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Govs On Deck – August 31, 2020

Govs on Deck

Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of “Govs on Deck!” As a reminder, your favorite newsletter comes out 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:

Reopening efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM unveiled the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a statewide, stringent, and slow plan for living with COVID-19 for the long haul. The plan imposes risk-based criteria on tightening and loosening COVID-19 allowable activities and expands the length of time between changes to assess how any movement affects the trajectory of the disease.
  • ILLINOIS’ Department of Public Health reported 30 counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for novel coronavirus disease. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.
  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Health has published a 21-page overview document providing guidance on COVID-19, Policies for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in New Mexico. It is intended as a resource for members of the public, health care providers, and employers who may have general questions about COVID-19 and the recommended guidance in responding to and protecting against the virus.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that two counties—Hood River and Multnomah—have succeeded in reducing the spread of COVID-19 sufficiently enough to be removed from the County Watch List. No counties have been added this week. This brings the total number of counties on the Watch List to six.

Public gatherings:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO signed an executive order extending the Phase 3 pandemic restrictions another 30 days, until September 28th. It includes a 15-person limit on social gatherings, though indoor gatherings can have 50 people and outdoor gatherings 100 if they are held at a restaurant or are catered and follow the rules for restaurants to keep parties apart and having patrons wear masks when not seated.


  • ILLINOIS’ Department of Public Health has issued guidance to protect the safety and health of voters as they cast ballots at polling locations throughout the state during early voting and Election Day. 

Schools and students:

  • VIRGINIA First Lady Pamela NORTHAM is kicking off the third annual Back to School tour where she will make socially distanced and virtual visits to child care classrooms, family day homes, Head Start programs, elementary schools, and other providers that serve the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children and families. 

Medical supplies and PPE:

  • MICHIGAN’s Department of Health and Human Services announced a $25 million grant program for personal protective equipment that will allow medical facilities and other providers to keep their staff and patients safe. The grant will assist facilities facing increased costs for PPE as they provide critical services to Michiganders during the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant program is funded through the federal CARES Act. 

Testing, tracing, and vaccines:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order to help the state build out its own laboratory capabilities. The order will expedite efforts by the Department of General Services and the Department of Public Health to establish and operate up to three sites for use as laboratories to increase the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity. California is aiming 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. Under the deal announced earlier this week, the state will be able to process up to an additional 150,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests a day, with a contractual turnaround time of 24-48 hours.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY visited Thermo Fisher Scientific in Lenexa to celebrate the opening of the company’s new Viral Transport Media manufacturing site, which will play a critical role in Kansas’ comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy and create more than 300 full-time jobs.The company has been producing COVID-19 testing supplies since the onset of the pandemic. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO deployed a SWAT team to SUNY Oneonta to contain a COVID-19 cluster that has developed there. The State team will include 71 contact tracers and eight case investigators. New York State will also open three free, rapid testing sites in the city of Oneonta. The sites will be open to all city residents by appointment, and results come back in 15 minutes. 

Worker support:

  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE announced that FEMA has approved the state’s application to participate in the unemployment insurance plus up program called the Lost Wages Assistance Program.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF called for the General Assembly to pass legislation for paid sick and family leave for workers who need to miss work for an illness or to take care of a loved one.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Floyd County and Loudoun County will each receive a grant of $20,000 from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Planning Grant program to support local agriculture amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Both projects fill an immediate need for farmers in these communities who are struggling after the loss of sales to restaurants and at farmers’ markets. The grants will be matched by more than $80,000 in additional funds coming from the applicant communities and their non-profit partners. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that the Department of Workforce Development submitted a grant application for FEMA’s Lost Wages Assistance program and is currently awaiting federal approval.

Family support:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced plans to dedicate $250 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide additional support to children and their families as well as for thousands of child care providers with resources. These plans are highlighted in the Governor’s FY2021 revised Budget Proposal as part of the state’s spending plan for the $2.39 billion federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Homeowner and renter support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that they have reached an agreement on AB 3088 to protect millions of tenants and small property owners from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Relief funds:

  • CALIFORNIA has launched a $30 million program to provide thousands of parolees with community services after they complete their prison sentences or are released months early because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Task forces:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced the creation of the Municipal Resilience Task Force to develop recommendations to help economic resiliency and to acquire cost savings while improving services for Rhode Islanders.

Other efforts:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order that continues the limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities previously imposed by Executive Order 2020-156. 

Beyond COVID-19 

Hurrican Laura:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that President Donald Trump has approved his request for a major disaster declaration following Hurricane Laura.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that Vernon Parish has been approved for FEMA Individual Assistance and Debris Removal following Hurricane Laura, bringing the number of parishes where people can register for federal assistance to six.


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that a CH-47F Chinook helicopter, six Illinois National Guard (ILNG) soldiers, and the required mission equipment will deploy to California to assist with efforts to contain wildfires in northern California. These first responders hail from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation based in Peoria. The team will be deployed to the Golden State for 14 days.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN approved an emergency conflagration declaration for the White River Fire in Wasco County, threatening the community of Pine Grove. At the time of the declaration, 108 residences were under level 3 mandatory evacuation orders, with an additional 192 homes under level 2 and 1.


  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN released the details of a unified law enforcement plan to protect free speech and bring violence and arson to an end in Portland. With months of nightly protests stretching the Portland Police Bureau’s resources thin, additional local and state personnel, as well as federal resources, will give the Police Bureau the investigative capacity to arrest and charge those individuals who have engaged in violent or destructive acts and endangered public safety.

Racial justice:

  • VIRGINIA’s Commission on African American History Education in the Commonwealth today presented their final report to Gov. Ralph NORTHAM, the Virginia Board of Education, and other key advocates for diversity and inclusion in Virginia classrooms. The report includes the Commission’s findings and recommendations on how to improve Virginia’s history and social science standards of learning and ensure that all teachers have the professional development supports needed for culturally competent instruction.

Legal actions:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER’s office filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court, challenging the constitutionality of the membership of the Rules Review Commission as a violation of the North Carolina Constitution’s Separation-of-Powers Clause. The RRC is an executive branch agency created in 1986 by the General Assembly to review rules and regulations drafted by the Governor’s Administration. All ten members of the RRC are appointed by the General Assembly, giving the legislative branch an unconstitutional veto authority over rules and regulations issued by the executive branch.

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the 2021 State General Fund Grant Programs funding awards for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs and Children’s Advocacy Centers, and the 2021 awards for the Federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act grant program. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation allowing alcoholic beverages to be consumed from open containers on certain outdoor property located within the Atlantic City Tourism District, upon authorization by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a full slate of virtual Great New York State Fair special events and activities allowing New Yorkers to safely enjoy the Fair until its return in 2021.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER’s request for a disaster declaration for homeowners and small businesses that suffered damage from a 5.1 magnitude earthquake centered near Sparta in Alleghany County on Aug. 9 was granted by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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