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Govs On Deck – March 5, 2021

Govs on Deck

Happy Friday and welcome to today’s 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’s administration announced that California will lead with safety protocols and vaccine equity to end the pandemic and reopen the economy. To that end, the state has set aside 40 percent of vaccine doses for the hardest-hit communities and established a vaccine equity metric – which seeks to increase vaccinations in those communities – as a prelude to adjusting the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which governs the conditions under which California’s economy can safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • COLORADO is allocating vaccines to community-based organizations across the state to host a total of 26 vaccination clinics between Friday, March 5 – Thursday, March 11, 2021, as part of Gov. Jared POLIS’ “Vaccines for All” plan. These clinics will focus on vaccinating underserved Coloradans and span a variety of diverse communities. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the launch of two additional state-supported mass vaccination sites in Des Plaines and Quincy. The sites will launch Thursday, March 4, and provide a combined nearly 4,000 doses per day at full capacity. The governor is also activating additional members of the Illinois National Guard to support the Southern Seven Counties: Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Alexander, Pulaski, and Massac Counties.
  • ILLINOIS Department of Public Health is encouraging those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination to utilize the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker (v-safe).  Developed by the CDC, v-safe allows individuals who have received their first vaccination to get a text sent to their smartphone to remind them it’s time for their second shot. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced a new partnership with four local federally qualified health centers and safety-net hospitals to administer vaccines to residents in Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced her administration’s plan to vaccinate meatpacking plant workers in Kansas. Under the plan, all meatpacking workers who want to be vaccinated will receive the first dose within the next two weeks.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced 157 new vaccination sites, including one new regional site at Baptist Health LaGrange, bringing the state’s total number of vaccination locations to 567.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that her Administration will align Maine’s vaccination plan with President Biden’s recent directive to make eligible pre-K-12 school staff and child care providers, regardless of age. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed legislation into law that authorizes qualified dentists to administer coronavirus vaccinations, increasing the number of eligible COVID-19 vaccinators throughout Minnesota. The pace of vaccination is currently limited by the number of vaccine doses available to states from the federal government.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed legislation that permits the Pennsylvania National Guard, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, to develop plans for the establishment and operation of regional sites for community distribution and administration of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, and vaccines for a virus, including COVID-19. The bill also requires a report on the Administration’s plans to incorporate the National Guard into its overall vaccination strategy while taking into account vaccine availability and other vital ongoing missions.


Reopening efforts:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that in the coming days he plans to revise some requirements that were implemented in Connecticut at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to those relating to capacity levels and travel restrictions.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS unveiled a plan to protect public health and support Maine’s economy as the state approaches its busy spring and summer tourism season. The Moving Maine Forward plan maintains critical health and safety protocols that have protected Maine people over the past year, establishes a clear timeframe to increase capacity limits to support economic activity, and standardizes these limits across sectors by transitioning to a simple model based on percentage of capacity. The plan also revises Maine’s travel policies established last summer under the Keep Maine Healthy Program and sets a target reopening date of March 26 for indoor service at bars.
  • NEVADA released initial guidance detailing the transition of certain mitigation measures to local authority. The guidance is in line with the phased-in approach and long-term timeline announced by Gov. Steve SISOLAK in mid-February when he rolled out Nevada’s Roadmap to Recovery Safe Reopening Plan.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order allowing indoor wedding receptions to operate at 35% capacity of the room in which they are held, up to 150 individuals, and outdoor wedding receptions to permit up to 150 individuals.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that beginning April 2, event, arts, and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of negative test prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors. Social distancing and face coverings will be required by all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable Department of Health guidance.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced a modification to the process for assigning county risk levels, specifically for counties facing moves back to Extreme Risk. With case rates across Oregon largely declining, beginning next week and continuing until further notice, counties that improved from Extreme Risk to any other risk level in the latest two-week period, and that are facing a move back to Extreme Risk in the next two-week period, will be given a two-week extension at their current risk level.


