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Govs On Deck – September 23, 2020

Govs on Deck

Welcome to Wednesday and today’s 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@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:


Emergency declarations:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS declared a new public health emergency due to a recent surge in cases among young people.


Public gatherings:


  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS issued a new face coverings order effective immediately. 


Elections:


  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY,the Kansas Department for Children and Families, and Kansas Department of Health and Environment worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure every eligible Kansan has a meaningful opportunity to get registered to vote or update their voter registration. 


Schools and students:


  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS dedicated an additional $164 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds to support school systems as they continue to implement health and safety protocols to protect students, staff, and their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These new funds build on the Mills administration’s initial investment of $165 million earlier this year.
  • PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF vetoed a bill that would have mandated that school fall activities be under the sole jurisdiction of local school districts. This bill is superfluous given that local school governing bodies already have authority but it restricts state and local officials’ ability to respond to health concerns and potential outbreaks during this year’s particularly risky flu season.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced a higher education refinancing plan that will save Virginia’s public colleges and universities more than $300 million over the next two years. 


Business guidance:


  • WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued guidance for miscellaneous venues, including convention/conference centers, designated meeting spaces in hotels, events centers, and other similar venues as part of Washington’s Safe Start phased reopening plan. 
  • WASHINGTONGov. Jay INSLEE announced updated guidance for agritourism as part of Washington’s Safe Start phased reopening plan. 


Business support:


  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced that her administration will launch a second phase of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program. Phase 2 will make available approximately $95 million in remaining funds from Phase 1 and expand access to the program by increasing the number of eligible businesses and non-profits.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced an additional $40 million relief program to support small businesses by helping to offset fixed costs like rent, mortgage interests, and utility bills.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Rebuild VA, the $70 million economic recovery fund launched in August, is expanding its eligibility criteria to allow more small businesses to apply. 


Testing, tracing, and vaccination:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that he is creating a working group to prepare Connecticut for the potential development of a COVID-19 vaccine. The governor’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group will be responsible for optimizing a statewide vaccine distribution strategy and communicating critical medical information about the vaccine with the state’s residents.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and the Delaware Department of Technology and Information announced that COVID Alert DE will be interoperable with Pennsylvania’s exposure notification app, COVID Alert PA that was launched by PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS and the Commissioner of Health and Human Services announced that anyone in Maine can now get tested for COVID-19 without the need for a separate order from a health care provider, a milestone resulting from Maine’s vastly expanded testing capacity.


Child care:


  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Human Services announced that over $156 million in BIG funding has been provided to 4,686 child care providers across Illinois facing challenges as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first round of funding helped child care centers and homes in 95 counties across the state. Forty-seven percent of the grant funds were awarded to childcare programs located in areas that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.


Homeowner and renter support:


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS amended and extended an executive order providing assistance to residential and commercial tenants at risk for eviction who were economically harmed by COVID-19. The order directs all landlords of rental properties to notify tenants in writing of federal protections against eviction provided by the CDC. 
  • ILLINOIS’ Commerce Commission announced the moratorium on disconnections has voluntarily been extended by several state-regulated utilities through the Winter 2021 for eligible low-income residential customers, and those who self-report to utilities that they are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced an executive order extending the state’s moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions and foreclosures an additional month, until October 20th. 


Travel restrictions:


  • CONNECTICUTNEW JERSEY, and NEW YORK’s regional travel advisory was updated: Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Wyoming have been added to the list of impacted locations that have met the metrics to qualify. No areas were removed this week.
  • NEW MEXICO amended the list of states from which visitors and arriving residents must quarantine. Colorado, Oregon, and Rhode Island have been added to the list of high-risk states. 


Special sessions:


  • LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS released a statement on the Legislature’s call for a second special session this year, saying that he was concerned that in the midst of the COVID-19 health emergency, hurricanes, and one severe weather event after another, the Legislature has again called themselves into a month-long session with an agenda of 70 items.    


Other efforts:


  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced that the state would be implementing mandatory furlough days for all state employees, unless they are considered exempt, due to the budget shortfall. 
  • COLORADOGov. Jared POLIS extended executive orders addressing marriage licenses and temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced the completion of a $31.5 million public-private restructure and investment in Mystic Aquarium that will assist the popular southeastern Connecticut tourist destination to continue operations following the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.


Beyond COVID-19 


Natural disasters:


  • OREGON’s Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Financial Regulation has issued an insurance emergency order for people affected by the state’s wildfires.


Infrastructure:


  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle LUJAN GRISHAM’s administration announced $9.75 million in essential infrastructure projects in rural communities all across New Mexico. The projects include water and sewer system improvements, wastewater treatment upgrades, streets and drainage fixes, accommodations for individuals with disabilities at public facilities, senior center construction, and more.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund has awarded nearly $5 million in grants to fund 16 local parks and recreation projects across the state.


Health care: 


  • MONTANA’s Office of Public Instruction has received a $9,000,000 grant from the federal Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support the Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education. 


Environment:


  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM will host a virtual California Climate Action Day on Thursday as part of Climate Week 2020, convening world, state, tribal and local leaders, business executives, and other experts to discuss innovative solutions to a wide array of climate challenges facing the state.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS issued a statement praising the Public Utilities Commission announcement of the selections in the largest procurement of renewable energy in Maine’s history.
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced the appointments to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. The Advisory Council, established by the Climate Change Executive Order and will work together with the Climate Change Subcabinet to identify innovative policies and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase climate resiliency.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the launch of the Empire Building Challenge, a $50 million initiative proposed during his 2020 State of the State address to transform existing multifamily and commercial high-rise buildings and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of these structures. 


Economic development:


  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that Huntington Ingalls Industries will create more than 250 new jobs by establishing an Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence in Hampton. 
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced a total of $4 million in no-interest microloans to small businesses damaged during the recent civil unrest in Kenosha.


Other efforts:


  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced the launch of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services multi-year IT modernization initiative that will improve the customer’s experience and deliver additional, user-friendly features such as mobile device-friendly design, secure web messaging, and advanced tax filing reminders.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced additional steps to ensure the process to award conditional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses moves forward in a fair and equitable manner. 


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