Coronavirus daily update: April 8, 2020

As part of Ballotpedia’s coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, we are compiling a daily summary of major changes in the world of politics, government, and elections happening each day. Here is the summary of changes for April 8, 2020.
Federal responses
  1. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, said that the number of deaths in the United States resulting from the coronavirus would be below his original projection of 100,000 to 200,000.
  2. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $500 million contract with General Motors to produce 30,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act.
Election changes
Overview to date:
  1. Nineteen states and one territory have postponed upcoming state-level elections. In another five states, officials at the state level have either directly postponed, or authorized the postponement of, municipal elections
  2. Nine states have modified their candidate filing requirements.
  3. Nineteen states have made modifications to their voting procedures.
  4. Political parties in 15 states have made changes to party events.
Details:
  1. New Jersey – New Jersey has postponed its statewide primary, originally scheduled for June 2, to July 7.
  2. New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that he would issue an executive order extending absentee ballot eligibility to all voters in the June 23 primary election.
  3. Virginia – Virginia has postponed its statewide primary, originally scheduled for June 9, to June 23. Governor Ralph Northam (D) is also requesting that the Virginia General Assembly postpone all general and special elections originally scheduled for May to November 3.
Ballot measure changes
Overview to date:
  1. Ballotpedia tracked 18 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  2. Five states changed ballot measure procedures.
  3. At least four lawsuits seeking court orders suspending or changing requirements and deadlines.
State legislative responses
Overview to date:
  1. To date, 369 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  2. Seventy-one significant bills have been enacted into law, 19 percent of the total number that have been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business.
State legislative session changes
Overview to date:
  1. Twenty-five state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Five of those have since reconvened.
  2. Eighteen legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  3. Four state legislatures are in regular session.
  4. Two state legislatures (Oklahoma and Wisconsin) are in special session.
  5. One state (Minnesota) has partially suspended legislative activity.
Details:
  1. Arkansas – Lawmakers reconvened on April 8 after having adjourned a special session on March 26.
  2. Kentucky – The Kentucky legislature suspended its session, effective April 8 through April 13.
  3. Missouri – Lawmakers reconvened on April 8.
  4. South Carolina – Lawmakers reconvened on April 8.
State court changes
Overview to date:
  1. Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide
  2. Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level
Details:
  1. Federal Judiciary – The United States Courts announced on April 8 that federal judges nationwide had moved court operations virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Florida– The Florida Supreme Court extended restrictions on in-person proceedings and suspension of jury trials through May 29.
  3. Illinois – The Illinois Supreme Court extended its April 3 order to allow circuit court chief judges to suspend trials until further notice from the Supreme Court.
  4. Michigan – The Michigan Supreme Court authorized judicial officers to conduct procedures remotely, either in the courtroom or some other location, using technology such as video conferences.
  5. Vermont – The Vermont Supreme Court extended their suspension of jury trials through May 15.
Prison inmate responses
Overview to date:
  1. Fourteen  states ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  2. Eighteen states ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  3. Sixteen  states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  4. Two states prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
Details:
  1. Pennsylvania– The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to release juveniles held in detention, correctional, or other residential facilities. The court directed judges to work with county stakeholders to address the spread of coronavirus where minors are held
State stay-at-home orders
Overview to date:
  1. So far, 43 states issued statewide stay-at-home orders. Seven of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 36 announced end dates.
Details:
  1. Minnesota – Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued an executive order maintaining the stay-at-home order and the temporary closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation.
School closures
Overview to date:
  1. Fifteen states closed schools for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Those states account for 34.4% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country.
  2. All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure in some form.
Travel restrictions
Overview to date:
  1. 17 governors or state agencies have issued an executive order.
Details:
  1. Arizona – Gov. Doug Ducey (R) issued an executive order requiring visitors from areas of the country with high rates of COVID-19 community spread to self-quarantine for 14 days unless engaged in essential activities. 
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia in the last 24 hours
Federal politicians who tested negative for coronavirus
  1. U.S. House New Jersey District 11 Rep. Mikie Sherrill



About the author

Stephanie MacGillivary

Stephanie MacGillivary is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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