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Govs On Deck – May 7, 2020

Govs on Deck

Good Thursday 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.
Emergency declarations:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order extending the state’s public health emergency for 30 days.

Public gatherings:

  • HAWAII’s DLNR Division of State Parks is re-opening select parks and monuments across the state with an emphasis on social distancing and exercise and continued restrictions on gatherings of any sort. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE released guidance allowing religious, spiritual and faith-based organizations the ability to conduct drive-in services.

Elections:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR offered new details on the coming primary elections, urging voters to get ready to request absentee ballots and announcing help from the Kentucky National Guard. National Guard members will work as poll workers and help keep polling places operating safely.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation that suspends the statutory requirement that candidates for public office must submit a filing fee petition with registered voters’ signatures if they cannot afford to pay the filing fee. During the COVID-19 emergency, signature gathering runs contrary to recommended public health practices, so candidates for public office may now submit a filing fee petition without collecting those signatures.

Schools:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that Summer, a social enterprise that assists student loan borrowers, is providing Connecticut residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with free assistance managing their student loans.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that he has received a detailed report containing recommendations for a phased reopening of colleges and universities. The recommendations include the gradual reopening of higher education campuses over the course of the summer – at the discretion of each institution – based on the type of educational programs offered and whether they provide residential services. By the fall semester, if prevailing health conditions permit, all of the sectors may reopen, although institutions will be free to decide whether they need more time for certain programs to restart.

Business operations:

  • OREGON’s Department of Revenue announced that certain federal assistance to businesses under the CARES Act is not commercial activity under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax. This includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan emergency advances, and Small Business Administration loan subsidies.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE released guidance allowing vessel and vehicle dealerships to resume operations.

Inter-state travel:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR issued a new executive order that continues to ban anyone with a positive or presumptively positive case of COVID-19 from entering Kentucky, except as ordered for medical treatment. It also keeps in place social distancing requirements on public transportation. Those traveling from out of state into Kentucky and staying are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Health care:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS praised UnitedHealth Group’s decision to provide more than $1.5 billion of additional support to customers. The refunds come after the state’s Division of Insurance directed carriers to give a grace period for payments and to make reasonable accommodations to prevent policyholders from losing coverage due to non-payment or partial payment of premiums during this unprecedented time. 
  • OREGON’s Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a new emergency order for health insurance companies during the COVID-19 outbreak. The order requires health insurance companies to provide at least a 60-day grace period to pay any past-due premiums, pay claims for any covered services during the first 30 days of the grace period, and it extend all deadlines for reporting claims and other communications as well as provides members with communication options that meet physical distancing standards
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed an executive order granting protection for health care practitioners against liability for good faith actions taken in response to the call to supplement the health care provider workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing and tracing:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced the goal to test 10,000 Rhode Islanders a day by July and outlined the state’s testing strategy moving forward. The strategy includes expanding the number of testing sites as well as the state’s mobile testing capacity, establishing an outbreak response team that can be on the ground within four hours of multiple cases discovered in places like congregate care settings, workplaces, and other high-density areas, and creating an early warning system by testing groups of asymptomatic individuals.

Worker support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order removing a burden for workers who contracted COVID-19 while on the job to receive workers’ compensation.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending and building upon her earlier executive orders expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits. The order expedites benefits for tens of thousands of Michiganders who have filed for unemployment benefits by allowing the state to review only an individual’s most recent job separation, which is the cause of the current unemployment, to determine the individual’s benefit entitlement.

Family support:

  • NEW MEXICO Gov. LUJAN GRISHAM announced that state agencies have delivered more than 5.4 million meals to children and youth, more than 293,000 meals to seniors and, separately, more than 400,000 pounds of food items to those communities most in need throughout New Mexico since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child care:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced that $10 million in federal CARES Act funding is now available to Montana childcare providers to continue serving Montana families with essential workers and assist with efforts to reopen after closing due to COVID-19. The $10 million in Child Care and Development Block Grants will provide support for existing childcare providers, assistance for low-income families participating in the Best Beginnings Scholarship Program, and will fund emergency temporary childcare for essential workers.

Homeowner/renter support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed an executive order waiving penalties for property taxes paid after April 10th for taxpayers who demonstrate they have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic through May 6th. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order enabling the state to continue benefits in the Homeowners’ Elderly/Disabled, Circuit Breaker Tax Relief Program and for the Homeowners’ Elderly/Disabled Freeze Tax Relief Program without the taxpayer having to recertify eligibility.

Response task forces:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced the appointment of two individuals who will head the team charged with leading Kansas forward in recovery from the far-reaching effects of COVID-19. 
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS signed an executive order creating the Economic Recovery Committee to gather input from experts and industry sector representatives on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Maine’s economy and offer specific policy recommendations to mitigate those impacts. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that New Jersey has engaged a team of experts with national experience to conduct a rapid review of the state’s 575 long-term care facilities to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and reduce impacts of future outbreaks. The team will produce a set of recommendations for the New Jersey Department of Health and long-term care facilities, as well as advise on potential state or federal action to improve quality, safety, and resilience within New Jersey’s long-term care system. These recommendations will guide how long-term care facilities can safely reopen for residents and staff and address mitigation, protection, and resiliency against future outbreaks. The Department of Health will continue implementing protocols, inspections, and testing at all long-term care facilities while this review takes place.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the founder of Schmidt Futures will lead the state’s 15-member Blue Ribbon Commission to help the state integrate practices and systems with technology tools and use what the state has learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with new technologies, to improve telehealth and broadband access.
  • PENNSYLVANIA’s Office of Advocacy and Reform, established by Gov. Tom WOLF in 2019 to protect Pennsylvania’s vulnerable populations, announced the launch of a volunteer think tank comprised of 25 experts representing a diversity of fields and backgrounds who will develop a plan to make Pennsylvania a trauma-informed state. The group will focus on setting guidelines, benchmarks, and goals for trauma-informed care across the commonwealth. In addition, the group is also expanding its original mandate to strategize how to heal the trauma that all Pennsylvanians are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector.

Relief funding:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced that the state is making $123,550,000 available in the first round of emergency grants funded through the federal CARES Act.  Families, small businesses, non-profits, health services centers, and individuals hardest-hit by will be eligible to apply for grants through nine new programs created in response to the emergency. Support includes financial relief for things like rental and mortgage assistance, business and non-profit grants, grants to serve seniors and those living with a disability, food banks and local food producers.

Public communications:

  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE released the first update to the Risk-Assessment Dashboard, the tool helping gauge when and how to best lift restrictions around ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy.” The dials will be updated each week on Wednesdays.

Other efforts:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order authorizing the suspension of in-person voting requirements by members of the public for critical and time-sensitive municipal decisions.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that JetBlue is donating 100,000 pairs of round-trip flights for medical personnel and nurses to honor their efforts, beginning with 10,000 pairs of tickets for New York medical professionals. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER issued a proclamation honoring North Carolina Nurses with a week dedicated to their important work. Governor Cooper declared the week of May 6 – 12, 2020 as North Carolina Nurses Week.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued a proclamation waiving or suspending statutes related to the funding process for certain collective bargaining agreements to enable the Office of Financial Management to use federal funding to address increased COVID-related costs for certain represented employees. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!