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Govs On Deck – May 6, 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 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:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER signed an executive order to modify North Carolina’s Stay At Home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions effective May 8th.  The order removes the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses allowing retail businesses to reopen under social distancing and sanitation requirements. Certain businesses remain closed including bars, personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms. Restaurants may only continue to serve customers for drive-through, take out, and delivery.

Reopening plans:

  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE signed a supplementary emergency proclamation authorizing the first group of businesses to re-open, including agriculture services, auto dealerships, car washes, childcare services, pet grooming services, observatories and support facilities, and some retail and repair services. The proclamation also allows residents to leave their homes to patronize certain businesses and activities under the new “Safer-at-Home” order.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced “Restore Illinois”, a five-phase, plan to safely reopen Illinois guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education, and recreational activities in each phase. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized. The plan is based on regional healthcare availability and recognizes the distinct impact COVID-19 has had on different regions as well as regional variations in hospital capacity. 

Public gatherings:

  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced the limited opening of some state parks, outdoor recreation facilities, and areas across Oregon for day use effective May 5, 2020, with camping opportunities becoming available as federal, state, local, and private providers are able to prepare their facilities for visitors. Ski resorts will also be able to resume activities under a new executive order that will be forthcoming.

Federal requests:

  • CALIFORNIA became the first state to borrow money from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits. ILLINOIS and CONNECTICUT are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

Schools:

  • MICHIGAN’s Health and Human Services and Labor and Economic Opportunity announced a new initiative to provide low-income college students with food assistance benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning this week, college students will be eligible for SNAP benefits if they meet certain requirements and are enrolled at least part-time in a program that leads to employment under the Perkins Postsecondary Career & Technical Education.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that New York State is collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a blueprint to reimagine education in the new normal. As New York begins to develop plans to reopen K-12 schools and colleges, the state and the Gates Foundation will consider what education should look like in the future, including how to better utilize technology to support all students and schools. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that additional school buses will be bringing internet access to communities without it to help more North Carolina students connect to school online. The state is equipping as many as 280 school buses with hotspots to support remote learning. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE kicked off Career Connected Learning Month in Washington that includes the new CareerConnect@Home program that will bring daily learning opportunities to students across the state. Now, every school day at 3:30 PM, students can hear from real people doing real jobs in Washington.

Business operations:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced a series of interim steps that will allow small business retailers and hairdressers to resume limited services while maintaining public health guidelines.
  • NEW MEXICO’s Department of Health has amended the state public health emergency order to mandate large grocery stores and retailers to require their employees to wear face coverings starting today. Beginning May 11th, all essential businesses of any size currently operating under the public health order must also comply with the face-covering requirement.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services approved a COVID-19 emergency funding request for $7.9 million. The federal fund match will support Colorado’s health information exchange infrastructure and emergency response innovations necessary for the COVID-19 pandemic response. This funding will go toward telemedicine and other critical health innovation and infrastructure projects. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order providing a roadmap for safely restarting elective surgeries next week.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that recent graduates of nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, and respiratory care therapy programs who have not yet been able to take and pass their licensing exams will be granted temporary emergency licenses.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO extended an executive order allowing out-of-state health care professionals to practice in New York State.

Testing and tracing:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY and the Delaware Division of Public Health announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19. DPH will provide facilities with tests, testing supplies, training, and support for the universal testing program to protect the most vulnerable Delawareans.

PPE / medical supplies:

  • ILLINOIS and PENNSYLVANIA have both secured a Battelle Critical Decontamination System, PPE decontamination technology, that can decontaminate up to tens of thousands of N95 masks per day. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO signed an executive order directing everyone in a public place – whether indoors or outdoors – to wear a cloth face covering. The only exceptions are for children younger than two years of age and anyone whose health would be negatively affected by wearing a face covering.

Child care:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER signed an executive order to modify North Carolina’s Stay At Home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions. During Phase 1, childcare facilities will be open to serve families of parents who are working or looking for work. These centers will be required to follow strict cleaning protocols. Summer day camps can operate in compliance with NC DHHS guidelines.

Homeowner/renter/homelessness support:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that the state has committed $10,382,000 in community development block grant funds to the City of New Orleans to support nine affordable rental housing projects that were in danger of losing their funding as a result of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Response task forces/relief efforts:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced members of Safe Start advisory groups with a focus on health systems and public health, social supports, and economic readiness. Each advisory group constitutes a forum for the community to consult with the governor’s office and state agencies on the next steps as Washington moves forward. 

Public communications:

  • ILLINOIS’ Department of Human Services reminded Illinois residents about the Illinois Helpline, a resource for residents who need emotional support or quick answers to questions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinoisans can text “TALK” to 55-2020 (or “HABLAR” for Spanish) for the Call4Calm service, or text their questions about services provided by IDHS in communities across the state.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a new contest asking New Yorkers to create and share a video explaining why people should wear a mask in public. The winning video will be used as a Public Service Announcement. 

Other efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order waiving certain requirements for the issuance of vouchers under the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order authorizing the Department of Social Services commissioner to temporarily waive, modify, or suspend home health regulatory requirements to make it easier for Medicaid members to access home health services.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE extended 12 proclamations temporarily waiving or suspending requirements related to unemployment benefits, licensing, and other regulations. 

Bonus mid-week feel good:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY bestowed a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University to Dennis Ruhnke, the northeast Kansas farmer who sent a single N95 mask to help NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Ruhnke’s heartfelt letter to Cuomo was read at the governor’s daily briefing.  As a thank you for his generosity and selflessness, yesterday, Gov. Kelly granted Ruhnke the degree he was only two credits away from receiving in 1971 when his father passed away and he left school to care for his mom and the family farm. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!