The next 24 hours
What is changing in the next 24 hours?
- Maine (Democratic trifecta): Starting March 3, individuals age 60 and older will be eligible for vaccinations.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
- Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced vaccination centers in the Phoenix Metro Area can start vaccinating individuals age 55 and older and frontline essential workers starting March 4. People in those groups can start making appointments on March 2. Other parts of the state still have to vaccinate at least 55% of residents age 65 and older before they can expand eligibility.
- Arkansas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order and mask mandate for 30 days through March 31. Hutchinson also changed all other public health directives to non-mandatory public health guidelines, including capacity limits on bars, restaurants, and gyms.
- Florida (Republican trifecta): On Monday, March 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an order allowing law enforcement officers, firefighters, and K-12 teachers and staff aged 50 and older to receive coronavirus vaccines.
- Indiana (Republican trifecta): The state Department of Health announced Tuesday, March 2, that people age 55 and older are now eligible to get coronavirus vaccines.
- Kentucky (divided government): Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced 18 additional industries can expand operations to 60% capacity on March 2. This includes bars and restaurants, barbershops, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and fitness centers. To see a full list of industries that can operate at 60% capacity, click here.
- Missouri (Republican trifecta): Gov. Mike Parson (R) released information on vaccine allocations to high-volume vaccination centers for March 1-14.
- New Jersey (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced pre-K-12 school staff and homeless people will be among those eligible for vaccination starting March 15. On March 29, eligibility will expand to include agriculture workers, warehouse employees, clergy, and elections personnel. To see full lists of eligible groups for each date, click here.
- New York (Democratic trifecta): State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker issued a preliminary injunction temporarily allowing about 90 bars and restaurants suing the state to stay open past 11 p.m. every night. The injunction does not apply to all bars and restaurants statewide. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) previously signed an order extending nightly closing times for restaurants and bars from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., effective Feb. 14. The 10 p.m. order was first implemented Nov. 13. We will have more updates when the court issues a final ruling.
- North Carolina (divided government): On Monday, March 1, the North Carolina State Senate failed to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) veto of SB 37, a bill that would have required schools to provide daily in-person instruction. The final vote was 29-20, one vote short of the three-fifths majority necessary to override a gubernatorial veto. One Democrat joined with Republicans in voting to override the veto. The Senate passed the bill 31-16 on Feb. 16. Cooper vetoed it on Feb. 26.
- Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Monday, March 1, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that vaccine eligibility will expand on March 4 to include childcare workers, law enforcement and corrections officers, funeral services workers, and people ages 60 and older. Pregnant women and people with ALS, type 1 diabetes, and bone marrow transplant recipients will also become eligible.
Lawsuits about state actions and policies
- To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,674 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 488 of those lawsuits.
- Since Feb. 23, we have added 10 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional five court orders and/or settlements.
- Terkel v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: On Feb. 25, a U.S. District Court ruled that the federal government’s moratorium on evictions, implemented in response to the pandemic, was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs, a group of landlords and property managers, argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had (CDC) “clearly transgressed well established constitutional constraints” in issuing the moratorium order. In his decision, Judge J. Campbell Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, an appointee of President Donald Trump (R), said the Constitution’s commerce clause does not permit federal regulation of evictions. Barker said the eviction moratorium is not “economic in material respect.” Baker said, “The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our nation’s history until last year. … Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution.” Brian M. Boynton, acting assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Division, said the ruling “does not extend beyond the particular plaintiffs in that case” and “the CDC’s eviction moratorium remains in effect.” On Feb. 27, the federal government filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
State mask requirements
We last looked at face coverings in the Feb. 23 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
- Three federal officials have died of COVID-19.
- Fifty-eight members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
- Eight state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
- Two-hundred ten 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.
- At least five local incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
- At least 42 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 Feb. 23, two state representatives and one governor have tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Feb. 23, Ohio state Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D) announced she tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Feb. 24, Alaska state Rep. Mike Cronk (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
- On Feb. 24, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.