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Govs On Deck – March 10, 2021

Govs on Deck

It’s Wednesday, people, and that means it’s time for 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 amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy@SamNewton, 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:


Vaccine distribution:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that the state has nearly tripled its goal for vaccinating education workers – over 200,000 teachers, school staff, and child care workers were vaccinated, exceeding the estimated 75,000 vaccines per week target.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS and OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN sent a letter to Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock of the FDA urging the FDA to permit the pooling of COVID vaccines by granting a short-term emergency waiver for experienced practitioners. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced 834,130 Kentuckians – 25% of Kentucky adults – have now received at least one dose of one of three highly effective COVID-19 vaccines.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that Louisiana would expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone 16 and older with health conditions that make them more likely to suffer a serious complication from COVID, based on federal health guidance. This change is effective immediately.
  • MAINE’s Department of Health and Human Services announced a new, free option for Maine people who need a ride to and from a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Maine DHHS is partnering with ModivCare, one of the organizations that coordinate rides for MaineCare members, to provide rides for any Maine resident who is unable to drive, lacks reliable transportation, or is otherwise unable to travel to their appointment. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility as the state reaches its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotans 65 years of age and older this week. The announcement comes several weeks ahead of schedule after the state moved quickly to use more vaccines from the federal government. As a result, the state will expand eligibility to the next two phases which include Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions; food processing plant workers; and Minnesotans with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that as the federal vaccine supply continues to increase, New York will establish 10 additional state-run mass vaccination sites in the New York City, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Capital, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, and Western New York regions to further grow New York’s vast distribution network.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that beginning on March 9th, all New Yorkers 60 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine, while public-facing essential workers from governmental and nonprofit entities will be eligible beginning March 17. This expansion also includes public-facing essential building services workers.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that Oregon will receive $110 million in federal funding to assist the state with vaccine distribution efforts. The governor said she was “extremely pleased” by FEMA’s announcement. 


Reopening efforts:


  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced updates to county risk levels under the state’s public health framework to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19.


Business support:


  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed legislation waiving annual liquor license fees, another boost for hard-hit businesses in New Mexico.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO signed the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act of 2021, establishing eviction and foreclosure protections for small businesses.


Schools and students:


  • KENTUCKY First Lady Britainy BESHEAR announced Ford Motor Co. has donated 1 million masks to Kentucky schools, with a commitment to donate an additional 500,000 masks in the coming weeks.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that more than 90% of districts and charter schools in Minnesota are offering their students some form of in-person learning.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN, Senate President Peter Courtney, and House Speaker Tina Kotek unveiled a restorative $250 million Summer Learning and Child Care package to help students and children learn, thrive, and have fun this summer. Combined with up to about $75 million in federal funds, both in-district matching funds and funding for the Employment-Related Day Care Program, as much as $325 million will be invested in summer learning and child care programs.


Worker support:


  • MAINE and NEVADA have been selected as the inaugural cohort of states in the Workforce Innovation Network, the NGA and Cognizant U.S. Foundation announced today. The states will receive a grant to improve employment outcomes in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19, connecting job seekers to training, education, job opportunities, and essential support services.


Housing support:


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that more than 15,000 households are benefiting from the $91.75 COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program launched in July 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Relief packages:


  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed legislation that supports the COVID-19 recovery plan she sent to the legislature in January. It includes key provisions of the governor’s MI COVID Recovery Plan, including a $2.25/hour wage increase for direct care workers, $283 million in federal emergency rental assistance to help ensure people can stay in their homes, up to $110 million in federal funding for vaccine administration, and up to $555 million in federal funding for testing and tracing. 


Other efforts:


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed a bill designating March 9th of each year as “COVID-19 Heroes Day” in New Jersey.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER encouraged college students to sign up for the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps. The program, launched in 2020, provides a database to help match college students in need of work experience with local governments and nonprofits seeking additional help during the pandemic.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE released a statement in response to increasing and escalating acts of violence targeting Asians and Asian-Americans, saying, “This is a welcoming state and I have a zero-tolerance policy for hate and racism.”


Beyond COVID-19 


Severe weather:


  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration due to damage in Louisiana from February’s winter weather event has been approved by President Biden. 


State budgets:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced a series of virtual Badger Bounceback Live Sessions that will provide six opportunities for Wisconsinites to discuss, provide feedback, and share personal stories on the governor’s Badger Bounceback agenda and how it affects them, their families, and communities across the state while also having the opportunity to engage in the policymaking process as the 2021-23 budget moves through the legislative process. 


State of the State addresses:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM delivered his third State of the State address to the Legislature and the people of California in a virtual presentation from Dodger Stadium – one of the nation’s largest community vaccination sites.


Health care:


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS, in partnership with bill sponsors Senators Julie Gonzalez and Sonya Jacquez Lewis, and Representatives Yadira Caraveo and Chris Kennedy announced the introduction of legislation establishing the Prescription Drug Affordability Board.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the award of up to $50.7 million to providers throughout New York State to expand access to addiction services. The majority of this funding will go towards regional networks designed to support a continuum of care that includes prevention, treatment, and recovery.


Housing support:


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed the New Jersey Foreclosure Prevention Act. The act creates the ‘New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Prevention Program’, implementation of which will be led by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. This program empowers NJHMFA to address the rising number of foreclosures in New Jersey, not only helping to stabilize families’ homeownership but their neighborhood as well. 


Education:


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY highlighted new rankings from U.S. News & World Report that demonstrate how his administration’s historic commitment to pre-K through 12 education is paying off. According to the “Best States” rankings, New Jersey has the country’s top education system and is number one in pre-school enrollment.       


Economic development:


  • KANSAS had the most dramatic jump in economic development success of any state in the country in 2020, according to Site Selection magazine. With 70 projects meeting the magazine’s criteria, Kansas ranked 10th in the nation in economic development projects per capita in 2020. The new ranking increased from 2019 when Kansas was ranked No. 20.


Other efforts:


  • DELAWARE’s Department of Transportation unveiled the Delaware 2021-2025 Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF advised all schools and child care programs in Pennsylvania of the Voluntary Lead in Child Care and School Drinking Water Testing Program, which will provide $1.74 million from a federal grant for testing lead in drinking water.


Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. See you all on Friday!