department of Health and Human Services, six of the seven counties are still meeting at least two of the three criteria, signaling a sustained elevated risk of transmission. 

Public gatherings:

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM issued a revised public health emergency order that will allow houses of worship to operate at 40 percent of the maximum occupancy of any enclosed building, an increase from 25 percent, in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices. Houses of worship may, as before, conduct services outdoors or provide services through audiovisual means.


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order to assist elections officials as they prepare for the upcoming election amid the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires across the state. The order extends the deadline for county elections officials to count and verify signatures submitted for initiative petitions seeking to qualify for the November 2022 ballot, giving the elections officials needed flexibility to focus on preparations for the General Election this November.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, released a joint op-ed on their work to protect the election this fall. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS signed an executive order to protect the health and safety of Maine voters, poll workers, and election officials and to facilitate access to safe in-person and absentee voting in the November general election amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF urged the legislature to quickly pass his plan for safe and secure elections that ensures voters will receive mail-in ballots early, have time to return them, and that counties will have the time they need to quickly count the anticipated historic number of votes cast. The governor also reminded voters that the best way to make sure their vote is counted is to sign up now for a mail-in ballot and return it well before the Nov. 3 election.

Schools and students:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order that formalizes the Minnesota Department of Health guidance giving higher education institutions flexibility to hold in-person classes or activities consistent with other industries. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued guidance for infection rates on college campuses and mitigation actions schools must take when the infection rate rises above certain levels. The guidance comes following reports of students at large gatherings, and experiences in other states with clusters developing with the return to in-person classes.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation suspending the residency requirement that allows public university graduate students to receive tuition waivers in exchange for performing teaching and research functions.  Many graduate students come from outside the state and country; however, due to COVID, many of these graduates may not be able to travel to campus but they can still work remotely within online learning environments. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation prohibiting school districts from interpreting the Student Transportation statutes in a manner that would restrict a school’s ability to use its current transportation allocation for certain purposes.  

Business guidance:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order that allows cooperatives and cooperative associations flexibility to waive in-person meeting requirements, vote remotely for director elections, and forgo annual regular member meetings if a virtual meeting is not feasible. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order permitting gyms and health clubs, as well as amusement and water parks, to reopen their indoor premises to the public on Tuesday, September 1 at 6:00 a.m., provided these facilities comply with the health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM issued a revised public health emergency order that food and drink establishments (including restaurants, breweries, wineries, distillers, cafes, coffee shops, or other similar establishments) may provide indoor dining service at 25 percent of maximum occupancy, in accordance with COVID-Safe Practices.

Testing, tracing, and vaccines:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that California has signed a groundbreaking contract with a major diagnostics company, which will allow California to process up to an additional 150,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests a day, with a contractual turnaround time of 24-48 hours. The goal is to stand up a laboratory facility and begin processing tens of thousands of additional tests by November 1 and run at full capacity by ­no later than March 1, 2021.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO deployed a testing SWAT team to Western New York to address the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the region. The team will open free rapid testing sites across the region in partnership with Kaleida Health, Erie County Medical Center, and Catholic Health. Eight new testing sites will open on Saturday, August 29.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that 23 awardees will receive $10 million in grant funding through the COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments and Therapies (CV-VTT) program to support the rapid advancement of vaccines, treatments and therapies by qualified biotechnology entities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Worker support:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced her administration’s intent to apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced a collaborative effort to allocate $8 million in federal funds Kansas received under the CARES Act to cover health care expenses for early childhood professionals and other essential workers who contracted COVID-19.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order prohibiting employers from discharging, disciplining, or retaliating against employees who make the responsible choice to stay home when they or their close contacts are sick.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development submitted an application to FEMA for Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance. 
  • NEW MEXICO, the first state in the country to submit a grant application to FEMA for Lost Wages Assistance, has received approval and grant funding from FEMA for the program that was authorized through an August 8th Presidential Memorandum.

Homeowner and renter support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced a new temporary task force within the Department of Local Affairs to examine housing instability due to COVID-19 in Colorado. The Special Eviction Prevention Task Force will work in partnership with the Division of Housing’s Strategic Housing Working Group. The task force will present its findings and recommendations to the Executive Director of DOLA and to the governor within 30 days of its first meeting. 

