Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
- New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order through Jan. 20.
- North Carolina (divided government): On Monday, Dec. 21, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed an order allowing restaurants, bars, and hotels to sell and deliver mixed alcoholic drinks. Alcohol sales are banned on-site at those establishments after 9 p.m.
- North Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Dec. 21, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) announced he was ending a statewide 10 p.m. curfew at bars and restaurants. Bars and restaurants are still limited to 50% occupancy.
- Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Monday, Dec. 21, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order requiring international travelers from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and other countries where a new strain of COVID-19 has been found circulating to quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state.
Lawsuits about state actions and policies
- To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,318 lawsuits in 50 states dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 407 of those lawsuits.
- Since Dec. 15, we have added an additional 25 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 11 court orders and/or settlements.
- Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Bowser: On Dec. 11, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington filed a lawsuit challenging Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) November restrictions limiting religious services to 50 people. In its complaint, the Archdiocese said the restrictions were “unscientific, in that they bear no relation to either the size of the building or the safety of the activity targeted.” The Archdiocese further alleged Mayor Bowser’s “restrictions are discriminatory, in that they single out religious worship as a disfavored activity, even though it has been proven safer than many other activities the District favors.” The Archdiocese asserted the restrictions constitute violations of their parishioners’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Starting Dec. 17, Mayor Bowser temporarily eased indoor worship restrictions for the holidays, allowing religious gatherings of up to 25% of a church’s capacity, up to a maximum of 250 people indoors. In the Mayor’s order modifying restrictions, officials said the Archdiocese’s lawsuit “flies in the face of all scientific and medical advice and will doubtlessly put parishioners in harm’s way.” The case is before Judge Trevor McFadden, an appointee of President Donald Trump (R).
State mask requirements
We last looked at face coverings in the Dec. 15 edition of the newsletter. Since then, no new states have adopted a statewide public mask mandate or let a face-covering requirement expire.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia
- One federal official has died of COVID-19.
- Forty-four members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
- Seven state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
- One hundred fifty-six state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Eighty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
- At least four local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
- At least 34 local incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- At least 26 local incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
Since Dec. 15, one presidential cabinet member, one representative-elect, one state senator, one lieutenant governor, and one city councilmember announced they had tested positive for COVID-19. One mayor and one governor announced self-quarantines. One local official and one state senator died as a result of complications caused by COVID-19.
- On Dec. 16, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Dec. 17, Massachusetts state Sen. Walter Timilty (D) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Dec. 17, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Dec. 17, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) announced he and his wife were self-quarantining at home after their daughter tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Dec. 17, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon died as a result of complications from COVID-19.
- On Dec. 18, Minnesota state Sen. Jerry Relph (R) passed away from complications from COVID-19.
- On Dec. 19, Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-La.) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Dec. 21, Jacksonville, FL, city councilmember Aaron Bowman announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Dec. 21, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he would quarantine after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19.