Govs On Deck – March 26, 2021
It’s Friday, everyone, and what a beautiful Friday it is (at least in D.C.). Time for today’s edition of “Govs on Deck”! As a reminder, your favorite newsletter comes out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
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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.
- In a show of bipartisan support, 24 Democratic governors joined two Republican colleagues and dozens of Asian Americans who have served in top roles across six presidential administrations, in issuing a pair of statements forcefully condemning the spike in anti-Asian harassment over the past year.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK and First Lady Kathy SISOLAK hosted a virtual roundtable with community leaders, law enforcement, and elected officials to hear directly from the State’s leadership about the issues they are facing and discuss solutions aimed at addressing acts of violence and discrimination towards the AAPI community. The first lady is the daughter of immigrants and her father was the first Chinese dealer on Fremont Street in Las Vegas.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT will join Vice President Harris in New Haven today where he will announce a rollout of state aid to child care providers under the American Rescue Plan.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed a bill to ensure Kansas can continue providing communities with resources and support critical to the state’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Among other provisions, the bill modifies the procedure for the declaration and extension of a state disaster emergency under the Kansas Emergency Management Act and extends the current disaster declaration to May 28, 2021.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that starting April 1, individuals aged 50+ will be eligible to make an appointment, and individuals 16+ will be eligible to make an appointment to be vaccinated starting on April 15.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that, because of the efficient speed at which Connecticut’s vaccine providers have been getting doses out, the state plans to accelerate its vaccine program even further. All adults in Connecticut over the age of 16 will now be eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment beginning April 1, 2021. Previously, the eligibility date for this age group was April 5.
- HAWAII’s Department of Health announced the state will extend COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people age 60 and older beginning Monday, March 29.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that starting next Monday, March 29, 2021, the State of Kansas will make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all Kansans (16+), entering the final Phase 5 of the Vaccine Prioritization plan.
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that all Louisianans 16 years old or older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday, March 29.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced that all Minnesotans age 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine starting on March 30th.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced the planned opening of a pilot FEMA Community Vaccination Center located at the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced an accelerated timeline for moving to Groups 4 and 5 for vaccine eligibility with the rest of Group 4 eligible on March 31st and all adults eligible beginning April 7th.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order establishing directives for the COVID-19 Dial Framework. The order was amended to allow for counties in Level Orange to request site-specific variances, and otherwise extended the requirement for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to continue the Dial Framework until April 16, 2021.
Schools and students:
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that $19.3 million in federal funds has been awarded to Kentucky from the second round of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund 2 for educational support services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will provide student mental health services; family support; college, career, and transition services for students; and assistance for college-bound students and families in need.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ is calling on the Senate to pass his summer learning package. The legislation passed the House earlier this week. The governor’s legislation ensures schools have the support they need to help students recover from COVID-19. The $150 million plan would address opportunity gaps and expand summer learning opportunities. While the Senate has taken action on parts of the plan, the entire proposal must be passed by April 15 in order for schools to have time to plan for summer learning.
- NEW JERSEY’s Department of Health released updated COVID-19 K-12 operational guidance for local health departments. The updated guidance, which reflects recent changes to K-12 recommendations from the CDC, is aligned with the Administration’s goal of opening schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT applauded the Connecticut House of Representatives for unanimously voting to approve legislation that codifies into state statutes the executive orders he issued during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that relax restrictions on outdoor dining at restaurants and enabling these businesses to provide expanded service to their customers outside. The legislation permits restaurants to operate under these relaxed rules through March 31, 2022 and allows municipalities to expedite permanent changes to their zoning rules if they wish to expand the availability of outdoor dining and retail activity.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment program has relaunched to assist unemployed Kansans with job searches and career counseling.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that financial institutions across New Jersey have put in place measures to protect federal stimulus funds being provided to New Jerseyans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the launch of a free, online Citizen Public Health Training Course for New Yorkers to learn about preparedness for and prevention of public health emergencies from top public health experts.
- OREGON’s Secretary of State Audits Division released an advisory report identifying several steps the Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon Legislature could take to improve infection control in long-term care facilities — which includes nursing facilities, assisted living, and residential care facilities, and memory care units. The improvements identified in the report could help the COVID-19 response, as well as responses to other illness outbreaks common to these facilities, like flu and norovirus.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM issued an executive order to further assist communities across the state recovering from devastating wildfires last year. The order extends the state’s prohibition on price gouging for counties impacted by various wildfires in August and September 2020.
