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Govs On Deck – September 16, 2020

Govs on Deck

Turns out, it’s Wednesday which means it’s time for another 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 You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy@JerusalemDemsas, 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:

Federal action:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ sent a letter to the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden asking that their upcoming campaign events comply with Minnesota’s COVID-19 Safety Guidelines. Both campaigns have visits to Minnesota scheduled this week.

Reopening efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state would be implementing a new framework that allows counties to reopen their economies to the fullest extent possible while protecting their communities. This tool will provide transparency and predictability for local governments and allow for a visual representation of a county’s success in suppressing the virus. 

Restriction enforcement:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order that authorizes the commissioner of Public Health, local health departments, municipal chief elected officers, and state and local police to issue fines for violations of certain COVID-19 protective measures. Violations include failing to wear a mask or cloth face covering as required, organizing, hosting, or sponsoring a gathering that violates the gathering size restrictions, and attending a gathering that violates the gathering size restrictions.


  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF is urging immediate legislative action to ensure voters receive their mail-in ballots early and give counties more time to process and count ballots before election day. The governor also reassured Pennsylvanians that in-person voting is safe, and all eligible votes will be counted.

Schools and students:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that nearly 25 percent of the 81,000 devices purchased through his administration’s Everybody Learns initiative are scheduled to arrive earlier than anticipated, with some districts seeing deliveries this week. Taken together with the 60,000 Dell laptops provided by the Partnership for Connecticut, the State of Connecticut has now provided more than 141,000 devices targeted primarily to high-need districts and their students.

Business support:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced the latest in a series of grants made available for small businesses in Illinois suffering losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as communities impacted by the recent civil unrest. Applications for the second round of the Business Interruption Grants program will be made available this Thursday afternoon and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic.

Health care:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the Special Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through December 31, 2020.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS encouraged Wisconsinites who have lost their health insurance coverage at any point this year to visit to enroll in health care coverage that works for them.

Testing, tracing, and vaccination:

  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY launched COVID Alert DE – a mobile app that will help Delaware fight community spread of COVID-19. The free mobile app – available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in Delaware – uses Bluetooth technology from Google and Apple to securely and anonymously alert users who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK signed an emergency regulation to support widespread immunization efforts to help the State prepare for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The regulation, approved and requested by the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, authorizes pharmaceutical technicians with appropriate training to administer immunizations under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT’s Department of Labor announced that certification for the federal Lost Wages Assistance program is now open to all claimants and the program has been extended for another week for a total of six weeks of benefits. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that 66 businesses, schools, and community-based organizations across the state have been awarded nearly $9 million as part of the State’s historic Workforce Development Initiative. The grants are federally funded and will support job training opportunities across the State for more than 3,600 New Yorkers adapting to the post-COVID economy. 
  • OREGON’s Department of Consumer and Business Services announced a new program to help people who work in Oregon and need to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 exposure, but do not have access to COVID-19-related paid sick leave. 

Relief funds:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced 20 Central Kentucky governments were approved for $7,009,885 in reimbursements from the CARES Act for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Kentucky has been awarded $38.1 million in federal discretionary transportation grants for the advancement of the much-needed bridge and highway improvements in Logan, Todd, and Kenton counties and the City of Corbin.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the approval of $20 million in grant funding through the COVID-19 Cultural and Museum Preservation Grant Program for cultural organizations and museums to offset lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel restrictions:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order that modifies the state’s previously issued self-quarantine and travel advisory order for people arriving to Connecticut from impacted states, expanding the testing exemption to all travelers who test negative for COVID-19 in the 72 hours prior to arrival. 
  • CONNECTICUTNEW JERSEY, and NEW YORK’s regional travel advisory was updated. Puerto Rico was added to the list, and California, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, and Ohio were removed.

Public communications:

  • MICHIGAN announced its new “Spread Hope, Not COVID” public education campaign which urges all Michiganders to unite to contain the spread of COVID-19 so the state’s economy, schools, and communities can safely reopen – and stay open.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO launched the latest “Mask Up, America” campaign video featuring Paul Rudd. The video is aimed at younger Americans to inform them of the importance of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect themselves and others.

