The Daily Brew: One year ago this week: GM contract announced for ventilators

If you celebrate it, Happy Easter! We hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Welcome to the Monday, April 5, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. COVID-19 policy changes and events – one year ago this week
  2. Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee nominates city council president as lieutenant governor
  3. SCOTUS to hold argument session in May

COVID-19 policy changes and events – one year ago this week

On Friday, we shared the current map detailing the status of coronavirus vaccination availability by state. One year ago this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a $500 million contract with General Motors to produce 30,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act.

This is our third in a new series looking back at policy changes and other significant events related to the coronavirus pandemic from one year ago that week. These entries highlight stay-at-home orders, school closures, travel restrictions, changed election dates, and more from a year ago.

Here’s a collection of other coronavirus-related responses from one year ago.

  • Stay-at-home orders: 
    • The Stay Home Missouri order took effect in Missouri on April 6, 2020. It directed individuals in the state to stay home unless performing essential activities and placed restrictions on non-essential businesses.
    • Executive Order 2020-21 took effect in South Carolina on April 7, 2020. The order directed individuals to stay home except for essential activities and closed nonessential businesses in the state.
    • South Carolina was the last state to implement a stay-at-home order (of the ones that did). In total, 43 states issued stay-at-home orders.
  • Travel restrictions: 
    • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) issued an order on April 8 requiring all visitors over 18 entering Utah through airports or roadways to complete a travel declaration within three hours.
    • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) ordered all people traveling to Arizona from areas of the country with widespread COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for 14 days on April 9, 2020.
  • School closures: 
    • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) closed schools for the remainder of the academic year on April 6. Prior to this order, schools in the state were closed through April 17, 2020.
    • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) extended the statewide school closure from April 10, 2020, to April 24 on April 7.
    • At this point, all states had closed schools to in-person instruction.
  • Election changes:
    • The Wisconsin state supreme court voted 4-2 on April 6, 2020, to block an executive order issued earlier in the day by Gov. Tony Evers (D) postponing in-person voting in the spring election, scheduled for April 7, 2020, to June 9. As a result, in-person voting took place as scheduled on April 7.
    • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on April 8, 2020 that he would issue an executive order suspending existing eligibility criteria for absentee voting, allowing all voters to cast their ballots by mail in the June 23, 2020, election.
    • On April 8, 2020, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) postponed Georgia’s statewide and presidential primaries to June 9, 2020, and its primary runoff to August 11. The state had previously postponed its presidential primary to May 19, the original date of its statewide primary.

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Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee nominates city council president as lieutenant governor

Here’s an update on the Rhode Island lieutenant governor vacancy, which I shared with you last month.

Last week, Governor Daniel McKee (D) nominated Providence City Council President Sabina Matos as lieutenant governor. Before her nomination, Matos had been serving on the Providence City Council since 2010. 

Here’s some background on the story.

McKee was responsible for choosing a new lieutenant governor after he left the position to be sworn in as governor on March 2. He replaced Gina Raimondo (D) as governor when she resigned to become U.S. secretary of commerce under the Biden administration.

Under the Rhode Island Constitution, if the governor resigns, the lieutenant governor fills the office until the next election. Neither the constitution nor state law prescribes how the lieutenant governor’s office is filled if the incumbent resigns. In 1997, when Lt. Gov. Robert Weygand resigned, Gov. Lincoln Almond appointed his replacement. McKee referred to that event when saying that he, as governor, would select the next lieutenant governor.

According to NBC, around 80 people applied for the position. Upon selecting Matos, McKee said, “I was looking for someone to be a true governing partner…someone who shares my commitment to supporting our 39 cities and towns and our small businesses, and that’s exactly what I found in Sabina.” If confirmed by the Rhode Island Senate, Matos will be Rhode Island’s first lieutenant governor who is a person of color.

Forty-five states have a lieutenant governor. In Hawaii, the lieutenant governor also serves as the secretary of state. In Tennessee and West Virginia, the president of the Senate also serves as lieutenant governor and is elected from within the legislature. The five states without the office are Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Read on 

SCOTUS to hold argument session in May

The U.S. Supreme Court is continuing its term by scheduling one case for argument on May 4, the second year in a row the court will hear arguments in May. During the 2019-2020 term, the court heard 13 cases in May. During the two terms prior to the 2019-2020 term, the court only heard cases up to late April.

The case, Terry v. United States, was originally scheduled for argument on April 20. The Biden administration had changed the U.S. Department of Justice’s position in the case after the case was scheduled, so the court appointed a lawyer to argue in place of the U.S. government and rescheduled the oral argument.

Terry is the only case currently scheduled for the May sitting. The court is scheduled to hear 14 cases during its April sitting, set to begin on April 19.

If you love all things SCOTUS, then you won’t want to miss our upcoming briefing, which will bring you an update on SCOTUS in 2021. With the end of the current Supreme Court term coming up, it’s time to take a look at what’s new since our last briefing. In this call, our team will walk you through the following:

  • Changes in court membership
  • How the court continues to operate under COVID-19
  • Updates and analysis on this term’s cases
  • A look ahead to the next term

You’ll leave this briefing with a better understanding of how this term compares to previous terms. Be sure to secure your spot by registering below!

Register here today! 




About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.