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Govs On Deck – May 4, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Monday 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 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.
Regional efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT, DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO, PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF, and RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced a joint multi-state agreement to develop a regional supply chain for personal protective equipment, other medical equipment, and testing. The states will work together to identify the entire region’s needs for these products, aggregate demand among the states, reduce costs, and stabilize the supply chain. 

Stay at home orders:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER issued a modified order that includes the exercise of religion as a permitted essential activity under the state’s updated stay at home order. 

Emergency declarations: 

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM invoked the state’s Riot Control Act, authorizing her to enact further temporary restrictions to mitigate the uninhibited spread of COVID-19 in Gallup, NM. The executive order came in response to an emergency request from the mayor of Gallup. McKinley County, where Gallup is located, is reporting more than 30 percent of the state’s total positive COVID-19 cases and the most positive cases in the entire state. 

Reopening plans:

  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the reopening of 24 counties in the northwest and north-central regions of the state beginning on Friday, May 8th. These counties were deemed ready to move to a reopening – or yellow phase – because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will be reopening state parks in a graduated manner during the first phase of reopening Rhode Island’s economy. 

Federal requests:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLISCONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that FEMA has activated the Crisis Care Program (CCP) for their states. The CCP provides reimbursements to local organizations that support individuals and communities as they recover from the psychological effects of disasters. Services include: Stress mitigation; Crisis Counseling; Coping strategies; Emotional support;  Education; Links with individuals or agencies that can help those impacted; Services can be provided in either a group setting or one-on-one. 

Public gatherings:

  • RHODE ISLAND’s Department of Environmental Management is asking boaters to follow COVID-19 social distancing rules and other safety guidelines as they work on their boats at marinas and boatyards and while they’re on the water. 

Elections:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO issued an executive order delaying school board elections and budget votes statewide until June 9th. The school board elections and budget votes will all be conducted by mail and all qualified voters will be sent an absentee ballot with return postage paid. The order also delays local special district and village elections until September 15th. 
  • RHODE ISLAND’s Board of Elections voted to approve requests from cities and towns to open 47 polling locations for the predominantly mail ballot Presidential Preference Primary to be held on June 2nd.

Business operations:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending existing safety measures to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies until May 29th. The order also extends temporary relief from licensing requirements for food sellers and pharmacies.  
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order allowing for the resumption of some types of work that present a very low risk of infection, including construction, real-estate activities, and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors, as of May 7th. 

Testing and tracing:

  • ILLINOIS announced a new drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility will be open to the public in the coming days to expand the state’s testing capacity. 
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Corrections announced plans to provide COVID-19 tests to staff, inmates, and residents on-site at each of NJDOC’s facilities and halfway houses. Universal testing is expected to begin by the end of this week. Additionally, in support of staff safety, the NJDOC is obtaining full-service non-congregate housing for its first responders and Rutgers UCHC staff members with exposure to the virus through a program offered by the NJ Office of Emergency Management and FEMA. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the results of the state’s completed antibody testing study, showing 12.3 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies. The survey developed a baseline infection rate by testing 15,000 people at grocery stores and community centers across the state over the past two weeks.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced new targeted efforts to further reduce the number of new hospitalizations per day. The effort will gather additional information and data from hospitals about the individuals who are being hospitalized for COVID-19, including if they are essential workers, where they work, how they commute, where they live, and other demographics. This specific information and data from the hospitals will be used to come up with a new strategy more tailored to the reduction of new daily hospitalizations.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the opening of five new drive-thru testing sites across the state.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN introduced new plans for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, two foundational elements of her framework for reopening the state. Key elements of the testing plan include voluntary, widespread testing in partnership with OHSU; unified coordination between all hospital labs to optimize Oregon’s available testing capacity; a focus on collecting data to serve at-risk communities. The plan also expands Oregon’s testing criteria, so that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested within 48 to 72 hours. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that the State Emergency Operations Center, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and Wisconsin National Guard are working with local health departments to create community testing events in places with a known lack of access to testing or additional testing is needed because of high rates of COVID-19.

