Chip in to protect our blue firewall!

If we want to stop the Republicans' dangerous agenda, defend reproductive rights, and protect our democracy, we have to keep pace with the GOP's millions in fundraising. Please don’t wait: rush your gift to elect Dem govs >>

Govs On Deck – September 18, 2020

Govs on Deck

It’s Friday, everyone. 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:

  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK sent a letter to Vice President Pence seeking clarity on the State’s efforts to follow recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force after President Donald Trump held large public gatherings in two locations across the State last weekend that violated state emergency directives.

Reopening efforts:

  • NEVADA’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force approved lifting previous restrictions on bars, pubs, breweries, distilleries, wineries, taverns, and bar areas within restaurants in Clark County and Elko County – effective Sunday, September 20th.

Public gatherings:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state would conditionally approve the Colorado High School Activities Association’s request to make certain outdoor sports available in the A season should the CHSAA board and local communities choose to move forward. These outdoor sports include football, field hockey, cheer, and dance. Schools will still have the choice to offer these sports in the C season instead. If a community falls out of compliance and enters Level 3 in the Safer at Home Public Health Order 20-35, the approval will be re-evaluated and may be rescinded in that community.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM announced the state will update its guidance within the emergency public health order to permit small groups in exercise settings and safe outdoor activities for New Mexicans.
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced updated guidance for weddings and funerals as part of Washington’s Safe Start phased reopening plan. 


  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS praised the ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, which supported his request to implement a safer emergency election plan for Louisiana, including more options to vote by mail, in line with how elections were held in June and July in the state.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called on Michigan citizens and the state legislature to take action now ahead of the Nov. 3 general election. Whitmer and Benson urged voters to request and cast their absentee ballots as soon as possible, and state legislators to pass laws to prevent delayed election results and voter disenfranchisement.

Schools and students:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state has provided 1,112,000 medical-grade masks to public and private teachers and student facing faculty this Fall in order to help keep them safe from COVID-19.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that beginning on October 5, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5). Plan A continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers, and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. 

Business guidance:

  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS altered his Phase 3 order to allow the on-premises sale and consumption of alcohol until 11 p.m. at restaurants, casinos, and bars in parishes that are eligible to opt in to reopen bars. However, all bars must still close by 11 p.m.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF signed new orders following the recent announcement that restaurants may increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent starting Monday, September 21. The order requires that serving alcohol for on-site consumption must end at 11:00 PM starting on Monday, September 21 and all alcoholic beverages must be removed from patrons by midnight. This applies to both restaurants that do not self-certify to increase to 50 percent and those that choose to stay at 25 percent. There is no change to the requirements for the temporary sale of cocktails-to-go and take out alcohol sales from bars, restaurants, or hotels with a liquor license.

Health care:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR and his family received their annual flu shots and urged others to do the same.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF called on the General Assembly to provide additional funding for the COVID-19 Hazard Pay Program to support front-line workers risking their health to continue working in life-sustaining industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing, tracing, and vaccination:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that WASHINGTON and OREGON, members of the Western States Pact, will participate with California in piloting a project to test promising exposure notification technology. These states join other members of the Western States Pact, COLORADO, and NEVADA, along with states and universities across the country, in piloting this technology.

Long term care facilities:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed a legislative package to address systemic challenges, mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and strengthen preparedness for future outbreaks. The legislative package enacts several recommendations made in Manatt Health’s rapid review of the state’s long-term care facilities, including wage enhancements for frontline staff, improved response coordination, and robust data reporting procedures. The legislative package received bipartisan support.

Worker support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed two bills as part of his worker protection package, The first expands access to workers’ compensation and makes it easier for first responders, health care workers, and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work to get the support they need, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. The second ensures timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification will help workers take necessary precautions such as seeking testing, getting medical help, or complying with quarantine directives.

Homeowner, renter, and homelessness support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced the first round of awards for Homekey, California’s nation-leading $600 million program to purchase and rehabilitate housing – including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other properties – and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Relief funds:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that the State Finance Council unanimously approved a total of $290 million for the public health, essential needs and services, and business resiliency and workforce development programs previously recommended by the Executive Committee of the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Taskforce.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced 22 Western Kentucky governments were approved for $14,905,621 in reimbursements from the CARES Act for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced 18 Eastern Kentucky governments were approved for $2,789,546 in reimbursements from the CARES Act for local governments with expenses related to COVID-19.

