Govs On Deck – December 14, 2020
Well, it’s Monday. But that does mean another 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.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK joined with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to urge Congress to ensure that states can fairly address the financial and public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan group of governors sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate involved in the bicameral COVID relief legislation.
New mitigation efforts:
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced a bipartisan effort with Senate President Ty Masterson and Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman to form an initiative to regularly communicate critical data to better inform regional and state leaders as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Every Tuesday, reports will be shared from the seven state regions as defined by the Kansas Healthcare Coalitions Map on the Department of Health and Environment’s website. The information, which will be presented by local health leaders, will inform state leadership about the immediate needs facing communities as they continue to respond to COVID-19.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that he is extending the restrictions in place under the current “Pause” status in the state for the next month – through January 15th.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced new metrics by which micro-cluster focus zones will be determined to help control COVID-19 spread and protect hospital capacity.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS signed an executive order that simplifies and strengthens the enforcement of the State’s face covering requirement. Moving forward, owners and operators of all indoor public spaces – regardless of the type of entity or size – must not allow those who refuse to wear a face-covering to enter or remain in their venue. Previous orders had required enforcement in some but not all public settings.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced updated calibrations to business guidelines, including suspending indoor dining in New York City. Gyms and salons will now be allowed to remain open with restrictions in Orange Zones.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the second phase of New York’s Empire State Digital initiative to support the state’s restaurants and foodservice industry affected by COVID-19 has launched. Beginning today and extending through April 2021, e-commerce company Ritual will offer its commission-free digital ordering platform Ritual ONE to New York’s restaurants and foodservice businesses at no cost, for pickup and delivery. Additionally, PayPal has committed $1 million towards discounted purchases for customers of participating businesses on Ritual ONE in February 2021, at no expense to the businesses.
Schools and students:
- NEW MEXICO’s Department of Health and Public Education Department announced a delay in the return to in-person learning after the winter break.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order increasing the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced new directives to further grow hospital capacity
Testing, tracing, and vaccination:
- CALIFORNIA, NEVADA, OREGON, and WASHINGTON’s Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed their concurrent and thorough review of the federal process and has confirmed the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and efficacious. Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October, which has worked concurrently and independently to review the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccinations. They will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines after they are routed through FDA authorization. The panel is made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group’s Science Subcommittee has submitted recommendations to him that the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan start at the earliest opportunity.
- DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced Delaware’s plans to distribute the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Delaware is expected to receive 8,775 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine within the next few days. Upon Delaware’s receipt of the vaccine, which is required to be kept at below-freezing temperatures, health care systems will be able to begin vaccinating their frontline employees within 24 hours.
- OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced the appointment of Connie Seeley as Special Advisor for COVID-19 Vaccination Implementation. In the role, Seeley will serve as a senior advisor to the governor on COVID-19 issues, with a focus on directing the implementation of Oregon’s vaccine distribution and public communications plans, as well as coordinating efforts across state government, and with local, state, and federal partners.
- NEW MEXICO’s Department of Workforce Solutions will begin issuing the $1,200 one-time supplemental unemployment compensation benefit to eligible claimants this week. This stimulus payment will be made before many Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants will see their benefits end on or before December 26, 2020, according to federal program guidelines.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that he will extend the state’s moratorium on evictions through March 31st. The moratorium will apply to tenants unable to pay rent. It will not prohibit certain evictions; including, for example, lease breaches for things like unlawful activity or nuisance.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that Illinois residents have a new retail option for using Electronic Benefit Transfer and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program online through Instacart. In a new partnership with ALDI, participants will be able to access fresh food and pantry staples from ALDI via Instacart’s same-day delivery and pick-up services.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY, in a continued commitment to transparency and accountability, announced updates to the online dashboard that tracks the investments funded through the Coronavirus Relief Funds of the federal CARES Act. The portal has been updated to include all spending through October 31, 2020, and a newly expanded fraud protection online reporting portal.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced she has recently dedicated $100,000 in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds to continue the State’s “Keep It Maine” public awareness campaign about the importance of taking seriously health and safety precautions, such as wearing a face covering, staying six feet apart, and washing hands often.
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS released a statement on the allocation of over $342 million in support to expand broadband to more than 175 thousand unserved homes and businesses in Louisiana over the next 10 years.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that his proposed budget will include nearly $25 million to transform historical sites and advance historic justice initiatives in Virginia.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that the Wisconsin Department of Administration was awarded two federal grants totaling $60,000 to assist with the restoration costs of the “Forward” and Col. Hans Christian Heg statues that were damaged earlier this year.
Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. We’ll see you on Wednesday!