PPE / medical supplies:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the state will distribute over seven million more cloth masks to vulnerable New Yorkers and essential workers across the state. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that FEMA has approved Virginia to receive three Battelle Critical Care Decontamination Systems that can collectively sterilize up to 240,000 units of personal protective equipment per day for reuse. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced that Wisconsin has received a delivery of 230,000 N95 respirator masks from FEMA and that the state will be receiving a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System in mid-May.

Family support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program using various eligibility verification methods due to social distancing requirements. The order also expands the opportunity for individuals to qualify for a limited amount of lump-sum financial assistance instead of receiving CalWORKs, as long as their income is below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, and suspends the requirement for county welfare departments to consider Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation as income when determining CalWORKs grant amounts.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK signed an emergency directive to temporarily provide economic relief to Nevadans by freezing some garnishment actions and executions of judgments against bank accounts, including Nevadans receiving CARES Act fund.
  • NEW JERSEY’s  Department Human Services announced $36 million in food assistance to help NJ SNAP recipients afford groceries.  The additional benefits will be available as part of May SNAP allotments. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state is distributing $25 million to food banks across the state through the Nourish New York Initiative. 

Child care:

  • NEW JERSEY’s Department Human Services announced at least $20 million in new funding for emergency child care assistance for essential employees in May. The Department of Human Services announced this week that it will continue to pay for emergency child care for essential employees across the State for May.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO extended the mandated closure of child care sites, family and center, through May 31st. The Department of Human Services will continue its suspension of all child care licenses issued through that date as well. 

Homeowner/renter/homelessness support:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER announced Michigan has received approval from FEMA to provide housing alternatives such as hotels and motels for homeless individuals who may need to quarantine in response to or are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state has made $1.5 million in emergency rental assistance available to low-income renters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and are at immediate risk of homelessness. Those who qualify can receive a grant of up to $5,000 to support past due rent payments and other fees. 

Response funding:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER issued a statement after the state legislature passed two COVID-19 relief bills applauding the legislature’s collaborative efforts. The governor is expected to take action on the bills soon. 

Response task forces/relief efforts:

  • COLORADO’s COVID Relief Fund announced the second round of grant awards. Funding is going to community-based organizations serving displaced workers, children in low-income households, frontline workers in health care and other critical industries, workers without access to paid sick leave or health insurance, older Coloradans on fixed or lower incomes, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, Tribal governments, survivors of domestic violence or child abuse, immigrant and refugee communities, and Black, Latino, and Asian Coloradans who are disproportionately affected by this crisis. 
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced a new special assignment committee within the Behavioral Health Task Force that will focus on the effects of COVID-19 on behavioral health in Colorado. The special assignment committee will create an interim report that highlights the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the behavioral health system and evaluate the behavioral health crisis response in Colorado to COVID-19 and provide recommendations for the Behavioral Health Task Force’s blueprint on improvements of behavioral health services for a response during any potential future crisis.

Public communications:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state’s 2-1-1 free information hotline will now also be answering questions about worker protections and health care discrimination as more Coloradans begin returning to work.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS released two new PSAs encouraging Louisianans to comply with the extended Stay at Home Order to slow the spread of Covid-19 and ultimately meet the White House guidelines for entering Phase One. 

Other efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order allowing food trucks to operate at Colorado’s rest areas to support truckers and the movement of commercial vehicle activities.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order mandating that the relevant elected body or bodies in each municipality must adopt a budget for 2020-2021 without an in-person vote by residents and authorizing common-interest communities to hold meetings remotely.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order suspending in-person requirements for receipt of a marriage license and marriage ceremonies, and for the receipt of working papers for minors.  
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department Human Services announced $24 million in new funding to be used for a temporary wage increase for the direct support professionals who care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in group homes and supervised apartments.
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department Human Services announced $6.3 million in new funding to support meals for seniors.  Funding has been distributed to counties to support home-delivered meals and other food for older residents who are particularly vulnerable to the virus.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order extending statutory deadlines required under environmental laws for the length of New Jersey’s public health emergency. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!