State budgets:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER shared a recommended budget, Support for a Determined North Carolina, which outlines how to use the state’s remaining federal coronavirus funding and make responsible investments in the state’s future. 

Relief funds:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced a strong response to the state’s Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Economic Development and Connectivity grant application process, which has yielded more than 7,000 requests for assistance from businesses and nonprofit organizations across Kansas.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced his plan to distribute more than $117 million in CARES Act funding to child care providers across Pennsylvania.

Long term care facilities:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that indoor visitation would be allowed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, under certain conditions. Draft guidelines have been released. 
  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford issued an order expanding visitation in Connecticut nursing homes and clarifying for all long-term care facilities their obligations to facilitate visitations however possible to keep residents connected to loved ones on the outside on a regular basis. 

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order allowing food trucks to operate at Colorado’s rest areas to support the movement of commercial vehicle activities. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER visited the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to tour the facility and speak with volunteers preparing food boxes for seniors in need. 

Beyond COVID-19 


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that a crew of 10 wildland firefighters from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is traveling to the Rocky Mountains to assist in efforts to contain high priority wildfires in the region. 


  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ declared a Peacetime Emergency in the City of Minneapolis and mobilized the Minnesota National Guard. Pledging full state support, the governor also directed approximately 150 Minnesota State Patrol troopers to provide support to mitigate unrest.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS requested other states, under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, to bring additional National Guard troops, equipment, and resources to Kenosha to support civil authorities there.

Law enforcement:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation that requires the Department of Law and Public Safety to add implicit bias training to their cultural diversity training curriculum for law enforcement officers.


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order directing the Department of Personnel & Administration to lead efforts on furthering equity, diversity, and inclusion within the State of Colorado. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that the Michigan Women’s Commission will move from the Department of Civil Rights to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Placing the Women’s Commission in LEO will enhance the capacity of both entities to address the economic issues Michigan women face every day. 
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK renewed his equal pay executive order and extended the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force through 2022 to continue its work to narrow the wage gap.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF joined legislators and Harrisburg area elected and community leaders for the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the state Capital Complex of a monument honoring the city’s Old 8th Ward. The diverse and densely populated neighborhood was razed to make way for an expansion of the Capitol property starting in the early 1900s.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that students in 16 Virginia school divisions will be able to increase their understanding of African American history by participating in a new high school-level elective course this academic year.


  • ILLINOIS’ Department of Transportation announced that multiple projects in the Peoria area are underway or starting soon and extending into 2023. The 10 projects represent a total investment of $280.1 million for the region, with $103.1 million coming from Gov. JB PRTIZKER’s Rebuild Illinois capital program.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced, after nearly five years, the City of Auburn and Logan County Fiscal Court officially broke ground on the Auburn wastewater treatment plant expansion. 

Health care:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced a $200,000 Empowering Health Grant from UnitedHealthcare for the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas in Pittsburg. 

Economic development:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that HVAC Distributing LLC plans to create 175 full-time jobs in Graves County as it purchases a speculative building for a second location in the Hickory Industrial Park.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Energix Renewable Energies Ltd., one of Israel’s largest renewable energy companies, will invest $1.1 million to establish its U.S. subsidiary headquarters in Arlington County. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Torc Robotics, a Blacksburg-based leader in self-driving vehicle systems, will invest $8.5 million to expand its software development operations in Montgomery County. 

Other efforts:

  • DELAWARE’s Resilience Fund’s application process is now accepting applications.  The Delaware Resilience Fund was created to assist families and communities devastated by tornadoes and other severe weather that occurred August 4, 2020, and August 7, 2020, in Delaware. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER  announced Illinois was chosen to host two of the five new National Quantum Information Science Research Centers led by Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in affiliation with the University of Chicago. Each project is projected to receive $115 million in federal funding to support breakthroughs in quantum information and science.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that North Carolina will continue to fight against seismic testing along the state’s coast. The State of North Carolina has filed an appeal of the decision by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to override the state’s objection to WesternGeco’s plan for offshore seismic testing.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced that Serve Washington, the state’s commission on national and community service, has been awarded $15.8 million in AmeriCorps funding.

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