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Govs On Deck – May 1, 2020

Govs on Deck

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still daily, and it’s officially May – processing some mixed emotions about all that. But most importantly, we hope you are all still safe and healthy.
Questions or suggestions? Send me a note at amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy@JerusalemDemsas, and @andersonkayjay.
We want this to be helpful, so let me 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 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.
Stay at home orders:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS extended the state’s stay at home order until May 15 as the state continues to slow the spread of COVID-19 to meet the White House threshold criteria for opening more of the economy.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ extended the state’s stay at home order until Monday, May 18. 
  • NEW MEXICO state leadership announced the extension of the state’s emergency public health order through May 15. The amended order maintains the directive that New Mexicans remain at home except for outings essential to health, safety, and welfare. 

Emergency declarations: 

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending Michigan’s state of emergency through May 28th.

Reopening plans:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT presented an approach his administration is considering to reopen Connecticut’s economy in phases beginning May 20. The plan relies on metrics surrounding disease conditions, virus management, health care capacity and supplies, and the ability to continue social distancing practices. 
  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE authorized Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell’s reopening plan that starts today.
  • KANSAS Gov Laura KELLY presented her framework for gradually, safely re-opening the Kansas economy and getting Kansas back to work. Kelly’s framework, “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas” is structured to return more flexibility to local community response efforts, while still operating under a statewide, regulatory baseline.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK laid out the State’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery plan, designed to build a path forward and safely restart Nevada’s economy. The criteria includes a consistent downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization over a 14-day period, hospitals having the ability to maintain hospital capacity without employing Crisis Standards of Care, and expanded testing and case contract tracing.

Federal requests:

  • MONTANA’s Office of Public Instruction announced that the U.S. Department of Education approved its application for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds under the federal CARES Act. Montana will receive $41.3 million to support local school districts in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Public gatherings:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM has ordered beaches in Orange County to close. 

Elections:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending the date that unaffiliated candidates may begin collecting signatures. 

Schools:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order to extend and clarify a previous executive order closing all k-12 schools for the remainder of the year. The new order also suspends in-person instruction of both the Great Start Readiness Program, the state-funded preschool program, and early childhood programs for the remainder of the school year. School districts that run GSRP must also detail a plan on how the teaching team will engage with enrolled children and families as well as provide children and their families plans for the transition from GSRP to kindergarten.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that all k-12 schools and college facilities will remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Business operations:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended the closure of downhill ski areas until May 23rd. 
  • NEW MEXICO’s amended public health emergency order will allow for partial reopenings for some non-essential business operations. Non-essential retailers, beginning today, may provide curbside pickup and delivery services if permitted by their business license. Liquor licenses, for instance, do not allow for curbside or delivery service. Child care may now be extended to people operating non-essential businesses.
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Environmental Management has enacted a new, no-cost Direct Sale Dealer License that authorizes commercial fishermen in Rhode Island to sell certain species of finfish, and to sell and transport for sale live lobsters and crabs, directly to consumers and licensed seafood retailers from the vessel on which they were harvested.

Health care:

  • COLORADO’s Office of eHealth Innovation is expanding access to telehealth resources for Coloradans. The state is developing a coordinated and collaborative approach to health information technology and digital health solutions in partnership with the Innovation Response Team.
  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Social Services is preparing to implement new coverage for uninsured children and adults in the HUSKY Health program. The new coverage means that uninsured state residents of any income level may be eligible for free Medicaid coverage of COVID-19 testing and testing-related provider visits, and that Connecticut residents who meet financial eligibility requirements but do not qualify for full Medicaid due to their immigration status, including undocumented individuals, are eligible to receive Medicaid to treat an emergency medical condition. Emergency Medicaid is not a factor in federal immigration ‘public charge’ determinations. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending the temporary suspension of certain requirements for the provision of telemedicine and other medical practices.
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Health issued Crisis Standards of Care Guidelines for acute care hospitals, which are intended to ensure an equitable and just allocation of patient-care resources, should a scarcity arise.