Travel restrictions:

  • HAWAIIGov. David IGE announced plans for a Hawai‘i pre-travel testing program that gives travelers the option of possibly avoiding 14-day-long quarantine upon arrival to the state. 

State budgets:

  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS signed a curtailment order to maintain budget stability amid a projected revenue shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The order curtails allotments to the State’s General Fund by $221,775,584 and to the Highway Fund by $23,000,822. The order avoids deep programmatic cuts, thereby protecting Maine’s safety net infrastructure and preserving critical public health, public safety, and education funding that Maine people rely on. It also avoids layoffs of State personnel and leaves intact Maine’s Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the “Rainy Day Fund”, the balance of which stands at $258.9 million, an increase of more than $50 million under the governors.

Other efforts:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is expanding online services. 
  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE updated a proclamation related to the Open Public Meetings Act. The proclamation, initially issued in response to COVID-19, has been updated to allow in-person meetings for cities, counties, and agencies where wildfires have substantially interrupted or degraded telecommunications services.

Beyond COVID-19 

Natural disasters:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed an executive order and extension memorializing his verbal disaster declaration on August 18, 2020, due to multiple fires statewide and authorizing the use of the Colorado National Guard to support firefighting operations throughout the state. 
  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development signed a grant agreement with the state, establishing a $1.2 billion line of credit in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds. 

Workforce support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed legislation ensuring millions more Californians can utilize Paid Family Leave benefits they pay for without the fear of job loss. The bill was developed through the Paid Family Leave Task Force convened by the Administration last year and builds on previous work to extend Paid Family Leave benefits from six to eight weeks for each parent of a newborn.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced the launch of a new website – – with the goal of supporting all Connecticut residents to understand their roles, rights, and responsibilities based on the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.


  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation that requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to require mandatory permit denials if an environmental justice analysis determines a new facility will have a disproportionately negative impact on overburdened communities.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the availability of proposed regulations that would implement the nation-leading Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. The draft regulatory framework will dramatically speed up the siting and construction of major renewable energy projects to combat climate change and help jumpstart the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO launched the third year of the largest artificial reef expansion in New York history as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to develop a stronger, more diverse marine ecosystem and provide shelter for fish and other marine life off of Long Island’s shores. 


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced more than $36 million in funding for 42 public infrastructure and facility projects across Wisconsin. The funding is awarded to local units of government as part of a competitive grant process for the 2020 Community Development Block Grants for Public Facilities program.

State budgets:

  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced an agreement to include the “Millionaire’s Tax” in the revised Fiscal Year 2021 budget. The state’s gross income tax rate will be raised on income between $1 million and $5 million per year. The rate will increase from the current 8.97% to 10.75% for every dollar earned between $1 million and $5 million annually, bringing it in line with the rate for income earned over $5 million annually and back to the rate paid in 2010. The governor and legislators also announced a tax cut that will pay an up to $500 rebate to approximately 800,000 New Jersey families. 

Legal actions:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the Department of Financial Services has filed charges and initiated administrative proceedings against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – collectively, “Johnson & Johnson.” These charges are the fourth set to be filed against opioid manufacturers arising from the ongoing DFS investigation into the creators and perpetrators of the opioid crisis.

Other efforts:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ sent a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau this week urging the Bureau to reconsider their decision to end the 2020 Census response period one month early and extend the deadline to October 31, 2020, as originally planned. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed legislation that designates the Howell House on Lafayette Street in Cape May, New Jersey as the official New Jersey Harriet Tubman Museum. 
  • NEW MEXICO has created a new partnership between the state Attorney General, State Auditor, and Ombudsman to protect seniors and specialized care individuals at nursing homes and long-term care facilities from poor or abusive treatment.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced that 10 Pennsylvania county Veterans Affairs Offices will receive a total of $150,000 in grants, and 18 charitable or Veteran Service Organizations will receive $650,000 in grants from the Veterans’ Trust Fund, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs..
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF called on the legislature to take up the legalization of adult-use cannabis.

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