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Govs On Deck – March 17, 2021

Govs on Deck

Happy Wednesday and happy St. Patty’s Day! Read this newsletter – I’m Irish-ish. 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.


#HelpisHere


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS met with President Kamala Harris during her trip to Colorado. The governor and vice president virtually toured a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Salud Family Health Center in Commerce City, which is working to vaccinate Colorado’s Hispanic community, and stopped at Maria Empanada, a small business in Denver, where Vice President Harris sat down with small businesses to discuss what the American Rescue Plan means for them. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER highlighted how the ARP will make health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace more affordable and more accessible for Michiganders struggling with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK toured the immunization clinic at UNLV’s Student Union Building with Vice President Kamala Harris. The two also discussed how the American Rescue Plan will help Nevada crush the pandemic and continue economic recovery efforts. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY joined First Lady Jill Biden on a tour Monday of Samuel Smith Elementary School, where she spoke about how the ARP will help families and communities and highlighted steps the school took to reopen.
  • OREGON’s Department of Consumer and Business Services detailed how the American Rescue Plan brings additional health coverage savings to Oregonians. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF welcomed President Biden, who arrived in the state yesterday to tour a small business and recreation center in Delaware County. 


COVID-19 response:


Emergency declarations:


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending the state’s disaster declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order to extend the peacetime emergency in Minnesota. 


Vaccine distribution:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that he is accelerating Connecticut’s age-based rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to proceed on a quicker schedule than was originally anticipated when it was announced last month. The revised schedule, which tentatively plans for the vaccine to expand to all adults over the age of 16 by April 5, comes as the state was informed by the Biden administration that it should anticipate receiving a significant increase in supplies of all three federally-authorized vaccines over the next several weeks.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced an expansion of Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination program As of today, pharmacies in Delaware may begin vaccinating ​Delawareans aged 50+ and health care providers, including hospitals, may vaccinate patients 16+ with high ​and moderate-risk medical condition​s. On Tuesday, March 23, the State of Delaware will open its COVID-19 vaccination waiting list at vaccinerequest.delaware.gov to any ​Delawarean, 50+. 
  • ILLINOIS is launching a rural vaccination pilot program. Starting this week, additional National Guard mobile operations will begin visiting rural communities with the capability to deliver upwards of 1,000 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine per day.  The program will begin with events in Fayette and Shelby counties where a combined 2,600 doses can be administered before expanding to additional sites in Moultrie and Clay County later this week.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the state will move to Phase 3 and 4 of Kansas’ COVID-19 vaccination plan on March 22, 2021. With this move, individuals between ages 16 and 64 with a preexisting medical condition and other non-healthcare workers in critical infrastructure will be eligible for vaccination.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced 99.7% of all first vaccine doses sent to Kentucky have been administered after another record-setting week. The governor also recognized the milestone of 1 million Kentuckians being vaccinated.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced a new community vaccination site to launch this week at River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. The large-scale, permanent site will be the sixth of its kind, joining sites in Minneapolis, Duluth, Rochester, Bloomington, and Saint Paul. In its first week, vaccinations will be offered to individuals representing all populations currently eligible for vaccines in Minnesota including 1b frontline workers.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that CVS Health and Goodrich Pharmacy will be added to the expanding network of pharmacies vaccinating Minnesotans across the state. Minnesota now has five pharmacies with dozens of locations participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that launched last month.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that appointments are now available at ten new state-run mass vaccination sites across the state.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS  and the Department of Health Services announced that individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 22, which is earlier than previously expected. This eligibility group includes individuals with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that federal support will begin on March 15 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee for COVID-19 vaccinations. FEMA Region 5 will coordinate staffing support to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Wisconsin has committed to providing at least 7,000 weekly vaccine doses from the state’s allocation for the site.


Reopening efforts:


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that wedding receptions and catered events can now resume statewide. All venues hosting weddings and catered events must follow the State’s strict health and safety protocols.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the lifting of some targeted restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, as well as increased gathering limits. Changes go into effect on April 4th.


Testing and tracing:


  • ILLINOIS’ Department of Public Health is realigning its testing strategy to deploy mobile testing teams to locations with a high demand for testing, such as schools, processing plants, high-risk workplaces, and other targeted locations. This is in response to a decline in the number of people utilizing state-supported testing sites and in preparation for the next phases of the pandemic response. 


