Coronavirus Daily Updates: April 30th, 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 30, 2020.

State stay-at-home orders

Read more: States with lockdown and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • So far, 43 of the 50 states issued statewide shutdown orders. Eight of those orders are set to last until modified or rescinded by the governor, while the other 35 announced end dates.

Details:

  • Arizona – Gov. Doug Ducey (R) extended the state’s stay-at-home order, scheduled to expire April 30, through May 15.
  • Minnesota – Gov Tim Walz (D) extended that state’s stay at home order, originally set to expire May 4, through May 18.

The 1918 influenza pandemic

Read more: 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish Flu) and the 1918 midterm election cycle

The 1918 midterm elections occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic, one of the most severe in history. Each day, we’ll look back at a story from the 1918 elections to see how America met the challenges of holding elections during a national health emergency.

On October 7, 1918, the House of Representatives closed its public galleries in the midst of the 1918 influenza epidemic.  With most House members absent due to illness during an abbreviated session on October 7, Illinois Rep. Henry T. Rainey addressed those present on the need to close the galleries to prevent the spread of the disease. 

“‘Mr. Speaker, it is a matter of common knowledge that an epidemic of alarming proportions is prevailing throughout the country,’ Rainey said. ‘Out of an abundant precaution the Senate has ordered the galleries closed, which action, I understand, meets with the approval of the medical authorities, and so I ask unanimous consent that the Speaker be instructed to close the galleries of this House until further action shall be taken by the House.’”

Click here to read the full article, courtesy of The United States House of Representatives History, Art and Archives.

Federal responses

Read more: Political responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • President Trump (R) said he has no plans to extend the federal government’s social distancing guidelines, which expire today. 

Lawsuits about state actions and policies

Read more: Lawsuits about state actions and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 54 lawsuits in 29 states relating to actions or policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Rulings have been issued in 15 of those lawsuits.

Details:

  • Martinko v. Whitmer: On April 29, 2020, Judge Christopher Murray, of the Michigan Court of Claims, ruled in favor of Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) in a lawsuit over the governor’s shelter-in place order. The plaintiffs in the suit alleged that Whitmer exceeded her authority in issuing the stay-at-home order, thereby infringing upon their constitutional rights. They motioned for a temporary order restraining the state from enforcing the order. Murray rejected this motion.

    • In his opinion and order, Murray wrote, “Although the Court is painfully aware of the difficulties of living under the restrictions of these executive orders, those difficulties are temporary, while to those who contract the virus and cannot recover (and to their family members and friends), it is all too permanent. That is not to say that every new virus will require the action taken here, but given the authority of the Governor to do so in the face of these circumstances, the Court must conclude issuing injunctive relief would not serve the public interest, despite the temporary harm to plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

Election changes

Read more: Changes to election dates, procedures, and administration in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty states and one territory have postponed state-level primary or special elections.
  • Twelve states have modified candidate filing requirements.
  • Twenty-five states have made modifications to voting procedures.
  • Political parties in 18 states have adjusted party events on a statewide basis.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Ballotpedia tracked 20 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Five states changed ballot measure procedures.
  • At least seven lawsuits seeking court orders suspending or changing requirements and deadlines.

Ballot measure changes

Read more: Changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Ballotpedia tracked 20 statewide initiative petition drives that suspended signature gathering.
  • Six states changed ballot measure procedures.
  • At least seven lawsuits seeking court orders suspending or changing requirements and deadlines.

Details:

School closures

Read more: School closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Forty-three states have closed schools to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Those states account for 88.1% of the 50.6 million public school students in the country.
  • Of the seven states that have not announced that schools will for the remainder of the year, three have Democratic trifectas, two have Republican trifectas, and two have divided governments.
  • All 50 states ordered a statewide school closure in some form.

Travel restrictions

Read more: Travel restrictions issued by states in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Twenty governors or state agencies have issued an executive order placing restrictions on out-of-state travelers.

State court changes

Read more: State court closures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Thirty-four states suspended in-person proceedings statewide.
  • Sixteen states suspended in-person proceedings on the local level.

Details:

  • Delaware – The Delaware Supreme Court issued an order requiring the use of face masks for any individual entering court facilities if six feet of separation cannot be maintained. 
  • Washington – The Washington Supreme Court extended their restrictions on in-person proceedings and suspension of jury trials through July 6. 

Prison inmate responses

Read more: State and local governments that released prison inmates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Seventeen states have ordered the release of inmates at the state level.
  • Fifteen states have ordered the release of inmates on the local level.
  • Thirteen states have not released inmates due to coronavirus.
  • Two states have prohibited the release of certain inmate populations.
  • Three states have temporarily released certain populations of inmates.

Details:

  • Virginia – On April 28, the Virginia Department of Corrections announced 62 inmates have been released since the state’s early release program went into effect on April 22.  The early release program prioritizes the release of nonviolent offenders with less than a year on their sentences.    

Eviction and foreclosure policies

Read more: Changes to rent, mortgage, eviction, and foreclosure policies in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview:

  • Forty states have implemented policies related to evictions or foreclosures on either the state or local level.

State legislative responses

Read more: State laws in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • To date, 743 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Ninety-nine significant bills have been enacted into law, about 13 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

Read more: Changes to state legislative session dates in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

Overview: 

  • Twenty-four state legislatures have suspended their sessions. Four of those have since reconvened.
  • Eighteen legislatures have either adjourned or are not scheduled to be in regular session this year.
  • Four state legislatures are in regular session.
  • Four state legislatures are in special session.



About the author

Cory Eucalitto

Cory Eucalitto is a managing editor at Ballotpedia and can be reached at cory.eucalitto@ballotpedia.org

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