Govs On Deck – March 29, 2021
Ah, Monday. Time for another 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.
- CONNECTICUT’s Department of Public Health announced that it has entered into a memorandum of agreement with Access Health CT, a quasi-public state agency, to increase vaccine access in communities high on the social vulnerability index. The partnership will utilize and expand on Access Health CT’s existing outreach infrastructure.
- ILLINOIS’ Department of Public Health is launching Rapid Response Vaccination Teams to five counties and expanding vaccine eligibility where demand appears to have waned in an attempt to address a concerning possible trend in increasing COVID hospitalizations and case rates.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR and faith leaders representing more than 50 churches kicked off a 12-hour vaccination event on Saturday organized by UofL Health in West Louisville, where 2,500 Kentuckians were expected to be vaccinated.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced the expansion of eligibility for more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program. Eligible groups include individuals ages 55-64, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and staff, and communications and utility infrastructure workers among others.
- OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced that Oregon will again be accelerating its timelines for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for frontline workers and people with underlying health conditions. In the past week, after attesting to largely completing senior vaccinations, 22 counties have begun vaccinating Oregonians in Phase 1B, Group 6. On Monday, March 29, Oregonians statewide in Group 6 will become eligible for vaccination, as previously scheduled. Beginning Monday, April 5, all people in Phase 1B, Group 7 will become eligible for vaccination, two weeks earlier than previously planned. As previously announced, all Oregonians over the age of 16 will become eligible for vaccination no later than May 1.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the launch of Excelsior Pass — a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that his administration plans to make a historic investment in early childhood programs across Connecticut to assist in their ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic impact, including through the release of $210 million from the federal funding the state has received to date to support pandemic recovery efforts.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed legislation that will provide flexibility to restaurants to serve alcohol outside and during permitted events. These laws codify current policies in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- OREGON’s Department of Revenue announced it will adjust the tax returns for Oregon taxpayers who have already filed their 2020 returns and are due relief from income taxes paid on recently exempted unemployment benefits earned in 2020.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order related to protections provided to Colorado tenants from late fees due to COVID-19.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER issued a statement on the passage of HB 1871, a bill that authorizes local election authorities to use of drop boxes and curbside voting, saying that Illinois is “shining a bright light on how to make it easier, taking lessons we learned in the pandemic and applying them to the future.”
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced his selection of 41 projects totaling more than $4.3 million to receive funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. All selected projects will upgrade parks and recreation spaces across Kentucky.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed legislation that will expand an existing broadband capacity pilot program to increase access to high-speed internet in underserved areas of the Commonwealth.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Charles City County Public Schools will add renewable energy production and increase energy efficiency across its school system with a new $500,000 grant from the Solar Enhanced Energy Savings Performance Contract Program at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. The project, which includes a 712.5-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array, will improve energy equity while advancing the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced an agreement on legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis. The bill would establish the Office of Cannabis Management to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework that would cover medical, adult-use, and cannabinoid hemp. The bill would also expand New York State’s existing medical marijuana and cannabinoid hemp programs. The legislation provides licensing for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market, and creates a social and economic equity program to assist individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement that want to participate in the industry.
- VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced he has signed several pieces of legislation into law, including measures to combat food insecurity and boost passenger rail in Southwest Virginia.
Stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands. See you all on Wednesday!