Schools and students:


  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE signed an emergency proclamation prohibiting all public K-12 schools in Washington from failing to provide opportunities in both remote instruction and on-campus, in-person instruction. The proclamation aims to address the alarming educational inequities and mental health concerns among students as a result of prolonged remote education. Under the proclamation, schools will be allowed to stagger the reintroduction of students to campus. Schools will be expected to provide an in-person learning option that equates to at least 30% of instructional time by two key deadlines: April 5: All students in kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade (depending on the school district) must be offered a hybrid option. April 19: All remaining K-12 students must be offered a hybrid option.


Child care:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment provided over 50,000 COVID-19 comfort kits to child care facilities across the state. In partnership with Child Care Aware of Kansas, and using funding from the federal CARES Act, over 50,000 comfort kits containing essential items were delivered to child care facilities to ensure the mental health, social development, early learning, and hygienic needs of children across the state were met during the pandemic.


Housing support:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT, members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, and Connecticut Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno announced the launch of UniteCT, a new state program to provide rental and utility assistance to qualified Connecticut households financially impacted by COVID-19.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation launched the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance program on Monday, March 15, providing rent, utility, and internet assistance to individuals and families financially impacted by COVID-19.


Other efforts:


  • HAWAII’s Department of Health has outlined state and community-based initiatives to address racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infections and Hawai‘i’s vaccination efforts. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and First Lady MK PRITZKER announced that the State of Illinois will host a memorial at the Governor’s Executive Mansion to commemorate the lives lost to COVID-19.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR launched the Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial Fund, which will help make a permanent memorial on Capitol grounds a reality.


Beyond COVID-19 


Severe weather:


  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration approved his request to extend the deadline for survivors of Tropical Storm Isaias to apply for low-interest loans from SBA until April 19, 2021.


State budget:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS urged bipartisan support for his 2021-23 Capital Budget proposal released last month. The governor’s biennial capital budget, which includes major projects in 31 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, represents one of the strongest investments to date in Wisconsin’s state facility infrastructure and economic recovery, including a $2.38 billion investment that would provide an approximately 29,000 family-supporting jobs and an estimated overall $4.3 billion economic impact. 


Redistricting:


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS convened the Congressional Redistricting Commission, pursuant to section 44.2(1)(a) of Article V of the Colorado Constitution. The Commission will be responsible for determining the boundaries for Colorado’s Congressional districts and may be tasked with determining the boundaries for an 8th district, dependent upon reapportionment data from the federal government.


Voting rights:


  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM restored the civil rights of more than 69,000 Virginians using new eligibility criteria that mirror a proposed change to the Constitution of Virginia that would automatically restore voting rights to individuals upon completion of their sentence of incarceration. 


Climate change:


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO proposed the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2021 to significantly strengthen the State’s building codes, improve energy and water efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. 


Health care:


  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced the members of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board following the approval of Ballot Measure 109 last November. Included on the board are top doctors and researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, fungi experts from Oregon State University, therapists, health experts, and community-oriented licensed clinical social workers.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN detailed her support for House Bill 2164, Cover All People, in a hearing of the House Committee on Health Care. The bill, a product of the collaborative work of the Governor’s Racial Justice Council Health Equity Committee, would allow the Oregon Health Authority to create a state-based program to provide high-quality coverage for medically-underserved people, regardless of their immigration status. The program, modeled on the Oregon Health Plan, would focus on serving parents who have children or dependents in the Cover All Kids program as a minimum first step.


Education:


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced $57.2 million in grants for capital projects at 35 colleges and universities across New York State through the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program.  


Infrastructure:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY joined Representative Sharice Davids, KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz, and local officials to commemorate the completion of the re-opening of westbound I-70 as part of the multi-phase Lewis & Clark Viaduct project. The Lewis & Clark Viaduct is comprised of a series of bridges that carry eastbound and westbound I-70 over the Kansas River, providing a vital connection between Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.


Community development:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that more than $24.9 million in state grant funding has been approved for local governments to construct, renovate, and improve buildings or purchase land to be used for public access and recreation. The funding is made available through the Park and Recreational Facility Construction Act grant program, part of the governor’s Rebuild Illinois capital program.


Economic development:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced Farmstead Butcher Block LLC plans to invest over $1.2 million to establish a meat processing operation near Central City that is expected to create 25 full-time jobs.


Other efforts:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR signed three pieces of legislation into law that benefit Kentucky National Guard soldiers and their families. The bills authorize a state-sponsored life insurance program for Kentucky National Guardsmen through the National Guard Association of Kentucky, prohibit vehicle insurers from refusing to issue motor vehicle liability insurance policies and enacting penalties against uninsured deployed service members, and support adoption in Kentucky as the new law immediately helps increase adoption assistance program reimbursements by $2,000 per child for Kentucky military families.


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