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Govs On Deck – October 23, 2020

Govs on Deck

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday…with a new edition of “Govs on Deck!” As a reminder, your favorite newsletter comes out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 


As always, questions or suggestions? Send me a note at amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy, and @andersonkayjay.


We want this to be helpful, so let us 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. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.


COVID-19 response:


Reopening efforts:


  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Public Health today released its weekly COVID-19 Alert Map, which indicates that 19 cities and towns in Connecticut are in the red zone.
  • HAWAII Gov. David IGE approved the mayor’s order to move the City and County of Honolulu into Tier 2 of Honolulu’s Reopening Strategy. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced additional COVID-19 mitigation efforts that will be implemented in Region 1, Northwestern Illinois, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, 2020.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends.


Public gatherings:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR encouraged Kentucky families to make plans now for how to celebrate safely as COVID-19 cases rise across the commonwealth.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR said the White House is saying Kentuckians in red or orange counties shouldn’t have gatherings at all beyond their immediate families. Kentucky already has guidance limiting it to 10 or fewer people gatherings such as backyard barbecues and house parties, but the recommendation from the White House this week goes even further.
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS amended his Phase 3 order for outdoor high school sports by allowing outdoor stadiums in parishes with lower rates of positive COVID tests to move to 50 percent capacity, up from 25 percent.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced updated guidance for religious and faith-based organizations as part of Washington’s Safe Start phased reopening plan. 


Schools and students:


  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN’s Healthy Schools Reopening Council met to review the steps Oregon will need to take to return more students to in-person instruction in schools. While new nationwide data on schools reopening for in-person instruction has become available since Oregon’s metrics were first released at the end of July, the increasing community spread of COVID-19 in counties across Oregon presents a major obstacle to returning more students to the classroom.


Business support:


  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced an additional infusion of $20 million into the Pandemic Emergency Technical Support grant program, which opened for applicants on Monday.Applications will be accepted from all entities which meet the eligibility criteria but are being prioritized to assist businesses who have been impacted the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, including disadvantaged businesses, bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries, and wineries, arts and culture organizations, and non-profit organizations.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced a plan to waive liquor license fees to provide financial relief to restaurants and bars, which have faced significant financial impacts during the COVID-19 public health crisis.


Health care:


  • MAINE’s Department of Health and Human Services is launching StrengthenME, a new initiative aimed at helping Mainers cope with stress in the face of a pandemic.
  • NEW MEXICO has been awarded a federal grant of $3.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the growing behavioral health needs of the homeless and justice-involved population impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that the Commonwealth will use $3 million in federal CARES Act dollars to reimburse members of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (VAFCC) for clinics’ COVID-19 expenses, including personal protective equipment, sanitation measures, telehealth, and hiring new staff.


Testing, tracing, and vaccination:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the state has approved the first 21 local health districts and departments that will receive a portion of $20 million in funding the state was allocated as part of the CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Cooperative Agreement.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ marked the official opening of the state’s new COVID-19 saliva testing lab in Oakdale, Minnesota. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO detailed New York State’s COVID-19 micro-cluster strategy metrics. After 14 days of data monitoring, the governor outlined modifications to some current focus zones, established new ones in areas where there are recent upticks in cases, and set criteria for areas to exit a focus zone. New York’s micro-cluster strategy detects small outbreaks and takes action to eliminate them.   
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced $22 million in federal CARES Act funding will be used to create a statewide program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines are approved for public use. Virginia’s draft vaccination plan was submitted to the CDC earlier this month.


Worker support:


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced $14 million in additional CARES Act funding to develop workforce development programs. The programs are designed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 replenish their workforce and help jobless residents learn new skills that lead to successful reemployment.


Child care:


  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM and First Lady Pamela NORTHAM announced $65.8 million in new funding to increase access to child care and support child care providers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 


Housing support:


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order implementing the remaining recommendations from the Special Eviction Prevention Task Force. The governor convened the Task Force in August to examine housing instability challenges due to COVID-19. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that Kansans experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible to receive up to $5,000 in rental assistance.  Approximately $35 million of CARES Act funding is now available through the Kansas Eviction Prevention Program, which is designed to reduce evictions across the state. The program was recommended by the SPARK taskforce and approved by the State Finance Council.


Travel advisory:


  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM amended the list of states from which visitors and arriving residents must quarantine.


Beyond COVID-19 


Natural disasters:


  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced today that the USDA has designated primary agricultural disasters in parts of Minnesota due to extreme drought conditions for more than eight consecutive weeks during the 2020 growing season.


Health care:


  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced a new “OPTIONS” (Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Safety) initiative, an initiative to combat the disturbing rise in fatal drug overdoses exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the initiative, mobile response teams in every Maine county will engage with communities that have high rates of drug overdoses to promote drug prevention and harm reduction strategies, connect people directly to recovery services and treatment, and distribute naloxone, the lifesaving overdose.
  • NEW MEXICO has been awarded a federal grant of $6 million from the Department of Justice to support those impacted by illicit opioids, stimulants, and other drugs of abuse. 


Infrastructure:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced today that the Interstate 255 rehabilitation will be completed by Nov. 1, almost a month ahead of schedule. The I-255 project, one of the first to be completed under the governor’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program.


Economic development:


  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Eastern Kentucky, home to AppHarvest’s first state-of-the-art, high-tech greenhouse, can expect to see over 300 new jobs created in the years ahead, following today’s unveiling of the agritech company’s 60-acre, 2.76 million-square-foot operation in Morehead.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS and Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren announced the Boston Fed and the State of Maine will collaborate to launch the Working Communities Challenge in Maine. The initiative aims to strengthen Maine’s rural towns and smaller cities and is backed in part by $2.7 million in donations.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed the $1.9 billion Local Jobs and Projects Plan that will invest in construction and renovation projects across the state and create thousands of jobs for Minnesotans. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that Pratt & Whitney plans to invest approximately $650 million and create 800 jobs through 2027 in Asheville.


Other efforts:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER’s administration and the Illinois Department of Revenue commenced a new outreach initiative to increase Earned Income Credit participation by targeting taxpayers who qualified but failed to claim the credit. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ activated the Minnesota National Guard to assist local law enforcement in public safety efforts in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM released the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework, which lays out the core principles of the Commonwealth’s approach to coastal protection and adaptation and will serve as a blueprint for implementing Virginia’s first project-driven Coastal Resilience Master Plan by the end of 2021. 


Stay safe everyone, wear a mask, and wash your hands! See you on Monday!