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Govs On Deck – May 18, 2020

Govs on Deck

Happy Monday and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still daily, and we hope you are all still safe and healthy.
Questions or suggestions? Send me a note at 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.
Regional efforts:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHYNEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO, CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT, and DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced a multi-state agreement to reopen public and private beaches with certain restrictions in place effective Friday, May 22. This approach will better align the states’ policies ahead of the summer months.

Federal funding:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM was joined by state legislative leaders, labor, business and civic leaders from throughout California in his call for the federal government to provide relief to states and cities. 

Emergency declarations:

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM issued a modified emergency public health order easing restrictions on retail operations and requiring everyone to wear a cloth face covering in public, among other changes.

Reopening efforts:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY released guidance for Phase 1 of Delaware’s rolling reopening which will begin on June 1st. Delaware’s Phase 1 reopening plan provides general and sector-specific guidance for Delawareans and businesses.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that as part of the Healthy at Work initiative the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will reopen tourism in an effort to generate revenue to boost the state’s economy and offer Kentuckians opportunities to explore the commonwealth through in-state travel. The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will open Kentucky State resort parks, recreational parks, lodges and cabins to the public for normal business hours beginning June 1st.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order allowing charter fishing services and for-hire vessel activities, as well as watercraft rental businesses, to open with required social distancing measures. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced horse racing tracks across the state and Watkins Glen International Racetrack will be allowed to open without fans as of June 1st. The state will issue guidance on how they can safely reopen in the coming week.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that five regions, the Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions, began reopening on Friday. NYS on PAUSE will be extended until May 28 for all regions that do not reopen today – Western New York, the Capital Region, the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced 12 additional Pennsylvania counties will move to the yellow phase of reopening on Friday, May 22nd. These counties will bring the total number of counties in the yellow phase to 49. The remaining 18 counties are in the red phase.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO laid out four different metrics, in addition to the state’s operational response, that officials are tracking as they consider moving between phases of reopening. They include hospital capacity, hospitalizations, rate of spread, and doubling rate of current hospitalizations.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued guidance for construction, golf and photography in Phase 2.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS approved a statement of scope developed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services beginning the administrative rule making process to enact protections for Wisconsinites during the COVID-19 pandemic. The approval comes after the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s ruling striking down Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order.

Public gatherings:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that Connecticut state parks that feature beaches along the state’s shoreline will be open Friday, May 22, though with capacity limitations. Visitors are advised to follow social distancing guidelines. 


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order authorizing the Secretary of State to create temporary rules for registered electors to receive and return issue petitions over mail and email, and to support safe in-person signature gathering.  
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order temporarily suspending the statutory provisions requiring registered electors to sign petitions for unaffiliated and independent candidates in the presence of a petition circulator, and authorizes the Secretary of State to issue rules that allow for signature collection in a manner that protects public health while the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration is in place. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order limiting in-person contact for the 2020 elections while allowing the elections to proceed safely and without interruption to the Secretary of State’s operations. CDPHE also updated the state’s Safer At Home Public Health Order to further clarify that elections are a critical government function adding election operations, including election judges, signature gatherers and circulators, campaign workers, and volunteers.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order to create a modified vote-by-mail election for the July 7th Primary. The order requires that each county’s elections officials send vote-by-mail ballots to all registered Democratic and Republican voters and send VBM ballot applications to unaffiliated and inactive voters. All VBM ballots and VBM ballot applications will come with pre-paid postage. 


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT’s COVID-19 Learn From Home Task Force’s co-chairs announced that the first wave of Dell laptops that are being donated to Connecticut high schools by the Partnership for Connecticut are arriving slightly ahead of schedule and will begin to be distributed to districts starting next week. The Partnership is donating 60,000 laptops in total. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order creating the Return to Learning Advisory Council that will formalize a process for determining how schools may be able to reopen in the fall. The panel – which will be comprised of students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials – will be tasked with providing the COVID-19 Task Force on Education within the State Emergency Operations Center with recommendations on how to safely, equitably, and efficiently return to school in the fall. Michigan will also partner with a national nonprofit organization called Opportunity Labs to bring national expertise to this project. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation to provide relief for students enrolled in various state higher education financial aid programs and address the unique circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill directs the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority to exclude the Spring 2020 semester from a student’s total lifetime eligibility limits for all state financial aid programs if a student is unable to finish the semester due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, students who withdrew or reduced credits during this time will not have to repay the state financial aid amounts that the student would have had to return under previous law. The eligibility criteria for the New Jersey STARS Program and the New Jersey STARS II Program will also be temporarily relaxed to allow students to remain eligible even if their Spring 2020 grade point average fell below the previous eligibility minimums. 