Testing and tracing:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that state prisons will soon begin testing thousands of corrections officers and all of the approximately 18,000 state inmates for the coronavirus, 
  • NEW JERSEY TRANSIT announced that COVID-19 testing will be available daily for all NJ TRANSIT employees. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew M. CUOMO announced that New York’s contact tracing pilot program will begin in the coming weeks. The program will focus on areas with the highest rates of infection and on regions where data shows could be the first to open. The program will include a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 individuals and will utilize additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in each region. The program will operate through the next flu season, and it will be implemented in coordination with tri-state neighbors New Jersey and Connecticut.

PPE / medical supplies:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order temporarily waiving certain state contracting statutes in order to expedite the procurement of critical services, including diagnostic testing, that are urgently needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic or that will result in disruptions of care for vulnerable populations during this emergency period.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Kentucky hospitals will now be using the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to decontaminate N95 respirator masks for up to 20 reuses without degrading filter performance.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced Montana has received the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to begin cleaning and disinfecting used N95 respirators.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY’s administration announced that the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management has secured the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to assist healthcare providers, first responders, and other agencies in decontaminating and preserving critically needed N95 respirators at no charge to the sending agencies.

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Labor has begun accepting claim applications for the self-employed, many of whom are eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.
  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE announced the launch of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that will provide insurance benefits to individuals who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment. 

Family support:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Kentucky is one of the pilot states for a new program allowing SNAP recipients to use benefits online, including for delivery orders. Amazon and Walmart are currently the only retailers that have partnered with Kentucky for online SNAP purchasing.
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Human Services announced that, like in March and April,  SNAP households that were not already receiving the maximum SNAP benefit amount for their household size will continue to receive an increase to their benefits to bring them to the maximum amount for the month of May. 

Child care:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced a new portal to help parents, including essential workers and vulnerable families, find safe, reliable, and accessible child care options. The new portal enables parents to enter their location and the type of care they need, instantly receiving a list of local center-based and family child care programs. 

Homeowner/renter support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended his executive order limiting evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections for an additional 30 days. 
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued a modification to his state of emergency declaration, providing additional protections for Delaware renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued a modification to his state of emergency declaration, extending the application deadline for Delaware’s Senior School Property Tax Credit Program until June 1st.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending the temporary prohibition of utility disconnects, and certain foreclosures and evictions.

Response task forces/relief efforts:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced the formation of the Local Empowerment Advisory Panel, or “LEAP,” a group of Nevada stakeholders who will serve as a resource for counties as they work through the necessary requirements to reopen and share best practices and guidelines for local communities. The LEAP will also be working directly with the Governor’s Office to inform all future directives governing businesses and public life throughout each phase of this roadmap to recovery.

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order that will allow adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing rather than in-person amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order restricting spending for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. The order directs the Office of State Planning and Budgeting to submit the sequestration plan outlined in the order to the Joint Budget Committee and General Assembly.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order directing the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to provide additional funds to nursing homes and other congregate care facilities in response to COVID-19.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order permitting licensed embalmers who are filing a death certificate for a person who had a communicable disease at the time of death to state on a form that the body has been disinfected in accordance with the Public Health Code by providing a signed statement instead of a notarized affidavit. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the MTA will disinfect the New York City Transit system, including the Metro North and Long Island Railroad, daily as the State and City continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The MTA will also provide free alternative transportation options to essential workers during the cleaning hours.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN is directing state agencies to prepare spending cuts that may amount to 8.5% of their share of the tax-supported general fund in the next two years. 

Friday feelgood:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the state is directing insurers to waive all cost-sharing, copays, and deductibles for mental health services for essential workers through this crisis.
  • NORTH CAROLINA high school seniors at West Craven High School were surprised with personalized yard signs congratulating them on their graduation.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!