Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: December 3, 2020

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

Since our last edition

What is open in each state? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here.

  • Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced an additional $60 million for increasing staffing at hospitals. Ducey also signed an order allowing restaurants to temporarily expand their outdoor dining premises with local approval. 
  • Colorado (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced the state is initiating $375 one-time stimulus payments to anyone who was eligible to receive between $25 and $500 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits between March 15 and Oct. 24.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 2, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that nursing home residents would be the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine, followed by healthcare workers and people over 65. DeSantis also said he would not mandate residents get vaccinated.
  • Nebraska (Republican trifecta): On Dec. 2, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) announced that up to 100,000 doses of the first coronavirus vaccines were scheduled to arrive in the state between Dec. 13-19, conditional on final FDA approval. 
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced the state’s risk tiers had been updated to include 25 counties at Extreme Risk, five at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and four at Lower Risk, effective Dec. 3-27. 
  • Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Dec. 2, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order clarifying that religious organizations can hold outdoor gatherings with up to 200 people, so long as social distancing is followed and participants wear face coverings.   
  • Wisconsin (divided government): On Dec. 3, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced restaurants and small businesses would receive up to $45 million in aid through the We’re All in for Restaurants program. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporations, which administer the program, will use tax records to identify businesses eligible for the grants. 

School closures and reopenings

    Read more: School reopenings in the 2020-2021 academic year after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The current status of school reopenings is as follows:

  • Washington, D.C., Kentucky, and West Virginia had state- or district-ordered school closures.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 1,043,722 students (2.06% of students nationwide)
  • Nine states (Calif., Del., Hawaii, Mich., N.C., N.M., N.Y., Ore., R.I.) had state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or allowed hybrid instruction only.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 13,492,816 students (26.67% of students nationwide)
  • Four states (Ark., Fla., Iowa, Texas) had state-ordered in-person instruction
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 9,180,918 students (18.15% of students nationwide)
  • Thirty-five states left decisions to schools or districts.
    • 2016-17 enrollment: 26,870,403 students (53.12% of students nationwide)

Details: 

  • Rhode Island – Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is requiring high schools to limit in-person instruction through Dec. 13. 
  • West Virginia – Gov. Jim Justice’s (R) order requiring schools to close for in-person instruction expires Dec. 3. It began on Thanksgiving.

Federal responses

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

  • On Nov. 30, biotechnology company Moderna announced it had applied for emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is expected to meet Dec. 17 to review the application, a week after it is set to review a similar vaccine pharmaceutical company Pfizer developed.
  • On Dec. 1, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), voted 13-1 to recommend that healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents be the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Director Robert Redfield accepted the Committee’s recommendations, making them official CDC policy.
  • On Dec. 2, The CDC issued guidance recommending that Americans forego traveling for Christmas.


State legislation

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

Overview: 

  • To date, 3,644 bills related to the coronavirus pandemic have been introduced in state legislatures.
    • We have tracked 66 additional bills since Nov. 12.
  • Of these, 530 significant bills have been enacted into law, 14.5 percent of the total number that has been introduced. This total omits ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business. 
    • We have tracked two additional significant bills since Nov. 12 (also omitting ceremonial resolutions and legislation providing for procedural changes to legislative business).



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