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Govs On Deck – June 22, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Monday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck!” We’ve got a long one today.
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.
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 declaration:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending the state of disaster emergency and providing additional funds for response activities due to the presence of coronavirus. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER extended her state of emergency declaration. 

Reopening efforts:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY modified his state of emergency order permitting an expansion of youth sports activities and personal care services if safety guidelines are followed to prevent infection and community spread of COVID-19.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER released plans to safely continue reopening businesses and industries as Illinois moves into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Phase 4 allows for the safe reopening or expansion of several key business segments – such as health and fitness, movies and theater, museums, and zoos, as well as indoor dining at restaurants. Phase 4 also allows for expanded gathering sizes, increasing the limit from 10 in Phase 3, to 50 people or fewer.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the Mid-Hudson Valley is on track to enter Phase Three of reopening tomorrow and Long Island is on track to enter Phase Three of reopening June 24.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO  announced that global public health experts cleared New York City to enter Phase Two of reopening.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the Yankees and Mets baseball teams will hold spring training in New York this year. The Yankees will conduct spring training at Yankee Stadium, and the Mets will conduct it at Citi Field. Play ball!
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER vetoed a bill that would have reopened gyms and bars, which he had ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that following her statewide pause on all reopening applications, she moved Marion, Polk, and Hood River Counties to Phase 2 as of last Friday. Multnomah County would be allowed to move to Phase 1 as of last Friday. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that following her statewide pause on all reopening applications, she will be grouping several counties together as regional units for future reopening decisions. This will apply to the tri-county area which will remain in Phase 1 for at least 21 days after June 19 before the three counties together will become eligible for Phase 2. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that 12 more counties will move to the green phase of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 26th. Nearly every county will be in the green phase at that point. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM presented the third phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to continue easing public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The Commonwealth does not yet have a targeted date for entering Phase Three.

Public gatherings:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced updated health guidance for religious and faith-based services as more counties move forward under Washington’s Safe Start recovery plan.  
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced additional clarification today for non-religious weddings and funeral or memorial services in Phases 1, 2, and 3. 


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed a law requiring elections officials to mail a ballot to every registered, active voter in the state ahead of the November election. The bill almost mirrors his previous executive order which guarantees that registered voters receive ballots ahead of the election.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR directed his administration to provide PPE to keep voters and poll workers safe during Kentucky’s primaries tomorrow. The governor’s office is providing 5,000 masks, 4,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 5,800 face shields, and 20,000 gloves for the June 23 election. The PPE will be distributed to all 120 counties.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed legislation requiring the Department of State to publish a report on the June 2, 2020, primary election. The report will help identify any necessary changes to the Pennsylvania Election Code before the general election in November.  The report will include a series of data points for each county including the numbers of mail-in ballots that were applied for and received, the number of new voter registrations received, and what time each county began to pre-canvass and canvass absentee and mail-in ballot

Business guidance:

  • GUAM’s Department of Public Health and Social Services approved bars and taverns at 50 percent occupancy rate, child care centers at no more than 50 percent of enrollment, bowling alleys, travel agencies, museums, zoos, and aquariums to reopen. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued an executive order strengthening state enforcement during the phased reopening to protect New Yorkers and ensure business compliance. Businesses that violate the reopening rules and guidelines are subject to immediate loss of their liquor license and shutdown order. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUROMO issued an executive order to expand the enforcement areas of the State Liquor Authority by giving bars responsibility for the area immediately outside their locations. 

Business support:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced a package of state grant programs to support communities and businesses impacted by the pandemic and recent civil unrest. The package includes more than $900 million across more than ten programs and four state agencies to help working families and small businesses who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19’s economic impacts, which was compounded by recent property damage and civil unrest.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed a bipartisan bill into law that will aid Minnesota’s economic recovery by providing $62.5 million in grants for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. 
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced the creation of a loan deferment program to assist Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Montana Loan Deferment Program will allow businesses and other entities to defer payments on existing loans for six to 12 months and free up a significant amount of otherwise dedicated capital for the borrower to leverage on a monthly basis. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that new recovery marketing funds are available to destination marketing organizations across the Commonwealth that have been heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The WanderLOVE Recovery Grant Program, which is administered by the Virginia Tourism Corporation will provide up to 50 grants to DMOs of up to $10,000 each.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE signed a proclamation waiving the statute that requires shared work benefits to be paid by employers, thereby allowing federal CARES Act funding to be used to pay for the employer portion of shared work benefits. 


