The next 24 hours
What is changing in the next 24 hours?
- Arizona (Republican trifecta): Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced state-operated vaccination sites can start administering vaccines to residents 16 or older starting March 24. Currently, people 55 and older can make appointments at state sites.
- North Carolina (divided government): Individuals in Group 4, which includes people at higher risk of COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions, will become eligible to receive a vaccine on March 24.
- Utah (Republican trifecta): People 16 and older will become eligible for a coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, March 24.
- Vermont (divided government): Effective Wednesday, March 24, bars can reopen to indoor service under the same rules that currently apply to restaurants. Those rules include a 50% occupancy limit, no standing or mingling, and no more than six people per table. Organizations like the American Legion and Elks Lodge can also resume indoor operations under the same rules.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
- Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Residents 50 and older are eligible to register for state-run vaccination events starting March 23. Pharmacies were allowed to start vaccinating residents 50 and older on March 17.
- Maine (Democratic trifecta): Residents age 50 and older are eligible for vaccinations starting March 23. On April 19, all residents age 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination.
- Maryland (divided government): Residents 60 and older are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine starting March 23.
- New York (Democratic trifecta): Residents 50 and older started registering for vaccination appointments at 8 a.m. March 23. Previously, the state allowed vaccinations for residents 60 and older.
- Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Monday, March 22, Gov. Mike DeWine (D) issued updated guidance for nursing home visits. Facilities are required to allow visitors once safety protocols are met. Additionally, vaccinated residents can now physically touch visitors while wearing a mask.
- South Dakota (Republican trifecta): On Monday, March 22, the South Dakota Department of Health opened vaccine eligibility to Group 1E of the state’s vaccination plan. Group 1E includes critical infrastructure workers, such as employees in food and agriculture, wastewater, and fire personnel.
- Tennessee (Republican trifecta): On Monday, March 22, Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced that residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine April 5.
- Texas (Republican trifecta): On Tuesday, March 23, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced that residents 16 and older will become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine March 29.
- Wisconsin (divided government): On Monday, March 22, Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed a bill allowing dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Dentists must first complete eight hours of training on vaccine protocols and recording keeping.
Lawsuits about state actions and policies
- To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,731 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 510 of those lawsuits.
- Since March 16, we have added 26 lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional nine court orders and/or settlements.
- Munza v. Ivey: On March 19, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit that sought to overturn the state’s mask mandated. In their original complaint, the plaintiffs said the mask mandate violated the state’s Administrative Procedure Act and was too vague. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin ruled against the plaintiffs, prompting the appeal to the state supreme court. The state supreme court unanimously upheld Griffin’s original ruling, finding the plaintiffs lacked standing to proceed with their action. Writing for the court, Justice Michael Bolin (R) said the plaintiffs had failed to prove the statewide mask order directly injured them. Bolin also said the plaintiffs had failed “to even state that they have refused to wear masks or facial coverings in public such that they could be subject to an enforcement action.” Alabama’s mask mandate expires on April 9.
State mask requirements
We last looked at face coverings in the March 16 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.
- Sixty-four members of Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Forty-one federal officials have quarantined after possible exposure to COVID-19.
- Ten state-level incumbents or candidates have died of COVID-19.
- Two hundred twenty-one 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 March 16, five state representatives have tested positive for COVID-19. One state senator and one governor have self-quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19.
- On March 16, Idaho state Rep. Ryan Kerby (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
- On March 17, Florida state Sen. Joe Gruters (R) announced he would self-quarantine after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
- On March 17, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced he would self-quarantine for 10 days after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19.
- On March 18, Idaho state Rep. Greg Chaney (R) tested positive for COVID-19.
- On March 18, Idaho state Rep. James Ruchti (D) tested positive for COVID-19.
- On March 18, Idaho state Rep. Julie Ramamoto (R) announced she tested positive for COVID-19.
- On March 21, West Virginia state Rep. Brandon Steele (R) announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
Note: This section may not reflect the most recent stories in today’s The next 24 hours and Since our last edition sections above. This section details eligibility for different age groups in each state.
We last looked at vaccine eligibility in our March 18 newsletter. As of March 22, at least one county in each state allowed vaccinations for the following age groups:
- Seven states allowed vaccinations for anyone 16+ or 18+
- Four states allowed vaccinations for anyone 40+ or 45+
- 13 states allowed vaccinations for anyone 50+ or 55+
- 26 states and Washington, D.C., allowed vaccinations for anyone 60+ or 65+
For more details on vaccine distribution, including the eligibility of grocery store workers, food service employees, and people with underlying conditions, click here.
In some states, vaccine eligibility can vary by county. The data above details the loosest restrictions in each state. For example, if one county in a state allows vaccines for anyone 55 or older, the state is marked as 55+, even if every other county limits vaccinations to people 65 or older. To see what states allow eligibility for groups in specific counties, check out the New York Times article here.
COVID-19 policy changes: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Over the course of this week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020:
- Stay-at-home orders:
- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued Executive Order No. 9-20, which directed all West Virginians to stay at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs.
- Vermont Gov. Phil Scott issued Addendum 6 to Executive Order 01-20, directing residents to limit normal everyday activities outside of the home and to practice social distancing at all times.
- Travel restrictions:
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered travelers flying into Florida from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to self-quarantine for two weeks.
- School closures:
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that public and private schools would remain closed through April 23.
- The Hawaii Department of Education extended the statewide public school closures from April 6 to April 30.
- Election changes:
- Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) announced plans to conduct all voting in the June 9, 2020, primary election by mail.
- Federal government responses:
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it would use the Defense Production Act to acquire 60,000 coronavirus testing kits.