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Govs On Deck – March 19, 2021

Govs on Deck

It’s Friday, folks! 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:


Emergency declarations:


  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS extended the State of Civil Emergency through April 15, 2021. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order extending the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020. 


Vaccine distribution:


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS launched the very first State Community Vaccination Site at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs and celebrated the launch of another community vaccination site at the Grand Junction Convention Center in Mesa County.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced additional state resources are being deployed to support local health departments in McHenry and Lake counties. These resources include Illinois National Guard support to enhance efforts already underway by both local health departments. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced a metrics-based, vaccination-informed framework for Illinois to advance to Phase 5 of the state’s Restore Illinois Plan. In recognition of an increasing national vaccine supply and the state now averaging 100,000 vaccine administrations per day, the governor also announced that all Illinois residents age 16+ will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 12th, with additional announcements to come about populations who will be made eligible prior to universal eligibility.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced all Kentuckians 50 and older can sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments on or after March 22. All Kentuckians ages 16 and older will be able to sign up for appointments by April 12.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that starting Monday, all essential workers, including people working in foodservice and grocery stores, manufacturing, construction, clergy, and other essential jobs will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of their underlying health conditions. 
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS, the Department of Health, and 20 initial partners kicked off Bring Back Louisiana #SleevesUp, a bold grassroots campaign that will bring COVID-19 vaccines to communities of concern through community events and targeted outreach. The campaign will begin with 9 pilots – one in each public health region of the state – with community vaccination events taking place on the second and third weekends of April.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that the Ford Field clinic will administer more than 350,000 vaccine doses in the next two months.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that Minnesota has administered more than two million COVID-19 vaccine doses. While it took more than two months for the state to administer the first million doses, it took less than one month to administer the second million doses. 
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the State of Nevada through the State and pharmacy allocations that have been reported to Nevada WebIZ.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that as of March 22, vaccination opportunities will be available to all Nevadans aged 16 and older with underlying health conditions, as laid out in the State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Playbook. On April 5, ALL Nevadans aged 16 and older will be eligible to schedule vaccination appointments statewide.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER visited the Vidant Health large-scale vaccine site at the Greenville Convention Center to see people receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vidant Health has partnered with the Pitt County Public Health Department, local churches, and community organizations to vaccinate more than 2,000 people a day and reach North Carolinians in underserved communities. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that vaccine eligibility has expanded for people who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness or who live in certain congregate settings. To date, the state has administered over 3.4 million doses. The state is also seeing progress in its continued efforts to emphasize equity in vaccine distribution. The CDC released a report that puts North Carolina among the top ten states in the nation for equitable vaccine distribution.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the upcoming vaccine eligibility expansion, including restaurant workers and Washingtonians 60 and older. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that a federally supported mass vaccination clinic will open on April 8 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena for COVID-19 vaccinations.


Reopening efforts:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order that: relaxes capacity limits for religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings, and repeals the mandatory travel advisory and self-quarantine requirements.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order that will rescind the current prohibition on outdoor interstate youth competitions.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York’s Major League Baseball teams, the New York Mets and New York Yankees, can resume play with spectators in the stadiums, beginning April 1. Professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity. 
  • WASHINGTONGov. Jay INSLEE announced that effective immediately, visitations at long-term care facilities and nursing homes may resume.


Business support:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed a bill waiving ABC license renewal fees.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS signed into law a package of bills that, in part, codifies into law executive orders she has issued supporting restaurants, bars, and distilleries, which have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed a sweeping bipartisan reform bill that will, among other things, provide for home delivery of alcohol as a means of creating a new revenue stream for hard-hit food and drink establishments in New Mexico.


Schools and students:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a partnership between the California COVID-19 Testing Task Force and the California Department of Education to deploy up to 3 million rapid COVID-19 antigen tests at no cost to support the safe return to in-person learning for staff and students in some of California’s most disadvantaged school districts.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM released preliminary guidance for how K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, may safely hold in-person graduation and commencement events this spring.  


Worker support:


  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that more than 55,900 individuals who work in entertainment, recreational, and indoor food-service venues will begin receiving grant payments of $793. Applications were processed through the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation. The grants are part of the Employee Assistance Grants program, which was created through a $45 million bipartisan budget appropriation signed by Governor Whitmer in late 2020.  


Family support:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed a bill excluding one-time stimulus and grant payments from gross income calculations. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that his administration is extending the individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to May 17. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that the State of Maine will move the deadline for Maine individual income tax payments from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE updated a proclamation related to consumer debt garnishments. 


Housing support:


  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the launch of a program that will deliver rapid relief to millions of Pennsylvanians at risk of eviction or loss of utility service. With federal funds allocated through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the Wolf Administration built the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in partnership with the General Assembly to distribute about $569 million to Pennsylvania households through partnerships with local leaders. An additional $278 million in rental assistance was directly allocated to Pennsylvania’s largest counties by the federal government.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced that the statewide eviction moratorium will be extended through June 30.


