State Action to Enable Remote Legislative Activity

By Sierra Hatfield, CSG policy analyst and Aja Croteau, CSG operations manager

Key Insights

With guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control warning against mass gatherings, multiple states are grappling with how to continue their legislative sessions. Many states have adjourned or postponed meetings and all are working to ensure that essential government operations continue with transparency while protecting the health and safety of lawmakers. To address these circumstances brought on by the public health emergency, some states are looking to teleconferencing and remote session participation.

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State Election Preparations During COVID-19: Legislative Trends

By: Rachel Wright, Research Associate

Both public health guidelines and the desire among state officials to protect poll workers and voters alike have prompted states to implement changes to voting procedures throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Governors in over 17 states have issued executive orders delaying elections and prioritizing mail ballots. Furthermore, over 200 bills have been proposed by legislators that seek to enhance the ability of voters to safely cast their ballot as well as help elections officials to process and count mail ballots.

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Federal Fiscal Response to COVID-19: Economic Impact Payment debit cards

By Sierra Hatfield, CSG policy analyst

Summary

  • Not everyone has received their stimulus relief, therefore the federal government is trying an innovative option — loaded debit cards.
  • The debit cards are expected to reach four million Americans via mail and will provide immediate access to funds once activated.
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States are Working to Help Struggling Restaurant Industry

By Sierra Hatfield, CSG policy analyst

It’s no secret that small businesses in America are struggling in the current economic reality created by COVID-19. It is a reality that has spawned two massive rounds of federal loans to keep small businesses alive and has caused many states to enter into guessing games — what is the outlook of reopening their economies now? Will more people get sick? If they reopen later, will there be any ma and pa shops left?  Will their customers be financially stable enough to return in the first place? These are the questions faced by all in the small business industry, especially restaurants.

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Federal Fiscal Response to COVID-19: Students + Stimulus Money

Summary

Because college students aren’t eligible to receive stimulus money from the CARES Act unless they are financially independent from their parents, in many ways this group of young adults — over 18 but not fully independent — have been left out of the millions of Americans receiving financial assistance from the federal government. Many are struggling with unemployment and a jarring shift to a new way of academic life. While these students will not get stimulus money from the CARES Act, some will receive assistance that has been allocated to and will be distributed by their colleges.

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States Form Pacts to Coordinate Economic Response to COVID-19

By James Tatum, CSG policy analyst

On April 13, two groups of states announced their intentions to coordinate their responses to economic shutdowns caused by COVID-19. On the west coast, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington published a press release indicating that they would identify “clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business[1].” In the northeast, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts announced a similar agreement to create a framework of guidelines to “gradually lift the states’ stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus[2].” On Thursday, April 16, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin issued a press release outlining their goals for a regional economic plan during the current pandemic.

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State Actions Advancing Telehealth During Pandemic

By Sean Slone, CSG senior policy analyst

As we reported recently, actions taken by the federal government since the outbreak of the coronavirus have helped to expand access to telehealth services around the country at a critical time. But states too have have done their part to make virtual care available during the pandemic, especially in the wake of the move by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow clinicians to provide telehealth services for Medicare beneficiares and to encourage states to relax licensing laws on out-of-state providers.

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Fiscal Response to COVID-19: The Restaurant Industry

Summary

  • COVID-19 is impacting the restaurant industry on all fronts, from disrupting the food supply chain to causing many restaurant employees to be out of a job – all of which can effect states’ economic future.
  • The industry has suffered the “most significant sales & job losses since the COVID-19 outbreak began.”
  • States remain innovative in helping restaurants survive, especially as some consider reopening their economies soon
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by the federal government is still processing loans and working to get financial aid intot the hands of small businesses, ie restaurants
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POLICY BRIEF: COVID-19: FEDERAL DISABILITY-SPECIFIC AND OTHER RELATED GUIDANCE

JUNE 18, 2020

 This guidance is developed by the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED). SEED is an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), assists states in developing effective and inclusive workforce policies that promote disability employment. Recognizing that every state is unique, SEED offers policy options and resources states can tailor to meet their needs and goals. To this end, SEED partners with leading intermediary organizations that serve as trusted sources of information to state and local policymakers.

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