Business support:


  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM signed Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 3 into law, a pair of economic measures that earned broad bipartisan support in the Legislature and will deliver additional stimulus and relief for businesses and individuals across New Mexico. In addition to legislation the governor has already signed into law that will provide for $200 million in small business grants, the economic relief measures signed Wednesday will deliver a $600 personal income tax rebate to hundreds of thousands of front-line and low-wage workers, provide for a four-month tax holiday for food and beverage businesses hit especially hard by the economic effects of the pandemic, and make up to $500 million available to New Mexico small businesses seeking loans at a discounted borrowing rate.


Schools and students:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY visited Northeast Magnet High School, USD 259, to highlight that all Kansas K-12 teachers and school staff who want one will receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine over the next week. The governor also led a roundtable with teachers and administrative staff to discuss ways to best get kids back in school quickly and safely.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that some students in Hyde and Swain counties will soon be able to access high-speed internet via satellite technology, thanks to a pilot program aimed at improving internet access to support remote learning.


Health care:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that the Community Care Network of Kansas has been allocated $3 million in State-allocated CRF dollars to help its federally funded Community Health Centers increase access to care through telehealth.


Testing and tracing:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has approved California’s request to utilize Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) funding to provide voluntary COVID-19 testing for low-income students covered by the program, further supporting schools in underserved communities to reopen for in-person instruction.


Family support:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS and Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Secretary Emilie Amundson signaled their intent to submit a plan with the Joint Committee on Finance to use the additional Child Care Development Block Grant award Wisconsin received.


Housing support:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through June 30, 2021.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced the launch of a new program that will provide financial assistance to Louisiana renters and landlords experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order extending a moratorium preventing New Jersey residents from having their utilities disconnected through at least June 30, 2021


Other efforts:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order extending protections against price gouging for emergency supplies and medical supplies amid the ongoing emergency response to the pandemic.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that he has signed an executive order removing closed seasons for fishing on all inland waters in Connecticut, and opening additional lakes, ponds, as well as rivers and streams to fishing statewide.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman will host a virtual Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial on Capitol grounds to honor the more than 4,700 Kentuckians lost to the virus and mark one year since the first positive case in the commonwealth.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Ceres Nanosciences, Inc., a life sciences company that makes innovative products to improve diagnostic testing, will expand its operation in Prince William County’s Innovation Park to increase the manufacturing capacity of its Nanotrap® Magnetic Virus Particles for COVID-19 tests. The project will create up to 50 new jobs in the engineering, advanced manufacturing, and materials sciences fields over the next three years and help establish a stable supply of testing reagents to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ensure future readiness. 


Beyond COVID-19 


Extreme weather:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed a bill to protect Kansas cities from potential price surges in electricity bills caused by extremely cold temperatures in February.


State of the state addresses:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM will deliver his third State of the State Address on Tuesday evening in a virtual presentation to the California Legislature from Los Angeles County.


Education:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER’s administration is collaborating with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission on the new Rock the FAFSA Illinois Campaign. 


Opioid epidemic:


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY reaffirmed his Administration’s commitment to end the opioid epidemic through a comprehensive, data-driven collaboration across several state departments and also released the 2020 year-end statistics for New Jersey. 


LGBTQ rights:


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation to establish specific rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, undesignated/non-binary, questioning, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) older adults and people living with HIV in long-term care facilities.


Renewable energy:


  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that new regulations have been adopted to dramatically accelerate the siting and construction of major renewable energy facilities across New York State. 


Workforce development:


  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced new funding for two projects that will boost manufacturing awareness for students in Lancaster and Lehigh counties through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing Training-to-Career program.


Economic development:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Stratus Plastics International will create 40 jobs while immediately expanding production at its Morgantown facility, with the potential for a total of 135 new positions in the years to come.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Tempur Sealy International, Inc. will invest $16.7 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Scott County. The company will increase production to meet the growing demand for its proprietary foam mattress and pillow products. The project will create 25 new jobs.


Other efforts:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS signed a bipartisan bill that will allow the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office to utilize savings over the past year due to staff turnover to provide a much overdue pay progression increase to staff to help retain and recruit talented staff while ensuring competitive salaries compared to their prosecutor counterparts.  


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