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Govs On Deck – December 18, 2020

Govs on Deck

Happy Friday, everyone! And welcome to today’s 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 amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy, 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.


Programming note: Govs on Deck will be on vacation for the next two weeks. We’ll be back January 4, 2021 (!). We know you’ll miss us, but just remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  


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:


Vaccine distribution:


  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK and WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE were among governors calling out the federal government after news that their respective states would receive significantly smaller allocation of Pfizer vaccines, with drops of about 40% in the number of expected doses. CALIFORNIA, CONNECTICUT, HAWAII, KANSAS, MICHIGAN, MONTANA, OREGONRHODE ISLAND and are also seeing cuts in their second shipments. 


Emergency declarations:


  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until March 3, 2021. 


New mitigation efforts:


  • MICHIGAN’s GOP-led Senate laid the groundwork to put a measure in place to suspend any WHITMER administration order issued before the next session starts in January.


Schools and students:


  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced an update in the metrics used to inform local school district decisions for in-person learning. They also announced $3 million from set aside funds to be distributed to implement health and safety protocols.


Health care:


  • OREGON has reached an agreement with several health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options through at least June 30, 2021.


Testing, tracing, and vaccination:


  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced that Delaware is among the first states in the nation to begin vaccinating staff at long-term care facilities.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced when the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to become available for population groups across the state. The framework begins this winter with high-risk Kansans such as health care personnel and long term care facility staff and residents, eventually reaching the general public in the summer of 2021.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the launch of WI Exposure Notification, a new mobile app to assist in notifying contacts, allowing close contacts of those with a positive test to take quicker action will go live for Wisconsinites next week.


Relief funds:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT’s administration has delivered a letter to all municipal chief elected officials in Connecticut notifying them that the state will be increasing the levels of financial aid being sent to towns and cities to supplement their response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The funding comes from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which utilizes federal funding made available through the CARES Act. These changes will reimburse municipalities for their reported and audited costs, establish a grant program for the municipalities, and assist municipalities by offsetting costs related to COVID-19 testing.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO  announced that New York will advance $1.5 billion to organizations that need cash flow until February or March 2021 as the state awaits a federal stimulus package that helps America’s state and local governments. The step will be taken amid media reports that Congress will pass a stimulus package that does not include funding for state and local governments.


State budgets:


  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the details of his 2021 – 2023 biennial budget proposal Thursday, which included significant funding for public health, economic support for workers and businesses, and other services that Washingtonians need to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19.


Travel restrictions:


  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE signed an emergency proclamation reducing the state’s mandatory self-quarantine period for travelers entering the state and traveling between counties from 14 to 10 days..


Other efforts:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order that suspends and modifies tax deadlines and collection efforts for tax bills that become due and payable on January 1, 2021, suspends municipal assessor certification program requirement, and allows caterer liquor permittees to sell and provide closed or sealed containers of alcoholic beverages.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation prohibiting unapproved transportation of individuals to state correctional facilities.


Beyond COVID-19 


Climate change and environmental protections:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the release of a statewide PFAS Action Plan developed by nearly 20 state agencies to address growing public health and environmental concerns regarding PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Wisconsin. The plan includes 25 action items centered around three guiding principles: environmental justice, health equity, and pollution prevention.


Infrastructure:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the recipients of more than $5 million being made available statewide as part of the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced $450,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Distressed County Infrastructure Program to upgrade the wastewater system in Middlesboro.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the State of Wisconsin Building Commission approved a total of approximately $350 million in key projects across the state. 


Digital infrastructure:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced a first of its kind initiative in Illinois to expand digital access for low-income households throughout the state. Through a unique partnership with PCs for People Cook County, and numerous other community partners, the State of Illinois will launch a statewide network to deploy refurbished computers, digital literacy programming and workforce development. The governor also issued call to action to public, private and philanthropic sectors to donate used equipment and build on a network already set to deploy at least 20,000 refurbished computers annually for Illinois families. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that nearly $30 million will go to fund 18 broadband infrastructure projects with a goal of connecting 15,965 households and 703 businesses in rural North Carolina to high-speed internet.


Elections:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM issued a proclamation declaring a special election for the 30th Senate District of the State of California on May 4, 2021. The primary for the special election will be held on March 2, 2021.


Economic development:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Taica Cubic Printing Kentucky LLC plans to expand its Clark County facility with a $4.4 million investment expected to create 20 well-paying jobs.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that Taysha Gene Therapies, Inc., a patient-centric gene therapy company, has selected Durham as a site for its gene therapy manufacturing facility. The site is expected to create approximately 200 jobs over the next two and a half years. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity has released “Rural Voices for Prosperity: A Report of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity,” which calls for coordinated measures across state government to meet the needs of Wisconsin’s rural communities.


Other efforts:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY and Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz announced that KDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration have finalized an agreement to establish the Kansas Supersonic Transportation Corridor for use in testing non-military aircraft that fly faster than the speed of sound (“mach” speed).
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that the Kentucky Supreme Court has reinstated an almost $1.3 billion award for Kentucky in a judgment against PokerStars. The Supreme Court reinstated the Franklin Circuit Court judgment, concluding the commonwealth’s decade-long fight against illegal offshore internet gambling. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER has granted Pardons of Innocence for five men convicted of crimes they did not commit: Ronnie Wallace Long, Teddy Lamont Isbell, Sr., Damian Miguel Mills, Kenneth Manzi Kagonyera and Larry Jerome Williams, Jr.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM celebrated the start of construction to expand the Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia County, supported by a $5.23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries Administration.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that the Commission on Historical Statues in the United States Capitol voted to recommend civil rights icon Barbara Rose Johns to represent Virginia in the National Statuary Hall Collection, replacing the existing statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. 


Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy holidays. We’ll see you in the new year!