State of the State addresses:
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ will deliver his state of the state address on March 28th.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER released a recommended budget for FY 2021-2023 that will strengthen North Carolina to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and ignite recovery for all North Carolinians. The governor’s plan recommends significant investments in schools and increased pay for teachers, action to strengthen health care access, and expanded economic opportunities and infrastructure investments.
- NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced she will call the New Mexico Legislature into a special session on Tuesday, March 30, to take up a pair of economic and job creation items that were left unfinished in the 60-day session: legalizing adult-use cannabis and expanding the Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA.
Criminal justice reform:
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed legislation abolishing the death penalty, making Virginia the 23rd state, and the first in the South, to stop executions. The legislation prohibits the use of capital punishment for any violation of Virginia law.
- CALIFORNIA First Partner Jennifer SIEBEL NEWSOM and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls announced that Adobe, Mattel, and Twitter were among the eight new companies to sign the California Equal Pay Pledge, bringing the total number of companies who have signed to 65. The announcement comes as women bear the brunt of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, which could also widen the pay gap.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER issued a statement on the passage of HB 153, the Illinois Health Care and Human Services Reform Act saying, “For too long, our healthcare system has left behind Black and brown communities creating disparities in health outcomes. But today, here in Illinois, our legislature has passed a remarkable piece of legislation to build a healthier future for all of our communities.”
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has received a federal commitment of $4 million in grant funding to develop Assisted Outpatient Treatment services that will enhance outpatient treatment services for people with serious mental illness in Kansas. The grant will make $1 million available annually for four years. The funds will support five AOT pilot sites to reduce the incarceration and/or hospitalization of people with SMI in their communities through court-ordered outpatient treatment.
- MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS released a statement following the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ announcement that the special enrollment period for HealthCare.gov plans will be extended until August 15, 2021, encouraging anyone who needs coverage to visit CoverME.gov to explore their options and to sign up for a plan.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS, together with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance Deputy Commissioner Nathan Houdek and Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake hosted a roundtable discussion with Wisconsinites on the rising costs of prescription drugs.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER launched a new dashboard in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to track road projects and make information easily accessible to the public as construction continues under the governor’s Rebuilding Michigan program. The program will finance new projects throughout the state and free up funding to expand the scope of other projects or reduce construction times.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced Nucor Tubular Products plans to build a $164 million tube mill and create 72 full-time jobs in Gallatin County, marking a significant step forward in the governor’s mission to create well-paying, high-quality jobs across the commonwealth.
- PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that air filter manufacturer Filterbuy, Inc. has selected Pennsylvania as the best place to expand its operations, creating at least 120 new, full-time jobs and redeveloping an old, underutilized industrial building in Westmoreland County.
- WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that he concurs with the United States Department of Interior’s decision that 32 acres of land in Beloit should be taken into trust by the federal government for the purpose of developing a new Ho-Chunk Nation casino. As described in the Ho-Chunk Nation’s submissions to the Department of Interior, the Beloit project would create more than 1,500 long-term jobs in the casino-resort complex and more than 2,000 construction jobs.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the state of Kansas was chosen by the National Governors Association to collaborate on policies to advance their whole-of-state cybersecurity postures, the latest in a series of collaborations between NGA and states on cybersecurity.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed legislation that updates Michigan’s Industrial Hemp Growers Act to ensure the state’s hemp program is in alignment with the USDA’s final hemp rule, which went into effect on March 22, 2021.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE lifted his prohibition on publicly funded non-essential travel to North Carolina that applied to many state employees. In 2016, following Charlotte, North Carolina’s passage of an anti-discrimination ordinance that allowed transgender individuals to use gender-specific facilities consistent with their gender identity, the state of North Carolina passed H.B. 2, which revoked these civil rights protections. It preempted non-discrimination ordinances passed by local governments, clarified that sexual orientation and identity are not protected classes, and allowed discrimination against individuals, including Washingtonians traveling to North Carolina for work-related purposes.
Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. See you all on Monday!