Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:
- A COVID-19 incentive initiative in Louisiana
- The end of most COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan
- Vaccine distribution
- Lawsuits about state actions and policies
- State-level mask requirements
- Diagnosed or quarantined public officials
We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered yesterday? Click here.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
Louisiana (divided government): Registration for the Shot At A Million vaccination incentive program opened June 21 for all residents with at least one dose of a vaccine. The state will hold weekly drawings to give away $100,000 cash prizes and $100,000 scholarships starting July 14. On Aug. 4, the state will select a grand prize winner of $1 million. For a drawing schedule and more information, click here.
Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, June 17, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced the end of most remaining statewide coronavirus restrictions, including the mask mandate, on June 22. Whitmer said some restrictions on long-term care facilities and prisons and jails would remain in effect.
Washington (Democratic trifecta): On Monday, June 21, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) ended three COVID-19 executive orders. The first suspended job search requirements for workers receiving unemployment benefits, the second provided protections for high-risk workers, and the third limited fees that food delivery services could charge to customers.
Wisconsin (divided government): On Tuesday, June 22, Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced a new COVID-19 testing initiative for K-12 public, private, and charter schools. The voluntary initiative allows schools to choose from a menu of testing regimes. Options include primarily testing individuals with symptoms and testing unvaccinated, asymptomatic individuals on a routine basis. Testing services are provided to schools from the state free of charge.
We last looked at vaccine distribution in the June 17 edition of the newsletter. As of June 21, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:
- Vermont (Republican governor): 73%
- Massachusetts (Republican governor): 70%
- Hawaii (Democratic governor): 69%
- Connecticut (Democratic governor): 66%
- Maine (Democratic governor): 66%
The states with the lowest rates were:
- Mississippi (Republican governor): 35%
- Louisiana (Democratic governor): 38%
- Alabama (Republican governor): 39%
- Idaho (Republican governor): 39%
- Wyoming (Republican governor): 39%
Lawsuits about state actions and policies
- To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,817 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 548 of those lawsuits.
- Since June 15, we have added nine lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional six court orders and/or settlements.
- Florida v. Becerra: On June 18, Judge Steven D. Merryday of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida temporarily suspended the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) restrictions for the cruise industry. The restrictions included testing, vaccination, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements. The state of Florida alleged the “CDC does not have the authority to issue year-and-a-half-long nationwide lockdowns of entire industries,” and “even if it did, its actions here are arbitrary and capricious.” Merryday, a George H.W. Bush (R) appointee, sided with Florida, ruling the CDC had exceeded its authority: “Never has CDC implemented measures as extensive, disabling and exclusive as those under review in this action.” Under the terms of Merryday’s ruling, the CDC’s restrictions will become guidance after July 18. The agency has until July 2 to propose narrower restrictions.
State mask requirements
We last looked at face coverings in the June 15 edition of the newsletter. Since then, statewide mask orders expired in Michigan and West Virginia.
Diagnosed or quarantined politicians identified by Ballotpedia
- Three federal officials have died of COVID-19.
- Sixty-five 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 thirty-three state-level incumbents or candidates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Eighty-six 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 43 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 June 15, no candidates or officeholders have been diagnosed with, died from, or quarantined because of COVID-19.