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER signed legislation that expands the use of emergency remote learning and makes additional changes to the school code to ensure Illinois school districts have the necessary tools to effectively carry out remote learning and other necessary operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that Michigan schools may resume in-person learning in phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan, with strict safety measures in place. The governor also announced that on June 30th, she will release an executive order and a robust document called “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” that will provide details on what will be required and what will be recommended for schools. The governor also highlighted the need for support and flexibility from the federal government to help ensure resources for students and educators.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order allowing in-person clinical, lab, and hands-on programming at institutions of higher education to resume as of July 1st with enhanced health and safety protocols. The order will also allow trade and training schools to reopen on July 1st, provided specific health and safety policies are in place.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state will issue guidance to colleges and universities to allow some in-person instruction and on-campus housing for the fall semester. Campuses must develop a plan, which attests to meeting the guidance and file plans with the state.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced more than $80 million in financial assistance to Wisconsin’s K-12 schools and higher education institutions. The governor announced more than $46 million to K-12 schools and $37 million to higher education partners to assist with the challenges faced relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order to increase the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminate cost-sharing for coronavirus testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order extending a previous order that allows for the operation of alternate care sites in response to COVID-19. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state is launching a new website that will serve as a one-stop-shop for information about telehealth.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending her previous order which gives pharmacists increased operational capacity and expands access to prescriptions for Michiganders who need them. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed legislation prohibiting health care employers from penalizing employees for making complaints of employer violations.

Testing and tracing:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order modifying the mandatory staff testing program for nursing home and other congregate setting staff to set conditions for testing to cease after 14 consecutive days without a positive case and to require resumed testing if any staff member or resident tests positive. 
  • CONNECTICUT will begin testing employees of five Connecticut state agencies who have frequent contact with constituents in congregate settings, hospitals, and nursing homes.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK visited the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, whose community testing event marks the completion of the first round of COVID-19 community testing in Montana’s tribal communities.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced new guidelines and testing requirements for reopening long-term care facilities.

PPE/medical supplies:

  • CALIFORNIA’s Department of Public Health released updated guidance that requires Californians to wear a face-covering in high-risk settings. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order amending and extending a previous order directing certain workers to wear a non-medical face covering and providing discretion to certain employers to deny admittance to individuals who fail to wear a medical or non-medical face covering.
  • NEW MEXICO is partnering with various business organizations to give 171,000 cloth face coverings to small businesses around the state for free distribution to workers and customers who don’t have their own.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that following her statewide pause on all reopening applications, she is instituting a requirement to wear face coverings while in indoor public spaces, such as grocery stores and other businesses, for the following counties: Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF reminded Pennsylvanians that mask-wearing is required when entering any business in all counties in the state in both yellow and green phases of reopening. Masks are considered critical in stopping the spread of COVID, now and in preparation for a possible resurgence of the virus in the fall. 

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Labor announced that his agency is on track to launch its renewed consumer contact center in mid-July. The improved contact center will increase the number of customer service representatives available and improve capacity at the agency by putting more communications platforms in use for customers. 
  • GUAM’s Department of Labor announced that the first batch of payments for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims have been processed. 
  • ILLINOIS’ Department of Employment Security announced it will begin to borrow funds from the federal government to continue to meet unemployment benefit payment obligations to claimants who have lost work as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced multiple actions she will be taking to address the issues impacting the Kansas Department of Labor’s ability to handle the volume of claims for unemployment insurance.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order clarifying Workers’ Disability Compensation Act eligibility during the COVID-19 emergency, replacing emergency rules issued by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity in March 2020. Under this executive order, individuals who work within the secured borders of a penal institution, including correctional officers, medical staff, and cafeteria staff who serve prisoners will be presumptively entitled to worker’s compensation if they suffer a personal injury as a result of COVID-19. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending existing safety measures to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies. The measures include: Customers who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear one when entering a grocery store or pharmacy; Grocery stores and pharmacies must allocate at least two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations; If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the business must notify other employees without infringing on private health information.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE signed a proclamation allowing dental hygiene and pharmacy graduates to obtain a temporary license if certain conditions are met.