State budgets:


  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that she has signed the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 supplemental budget into law. The bipartisan supplemental, which passed the Senate unanimously and the House by a vote of 139-1, provides State income tax relief to all Maine businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program funds and exempts unemployment benefits from State income taxes for approximately 160,000 Mainers.


Beyond COVID-19 


Natural disasters:


  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed into law House Bill 57, an important environmental measure that will help the state improve forest management amid a changing climate through prescribed burns, which will contribute to lessening the risk of catastrophic wildfire.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER signed a State of Emergency on Thursday in advance of expected severe weather across North Carolina.


State budgets:


  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ released his revised budget for the next biennium. Minnesota’s Revised COVID-19 Recovery Budget accounts for the recent economic forecast released last month by Minnesota Management and Budget, while continuing to make smart investments to support Minnesota’s working families, students, and small businesses and maintaining a full budget reserve. The largest new investments in Minnesota’s Revised COVID-19 Recovery Budget will support Minnesota’s working families. The governor’s proposal includes tax relief for Minnesotans who received unemployment benefits during the pandemic, expands the renter’s property tax refund, increases eligibility for the Working Family Credit, and includes an Earned Sick and Safe Time proposal to ensure that workers can accrue up to 48 hours per year of paid leave.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS hosted a virtual roundtable on economic recovery and opportunity with small business owners, restaurant owners, farmers, and agricultural producers to discuss the governor’s 2021-23 Badger Bounceback agenda. 


Education:


  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM issued a statement upon the historic Senate passage of House Joint Resolution 1, which if approved by New Mexico voters will amend the state constitution to deliver permanent and sustainable funds for early childhood education and at-risk public school students. The governor said she was “humbled and awe-struck by the transformational potential” of the actions. 


Infrastructure:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS  released a statement after Republicans on the State Building Commission deadlocked on the commission on a 4-4 vote on every motion that included each project in the governor’s capital budget recommendations, rejecting the governor’s proposed $2.38 billion in investments in state infrastructure. The governor’s plan, which included major projects in 31 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, was expected to provide approximately 29,000 family-supporting jobs and an estimated $4.3 billion in economic impact.


IT improvements:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that his administration has launched a year-long process of building a new information technology organization within state government. The process to centralize the coordination of the state’s IT resources by the Department of Administrative Services will progress throughout the year and establish an organization capable of delivering modern IT solutions to support state agencies and the public.
  • MINNESOTA’s Blue Ribbon Council on Information Technology released its second report of recommendations for state technology and innovation. 


Inclusion and equity efforts:


  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order establishing the Governor’s Community Council on Inclusion and Equity, which will develop and implement policies for the State to address inequities across Minnesota. The Community Council will inform and collaborate on long-term planning for systemic change within state government.


Community development:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced $885,300 in grants for seven local projects that will help communities develop and improve bike path facilities throughout Illinois.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced 2021 Boat Access Area Development grants totaling $721,500 have been awarded to five communities. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced the award of $20.1 million in Virginia Telecommunication Initiative grants to improve broadband infrastructure in 17 localities. 


Economic development:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Matalco Kentucky LLC plans to locate in Simpson County with a $53.5 million investment that will create 60 full-time jobs in the coming years.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies U.S.A. Inc will create 725 jobs and expressed its intent to invest $2 billion in Wake County, 


Other efforts:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced the distribution of an additional $50 million in Community Power Resiliency grants through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. The funds released were allocated through the 2020-21 state budget and are designed to maintain the continuity of critical services that can be impacted by power outages, including schools, county election offices, food storage reserves, and COVID-19 testing sites.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS issued a statement on the introduction of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act saying he was “thrilled that this important legislation is once again being brought before Congress.” The bill will prohibit federal banking regulators from penalizing financial institutions that do business with cannabis businesses in states where cannabis is legal and regulated. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Chairman Rodney Butler, and Mohegan Tribe Chairman James Gessner Jr. announced that an agreement has been reached between the Lamont administration and both tribes that will allow the State of Connecticut to modernize gaming options available to state residents, including allowing for sports wagering and online gaming.
  • LOUISIANA’s Secretary of State’s Office said efforts to recall Gov. John Bel EDWARDS because of complaints about his coronavirus restrictions and mask mandate have failed.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK received and signed Assembly Bill 110, which revises the Nevada Lobbying Disclosure and Regulation Act. Among other items, the bill revises provisions related to the registration of lobbyists and the filing of certain reports concerning lobbying activities.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a nearly $72 million settlement with Altice following the company’s failure to adequately prepare for and restore broadband and cable television service after the August 2020 Tropical Storm Isaias left more than 400,000 Altice customers without service, some for as long as 14 days. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced he has signed several important pieces of legislation, including measures to modernize public health funding, increase access to early childhood education, boost the sale of electric vehicles, and remove the statue of Harry F. Byrd, Sr. from Capitol Square.


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