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending temporary relief for motor carriers from certain rules and regulations allowing them to quickly deliver supplies necessary to assist Kansas in its COVID-19 recovery efforts.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that five new productions have been approved for North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grants and will start production in the state by the end of October.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE extended the COVID-related commercial truck driver hour waiver to align with the federal waiver extension to December 31. 

Beyond COVID-19 

Federal requests:

  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER wrote to urge President Donald Trump and his administration to include North Carolina in the recently announced moratorium on oil drilling for the next ten years. Last week, the President extended the moratorium in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, but omitted North Carolina’s Atlantic coast. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE sent an open letter to President Donald Trump on the role of climate change in wildfires

Natural disasters:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS’ request for federal assistance related to Hurricane Sally has been approved by President Trump.
  • OREGON’s Secretary of State released a statement in response to the wildfires and to ensure all displaced Oregonians are able to receive their ballot and vote this November.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for the ongoing wildfires in Oregon. The request follows a federal emergency declaration that was granted on September 10th and will bring much-needed resources to Oregon’s response and recovery efforts.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN approved an emergency conflagration declaration for the Brattain Fire near Paisley, Oregon, in Lake County.
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN provided notice that she will veto several line-item appropriations in order to preserve funding for the state’s ongoing emergency wildfire response efforts and maintain a balanced budget.
  • WASHINGTONGov. Jay INSLEE amended the wildfire truck driver hour waiver that currently applies only to deliveries of fire retardants to add an “hours of service” waiver for commercial truck drivers who are providing transportation services necessary to restore electrical, telecommunication, and utility services interrupted by the wildfires. 

Health care:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced a $35.4 million federal grant that will support the continued work of the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort. The grant money was awarded to the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities and will advance the KORE’s mission. This is a two-year State Opioid Response grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK presented an updated report affirming that Medicaid expansion has been beneficial to businesses, workers, and the Montana economy, and supports efforts to maintain a healthy and safe workforce.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced $3.5 million in grant funding for community organizations to serve as state Navigators to provide free outreach, education, and enrollment assistance to residents shopping for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period.


  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF applauded the Environmental Quality Board vote in favor of reducing carbon pollution from power plants. 


  • VIRGINIA’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Commission presented Gov. Ralph NORTHAM its recommendations for creating a statewide vision and a dynamic set of shared goals to inform how the Commonwealth prepares students for STEM jobs of the future. The Commission’s final report outlines a path forward for ensuring equitable opportunities and access to STEM education and aligning Virginia’s efforts to the rapidly evolving needs of employers.

Economic development:

  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM welcomed the towns of Cape Charles, Onancock, Tappahannock, and Tazewell to the Virginia Main Street program. The newly designated communities completed a competitive application process and will receive intensive services to help strengthen their downtowns, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. These include market analysis, marketplace development, capacity building, design assistance, organization development, economic strategies, and façade renderings for redevelopment projects.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced the launch of the Tourism Relief to Accelerate Vitality and Economic Lift stimulus grant program. This $8 million effort is aimed at providing much-needed support to the tourism industry. Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, TRAVEL grants will be distributed to Wisconsin’s tourism promotion and tourism development organizations for the purposes of resuming business operations and helping restore economic activity stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Other efforts:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced a new program that will assist Kansans who own historic properties in communities with populations under 30,000. The National Park Service has awarded the $500,000 Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant to the Kansas Historical Society. The Historical Society’s Historic Preservation Office will develop this new sub-grant program, Kansas Rural Preservation.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the approval of five agricultural projects being funded through the First Industries Fund. These projects, located in two counties, will help existing farms expand their operations, bring in additional revenue, and transition agribusinesses to the next generation of farmers.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS granted pardons this week to nine individuals. The Governor’s Pardon Advisory Board heard from applicants virtually on August 18, 2020. Applicants who the Board recommended for pardon were forwarded to Gov. Evers for final consideration. The governor has now granted pardons to 65 individuals.

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