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Govs On Deck – June 15, 2020

Govs on Deck

It’s Monday, peeps. Welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.”
We’re still here and we still hope you are all safe and healthy, but we are no longer daily (at least for right now). Instead, this newsletter will be going out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We are also going to expand our content to the “pandemic plus” model – get ready for updates on the coronavirus pandemic response, plus other key actions by our Dem govs.
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 me 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:
Emergency declarations:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order extending the COVID-19 peacetime emergency that gives the state flexibility in responding to rapidly-evolving issues stemming from COVID-19.

Reopening efforts:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS’ administration announced that it has accelerated the first day that lodging establishments in Maine can begin serving out-of-state visitors who meet either the 14-day quarantine requirement or the State’s new testing alternative. Lodging establishments may now begin serving these individuals on Friday, June 26 rather than Wednesday, July 1. Accelerating the start date will help lodging establishments safely serve visitors during a key weekend of Maine’s tourism season leading up to the July 4th holiday.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced Western New York is expected to enter Phase 3 of reopening June 16th and the Capital Region is expected to enter Phase 3 of reopening on June 17th following a review of regional data by global public health experts.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that eight more counties will move to the green phase of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, June 19th. 

Public gatherings:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that he will issue an executive order canceling the Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs this year. The announcement of the cancellations has prompted the Department of Agriculture to offer a safe, creative way to ensure youth exhibitors still get a chance to showcase their hard work.


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes around signature collection for unaffiliated and independent candidates who are required to file a petition with the Secretary of State under Title 1 and authorizing the Secretary of State to create temporary rules to allow for mail and email signature collection. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order temporarily suspending certain regulatory statutes concerning the signature collection for ballot issues and authorizing the Secretary of State to create temporary rules to allow for mail and email signature collection.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending changes to the 2020 primary election to limit in-person contact while allowing the elections to proceed safely and without interruption to the Secretary of State’s operations. 

Business guidance:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced an administrative order that permits libraries to allow curbside pickup. The order also clarifies rules affecting a number of different businesses.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order allowing personal care service facilities to reopen to the public on Monday, June 22nd, provided the facilities comply with standards issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs and Department of Health.   


  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Education today released guidance for school districts to conduct summer educational programming in-person, including Extended School Year. In-person programs are permitted to begin on or after July 6 and must follow all applicable health and safety protocols. Districts that have planned for remote learning may still proceed with virtual instruction for both ESY and other summer learning opportunities for students. 

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes to maintain eligibility for Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order expanding the health care workforce for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is extending the special open enrollment period in the New York State of Health Health Plan Marketplace for an additional 30 days through July 15th. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation requiring the State Department of Health to conduct a study on the health impacts of COVID-19 on minorities in New York State.

Testing and tracing:

  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Health announced that it will be offering coronavirus testing for utility workers as part of a statewide effort to keep essential workers in various fields safe and healthy.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that beginning Wednesday, June 17th, nine more COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites will open in Walmart parking lots across the state, bringing the total to 19 sites at Walmart locations. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that as part of Rhode Island’s Early Warning Testing System, asymptomatic restaurant workers and bus drivers can now receive free testing. 
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Health announced the results of a serology testing effort. The seroprevalence—or presence of antibodies—was approximately 2.2%. There were wide variations in the presence of antibodies between different races and ethnicities. The seroprevalence among those tested who identified as Caucasian was .9%, compared to 8.2% among Hispanic Rhode Islanders and 5.2% among African American Rhode Islanders. Testing was done between May 5th and May 22nd.

PPE/medical supplies:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation repealing criminalization of wearing a mask in public. The governor previously issued an executive order requiring that New Yorkers wear face coverings while in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and this new law will remove any legal conflicts with the outdated provision banning the wearing of masks in public and the governor’s executive order.

Homeowner/renter assistance:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order directing state agencies to help prevent evictions of tenants economically harmed by the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order allowing the Department of Local Affairs to continue to provide rental and mortgage assistance and encourages local governments to loosen housing restrictions.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order providing relief to public utility customers affected by COVID-19.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state is allocating $500,000 to provide financial incentives for landlords to rent to housing-insecure or homeless Rhode Islanders. Landlords will receive a $2,000 signing bonus for the first unit that they make available to serve a household experiencing homelessness and an additional $500 for every additional unit. They will also be eligible for as much as $2,000 per unit to support move-in upgrades like minor renovations and repairs.

Worker support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order continuing expedited unemployment insurance claims processing.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation suspending the forfeiture of unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 state of emergency, aligning with a previous executive order. Individuals who have had forfeit penalties levied against them from past claims are currently unable to collect their unemployment benefits. This new law will allow those individuals to collect these critical benefits in their time of greatest need even if forfeit penalties have been enacted against them.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM shared the new Virginia Career Works Referral Portal – a statewide platform designed to streamline intake processes across state agencies and connect individuals with training, certification, education, and employment services to help them find a job or advance a career path. 

Child care/summer programs:

  • MAINE’s Department of Health and Human Services announced that 525 essential workers have received financial help for child care and more than 1,600 child care providers have received stipends as part of the award of nearly $11 million in federal CARES Act funding to Maine. Additional grants will be awarded to child care providers through mid-July.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen MILLS signed an executive order lifting restrictions on overnight residential, travel, and troop camps beginning June 15.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced low-risk youth sports for regions in phase three of reopening can begin on July 6th with up to two spectators allowed per child.  

Relief funds:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and the Colorado COVID Relief Fund announced the fifth round of grants awarded to organizations working with Coloradans impacted by COVID-19. In the fifth round, the COVID Relief Fund awarded $938,625 in Impact to 50 grantees and $1,323,922 in Recovery to 65 grantees. 
  • MONTANA’s Arts Council announces the availability of emergency funding to offset economic losses due to COVID-19. MAC will award funds to nonprofit organizations, artists, and cultural workers in Montana. The funds come through the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the federal CARES Act.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced a new way for local governments to support agriculture- and forestry-based businesses during the COVID-19 emergency through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Planning Grant program. 

Public communication:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state launched a new website dedicated to tracking coronavirus spending.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that the Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation, Virginia’s cross-agency, cloud-based, data-sharing, and analytics platform, is expanding to help the Commonwealth mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain an adequate supply of resources.

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending conditional and temporary relief from certain motor carrier rules and regulations during the state of disaster emergency. 

Beyond COVID-19 
Federal response:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLISCONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONTNEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO, and PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF released statements after the Trump administration rolled back civil rights protections for transgender Americans in health care. 

Law enforcement:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order adding four seats to The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. The Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and three community members appointed by the governor will occupy these seats. 
  • NEW JERSEY Attorney General outlined plans for revising New Jersey’s “Use of Force Policy,” which governs when the state’s 36,000 law enforcement officers may—and may not—use force against civilians. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed the ‘New Yorker’s Right to Monitor Act,’ affirming the right of an individual to record law enforcement activity and to maintain custody of that recording and any instruments used to make the recording.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed the ‘Say Their Name’ Reform Agenda package. The reforms include allowing for transparency of prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers by repealing 50-a of the civil rights law, banning chokeholds by law enforcement officers, prohibiting false race-based 911 reports, and designating the Attorney General as an independent prosecutor for matters relating to the civilian deaths.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed an executive order — the ‘New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative’ — requiring local police agencies, including the NYPD, to develop a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs in their community based on community input. Each police agency’s reform plan must address policies, procedures, practices, and deployment, including, but not limited to use of force.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands! See you on Wednesday!