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Govs On Deck – May 27, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Wednesday afternoon 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.
Emergency declarations:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed a new state disaster declaration to ensure that Kansas can effectively respond to the current emergency situation, which includes an unprecedented economic emergency and the imminent threat of new outbreaks of COVID-19, specifically regarding food supply.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed an amended executive order extending Virginia’s state of emergency declaration.

Federal requests:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT’s request to provide an extension for its non-congregate housing programs until July 2nd has been approved by FEMA. The program provides non-congregate housing to vulnerable individuals that have COVID-19 or have been in contact with COVID-19 positive individuals, including for those at high risk of exposure in public service, individuals in at-risk facilities, first responders and health care workers who have been exposed and cannot return home, individuals in domestic violence shelters, and homeless individuals in congregate shelters. 

Reopening efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT released his Reopen Connecticut report, which contains recommendations from the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group – the panel of local health, business, workforce, and education experts who provided his administration and legislative leadership with recommendations on the reopening of Connecticut’s economy and education system.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that Nevada is ready to move into Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan on Friday, May 29th. Additional businesses including personal services and gyms may open under new restrictions. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Northern Virginia is on track to join the rest of the state on Friday in phase one of the reopening process.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued guidance further clarifying outdoor recreation requirements in Phase 1 and Phase 2.

Public gatherings:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that, under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, public and private gatherings can increase from no more than 10 people to no more than 50 people, while continuing to follow social distancing.

Business guidance:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that barbershops and salons can now begin to reopen under Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that professional sports teams which train or play in New Jersey are now authorized to practice and engage in games or matches if their leagues resume competition. 
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced the state’s emergency public health order will be amended to permit limited outdoor dine-in services for most of the state beginning today. Dine-in services inside restaurants and bars remain temporarily prohibited. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the Rhode Island Commerce and Rhode Island Department of Health will be holding virtual forums for businesses this week. Following the discussion, there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM directed the Department of Labor and Industry to develop emergency temporary standards to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19.


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that the New Jersey Department of Education and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education will issue updated guidance allowing school districts and colleges/universities to hold modified in-person graduation ceremonies beginning on July 6th. The guidance will include requirements that ceremonies be held outdoors, adhere to social distancing protocols, and observe capacity restrictions in order to protect the health of students and families celebrating these milestones amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order allowing voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to proceed under certain conditions.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order temporarily expanding telemedicine and addressing certain licensing requirements to facilitate economic recovery and prevent future outbreaks of COVID-19. 

Testing and tracing:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Public Health announced that daily updates on COVID-19 cases are now available statewide for all 169 towns by date reported, and on total tests and cases by date collected and date reported. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is significantly expanding contact tracing by increasing the number of skilled staff and volunteers, harnessing innovative technology, and securing social services to help people with COVID-19 maintain self-isolation. Maine’s contact tracing strategy has three components: increasing personnel, deploying the Sara Alert System, and expanding social supports. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order expanding the types of medical personnel that can order a test and creating a new category of community testing sites that offer testing to anyone with reason to be tested without an advance order, and without charging an out-of-pocket cost to any Michigander.  

PPE and medical supplies:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state has secured a 17-month contract with Honeywell for six million N95 masks to keep frontline health care workers safe.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM signed an executive order requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Worker support:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order granting temporary relief from certain unemployment insurance requirements including the waiting period and employment seeking requirements during the state of disaster emergency. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the extension of a previous proclamation. The intent of this amended proclamation is to continue to protect CARES Act stimulus payments, as well as state and federal unemployment payments, from bank account garnishments. 

Public communications:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced that the state has launched a new online dashboard that visually illustrates COVID-19 risks and trends in Michigan, providing residents with important information about the pandemic status where they live and work. The COVID-19 data displayed on the dashboard represents publicly available case, death, and test data analyzed to determine the overall level of risk and key trends. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the winners of the Wear a Mask New York Ad Contest – “We Heart New York” created by Bunny Lake Films and “You Can Still Smile” by Natalia Bougadellis and Emory Parker. Both winning videos will run as public service announcements and can be viewed here.

Relief funds:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that $85.4 million in federal funds provided for COVID-19 relief to counties will be disbursed this week. Though the federal government did not require that the state share any of the $3.56 billion in the CRF to North Carolina local governments, Governor Cooper’s COVID-19 budget proposal recommended $300 million be allocated to counties and municipalities. Ultimately, the unanimously approved and bipartisan budget that Governor Cooper signed included $150 million for counties that have the flexibility to share monies with their municipalities as county commissioners deem appropriate. 

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY has vetoed a state House bill that was pushed through the legislature last week. The governor called the bill hastily crafted and warned that it included provisions that will damage Kansas’ ability to respond to COVID-19 and all future disasters. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY has called a special session starting June 3 and asked the Legislature to put politics aside, work with her, and deliver an emergency management bill.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending the conditional and temporary relief from certain motor carrier rules and regulations during the state of disaster emergency.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR addressed a weekend protest at the Capitol that garnered national attention when a small group marched onto the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion and hung an effigy in a nearby tree. The governor called out the members of the group for engaging in acts meant to intimidate as well as politicians and officeholders who have encouraged them.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending the validity of watercraft registrations that expired after February 1st to July 31st.  

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!