Family support:

  • CONNECTICUT received an extension from FEMA for approval to apply for reimbursement for statewide emergency feeding efforts until July 20th. These vital efforts will continue to be coordinated by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture in partnership with the many state and local agencies and nonprofit providers, including community food banks.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK and Montana No Kid Hungry announced $108,550 in grants to six organizations to continue operating emergency food services in response to COVID-19. 
  • NEW MEXICO’s Children, Youth and Families Department, Human Services Department, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are working together in a public-private partnership to feed more than 3,000 New Mexicans who are food insecure due to the pandemic.

Child care/summer camps:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order allowing the commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood to increase permissible total numbers of children that a child care facility may serve in one space and in one facility.

Relief funds:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signaled her support for a bill that puts more than $850 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund monies into action across the state. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM outlined how the Commonwealth will direct $246 million, primarily from federal CARES Act funding, to support long-term care facilities in their response to COVID-19.

State budgets:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon today announced that they have reached an agreement on the 2020-21 state budget.

Public communication:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ directed all flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, June 19th. He has directed flags to fly at half staff on the 19th of every month through 2020 to remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19. 

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order offering temporary relief from age restrictions that prohibit applicants 50 years of age or older from applying to renew their driver’s license online. Under the new order, all drivers under the age of 65 are permitted to use the online renewal system.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order extending the provisions outlined in a previous order which provide emergency relief from regulations for motor carriers and drivers operating in Minnesota in order to safely and efficiently transport livestock.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM asked the New Mexico Legislature to consider tax relief for individuals, loans for small businesses and local governments, police reform, and election improvements, among other topics, during its special session which began last Thursday. 

Beyond COVID-19 
Racial justice:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ called on the state legislature to work with the community to establish a state holiday recognizing Juneteenth.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced he will advance legislation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday next year.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER called for the removal of Confederate monuments from State Capitol grounds on Saturday, citing public safety after anti-racism protesters in Raleigh pulled two statues down with ropes Friday night.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that she will introduce a bill in the 2021 legislative session that would make Juneteenth a state holiday.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO will sign an executive order to remove the phrase “Providence Plantations” from all gubernatorial orders and citations, executive agency websites, official correspondence, and state employee pay stubs.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO today will unveil her ‘RIse Together’ vision for a more equitable and resilient Rhode Island and announce immediate steps her administration will be taking. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced 20 newly approved state historical highway markers that address topics of national, state, and regional significance in Virginia’s African American history.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed an executive order making Juneteenth an official state holiday. 

Law enforcement:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed sweeping bipartisan law enforcement reform measures into law.  The “Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity” bill will increase accountability and transparency within Colorado’s law enforcement system, and aims to bring “bold change” to how law enforcement treats all Coloradans.  
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that she is creating a task force focused on statewide law enforcement training, standards, and accountability.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced a package of legislation to increase accountability and transparency in policing in Wisconsin. The announcement came on Juneteenth and in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and calls of Wisconsinites and people across the country for justice and equity for Black Americans.

Criminal justice reform:

  • NEVADA’s State Board of Pardons Commissioners, in a unanimous vote, passed an amended resolution put forth by member Gov. Steve SISOLAK in which those convicted of minor marijuana offenses would be pardoned.

2020 Census:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS called on all Louisianans to participate in the 2020 Census if they have not done so already. Currently, Louisiana has a 55.7 percent self-response rate compared to the national self-response rate of 61.4 percent.

Health care:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced his intention to move the commonwealth back to the successful Kynect state health care exchange.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS signed legislation expanding access to medical marijuana. 


  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced that Delaware high school students are graduating at their highest levels in at least a decade, according to the 2019 graduation data.

Economic development:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority has approved three grant requests to local governments totaling $2,825,000.


  • DELAWARE’s Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund Council made its first recommendations for project funding..
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that Enel Green Power has begun construction work on a new addition to the Cimarron Bend wind farm in Clark County, Kansas.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA First Partner Jennifer Siebel NEWSOM launched a five-week summer reading challenge designed to keep California’s families learning and engaged by “checking out” their community libraries.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order re-establishing the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced 26 small technology-based businesses and four universities will receive incentive grants to commercialize their research in clean energy, cybersecurity, data analytics, life sciences, and unmanned systems. The new Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund grants award $2.48 million in funding and leverage more than $13 million in matching investments to drive progress in emerging technologies.

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