Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: January 12, 2021

Documenting America's Path to Recovery by Ballotpedia

The next 24 hours

What is changing in the next 24 hours?

  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced all individuals age 70 or older can begin scheduling appointments to receive a vaccine starting Jan. 13.

Since our last edition

What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.

  • Maryland (divided government): On Monday, Jan. 11, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a $1 billion COVID-19 relief bill he plans to introduce in the spring legislative session. The bill includes $267 million in direct payments to low- and moderate-income residents and $180 million in tax relief for those who were laid off in the pandemic. The bill also includes sales tax credits for small businesses.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): On Monday, Jan. 11, first responders, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Monday, Jan. 11, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar requesting permission to buy 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine directly from Pfizer to speed up distribution. 
  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): 
    • On Monday, Jan. 11, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) extended statewide coronavirus restrictions an additional 30 days. Restrictions include a requirement that businesses like restaurants, bars, and casinos operate at no more than 25% capacity. 
    • On Jan. 11, Sisolak also announced the state will prioritize vaccinations for people age 70 and above. Previously, the minimum age for seniors had been 75.  
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced all individuals in Phase 1b of the state’s vaccine distribution plan could begin scheduling appointments starting Jan. 11. Phase 1b includes individuals age 75 and older, first responders who were not included in Phase 1a, school staff, and correctional and congregate living facility staff and residents. Cuomo said the state is still prioritizing members of Phase 1a (including frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents), so individuals in Phase 1b should expect appointments up to 14 weeks out from the day they schedule an appointment.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): On Monday, Jan. 11, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that 100% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses the state received from the federal government had been administered or were scheduled to be administered this week. 

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 1,361 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 424 of those lawsuits. 
    • Since Jan. 5, we have added 25 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional 11 court orders and/or settlements. 

Details:

  • Chew v. Bedke: On Jan. 7, two Idaho state lawmakers sued Idaho House of Representatives Speaker Scott Bedke (R), alleging that the absence of COVID-19 safety measures at the state capitol violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The plaintiffs are Reps. Sue Chew (D) and Muffy Davis (D), both of whom are at greater risk of serious danger from COVID-19 due to pre-existing medical conditions. They seek “accommodations, including remote participation and a self-contained office if the legislature leadership and Governor aren’t going to reasonably institute COVID-19 protections and control those with bad intentions who enter our Capitol.” Bedke said, “Though it’s unfortunate that negotiations have taken this turn, I will continue to move forward in good faith toward a solution workable for all members.” The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. It has been assigned to Chief Judge David C. Nye, an appointee of President Donald Trump (R).

State mask requirements

We last looked at face coverings in the Jan. 5 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

Read more: Politicians, candidates, and government officials diagnosed with or quarantined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020

  • Federal
    • Two federal officials have died of COVID-19.
    • Fifty-two members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • State
    • Eight state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • One-hundred and sixty-six state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Eighty-four state-level incumbents or candidates have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Local
    • At least five local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
    • At least 36 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 Jan. 5, seven U.S. representatives, four state representatives, one state senator, and one city council member announced positive COVID-19 test results. One lieutenant governor and one mayor announced negative results. 

Details:

  • On Jan. 4, South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Mitchell Spearman (R) announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 5, Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee (D) announced she tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Jan. 5, Nashville, TN, Mayor John Cooper announced he tested negative for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 6, Mesa, AZ, city council member Francisco Heredia announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Jan. 6, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fl.) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 6, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 7, Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 7, Rep. Jacob LaTurner (R-Kan.) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Jan. 8, Michigan state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.  
  • On Jan. 8, Montana state Rep. David Bedey (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Jan. 10, Florida state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R) announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 11, Montana state Rep. Fiona Nave (R) announced she tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On Jan. 11, North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford (R) announced he tested negative for COVID-19. His wife tested positive for the virus on Jan. 7.
  • On Jan. 11, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 11, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) announced she tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • On Jan. 12, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.



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