Business operations:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation authorizing the sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages by the holders of certain retail consumption licenses and concessionaire permits during the COVID-19 state of emergency. 

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order authorizing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to reallocate existing funds from contracts with local public health agencies to COVID-19 response activities as well as redirect certain state funds to behavioral research designed to inform COVID-19 recommendations and educational campaigns focused on minority and traditionally disadvantaged communities. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order suspending certain statutes that will allow Coloradans to remain eligible for critical programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order allowing elective surgeries and invasive procedures, both medical and dental, to resume on Tuesday, May 26th.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation requiring Medicaid and health insurance coverage for certain refills of prescription drugs during state of emergency.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation requiring hospitals to permit individuals to accompany a woman during childbirth.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced Westchester and Suffolk Counties are now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. A total of 49 counties can now resume elective surgeries. 
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that through the federal stimulus bills providers of COVID-19 testing and treatment services will be able to be reimbursed for providing those services to uninsured patients.

Testing and tracing:

  • ILLINOIS announced new drive-thru COVID-19 testing facilities on Chicago’s southside, in Champaign, and Rolling Meadows , while drive-thru and walk-up services will be offered in Peoria.  These free community services will be open seven days a week to test individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and those employees who support critical services. 
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK visited the drive thru testing site that took place at the Fort Belknap Agency over the weekend as part of state efforts to partner with tribal communities to perform enhanced surveillance testing.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the state has doubled testing capacity to reach 40,000 diagnostic tests per day, and encouraged eligible New Yorkers to visit a new website to find a nearby testing site. New York is partnering with CVS to bring testing to more than 60 CVS pharmacies across the state.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a statement asking patrons to voluntarily provide contact information in case of COVID-19 exposure. Only information for one person per household is needed. If the list is not used within 30 days, it will be destroyed.

PPE/medical supplies:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order to help protect workers and residents in long-term care facilities and many other critical industries by requiring workers at critical businesses to wear non-medical face coverings while at work and to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods.  
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the state will be distributing 50,000 infrared thermometers it has secured for small businesses, nonprofits, and places of worship to support safe reopening activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced New Mexico Mask Madness, a statewide competition intended to highlight the creativity and artistic ability of New Mexicans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. New Mexicans can submit a photo of their submission, a face mask or face covering online. The public will be able to vote on their favorite masks and face-coverings. The top vote-getters will be seeded into brackets, and New Mexicans will then be able to vote for their favorite mask in each matchup until a champion is crowned.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the state has received donations of approximately 210,000 procedural masks from international businesses and the Taiwanese government for its state supply of PPE.

Family support:

  • CONNECTICUT is partnering with UnitedHealth Group, United Way 211, and DoorDash to pilot a free meal delivery service for higher risk populations, which is beginning in the Greater Hartford area. Individuals, many of whom are homebound seniors. 

Worker support:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order extending certain state income tax payment deadlines until July 15th for all Colorado taxpayers to quickly provide relief from payment and penalties. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order providing temporary relief from certain restrictions concerning shared work programs by expanding flexibility for Kansas employers, so they can take advantage of the existing federal programs.

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending temporary relief for motor carriers moving medical supplies, food shipments, and other items from certain rules and regulations until rescinded, on June 15, 2020, or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency expires, whichever is earlier.  
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Kentucky will award $500,000 in CARES funding to 85 humanities organizations who have suffered program financial losses due to COVID-19.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order allowing laboratory research to resume under stringent precautionary measures.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order further extending enhanced price gouging restrictions during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order extending the exemptions for vehicles and drivers transporting essential goods from certain regulations, including limits on weight and hours of service.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that NJ TRANSIT has been awarded $1.4 billion in federal aid through the CARES Act. This critical emergency relief funding will enable NJ TRANSIT to continue to provide service to essential workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus response.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation allowing the extension of certain local government timeframes; allowing local governments to accept certain payments; allowing local governments to conduct certain meetings remotely; and adjusting certain property tax distribution and notice requirements.
  • OREGON’s Division of Financial Regulation has joined an international enforcement task force organized by the North American Securities Administrators Association to investigate investment fraud during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the extension of a proclamation strengthening emergency protection for domestic violence victims amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The proclamation extension was previously denied by state Republicans. A May 15, 2020, letter from the Legislature extends the proclamation until June 15.

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!