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Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 12, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened Friday? Click here.

In addition, join us on Thursday at 11 am CT as we discuss changes to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Reserve your spot here.

Upcoming this week

What is reopening in the next few days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 13

  • California (Democratic trifecta): Beaches in Los Angeles County will reopen. Permitted activities include running, walking, swimming, and surfing. Group sports, picnicking, and sunbathing are prohibited. Face coverings are mandatory for individuals on the sand but not individuals in the water.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will hold a press conference to discuss changes to the business restrictions that are set to expire on May 15. The press conference was originally scheduled for today but was delayed.
  • Utah (Republican trifecta): Zion National Park is scheduled to open Wednesday, May 13, though services like the shuttle and the visitors center will not be available. Some attractions, such as Angels Landing and the campgrounds, will also be closed to visitors.

May 15

  • Stay-at-home orders are set to expire in seven states: Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont. Arizona is a Republica trifecta. Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York are Democratic trifectas. Louisiana and Vermont are under divided government.
    • They will be 17th through 23rd in the list of states where stay-at-home orders have expired.
    • Of the 16 states where stay-at-home orders have already expired, 12 have Republican governors and four have Democratic governors.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that some parts of the state can reopen on May 15. Three regions—Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley—meet the criteria in the state’s reopening plan. In Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, agriculture, forestry, and fishing can resume, and retail can open for curbside pickup.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, and personal services such as salons and barbershops, are scheduled to reopen on May 15.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Under Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, bars can reopen with diminished standing room capacity and social distancing measures, organized sports activities may resume, funerals and weddings may resume with social distancing measures, and childcare areas in places of worship can reopen, effective May 15.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Louisiana (divided government): Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) unveiled the “Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana” reopening plan. The first phase takes effect on May 15, when the stay-at-home order expires. The following businesses will be permitted to reopen at 25% capacity effective May 15: gyms and fitness centers; barbershops and hair/nail salons; gaming establishments; theaters; racetracks (no spectators); museums, zoos, and aquariums (no tactile exhibits); and bars and breweries with food permits. Individuals, particularly those in high-risk groups, will still be encouraged to stay home. Individuals who do go out in public will be encouraged to wear facial coverings, practice good hygiene, and maintain six feet of distance from others. For businesses, employees who interact with the public must wear facial coverings and enforce social distancing guidelines. Gaming establishments must register and obtain approval before reopening. No other business owners will be required to do so.
  • Massachusetts (divided government): Gov. Charlie Baker (R) unveiled a four-phase plan for reopening Massachusetts. Under Phase 1 (“Start”), limited industries will be permitted to reopen, subject to restrictions. In Phase 2 (“Cautious”), additional industries will be permitted to reopen, subject to restrictions and capacity limits. Under Phase 3 (“Vigilant”), more industries will be allowed to reopen, subject to guidance. In Phase 4 (“New Normal”), which is contingent on the development of a vaccine and/or therapeutic treatment, normal activities may resume. The plan does not have specific effective dates or contingencies for phases 1, 2, or 3. Baker also released mandatory safety standards for workplaces.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced Oklahoma was ready to move into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan as intended on May 15. Under Phase 2, vulnerable populations are directed to continue following safer-at-home guidelines. Other individuals are directed to maintain social distancing measures and avoid group socializing, but can consider resuming nonessential travel. Employers are directed to close common areas or enforce social distancing and hygiene measures, honor the requests of vulnerable employees for special accommodations, and implement social distancing measures, including the use of personal protective equipment when working with the public. Also under Phase 2, organized sports activities can reopen under social distancing and sanitation measures, bars can operate with diminished standing room and social distancing and sanitation measures, childcare areas in places of worship can reopen and funerals and weddings can resume with social distancing measures. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals are still prohibited under Phase 2.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced on Monday, May 11, that restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor seating on May 18. Parties will be limited to five people or less, and restaurants will be required to maintain logs of employees and customers for contract tracing purposes. Rhode Island entered the first phase of its reopening plan Saturday, May 9.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced on May 11 that close-contact businesses could reopen beginning Monday, May 18. Businesses in that category include barbershops, hair salons, gyms, and pools. Businesses that reopen must follow specific guidelines, which include, keeping people six feet apart when possible, installing physical barriers at work stations, and putting up signs to remind employees and customers of safety and hygiene practices.
  • Virginia (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced on May 12 that he had signed an executive order allowing Northern Virginia to delay entering the first phase of the reopening plan until May 29. The first phase of Virginia’s reopening plan is scheduled to start Friday, May 15. Officials in some northern counties had requested more time to deal with coronavirus cases.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm had issued an order Monday, May 11, allowing retail stores to reopen with the limitation that they can only serve five customers at a time. The order does not apply to close-contact businesses like barbershops.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 12, 16 governors have ended their state’s stay-at-home orders. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and four have Democratic governors. Of the 27 states where governors have not ended their state’s stay-at-home orders, seven have Republican governors and 20 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Reopenings status

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.


Featured plan

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

On May 1, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) unveiled a phased plan to reopen businesses that had been closed during the state’s original stay-at-home order, which took effect on March 24 and expired on May 4. Also on May 1, he issued a modified stay-at-home order which runs through May 31.

The plan provided for businesses to resume operations in waves:

  • May 1: Campgrounds, manufacturing, state parks.
  • May 4: Certain health care facilities/services.
  • May 11: Retail stores, drive-in movie theaters, public and private golf courses, barbers and hair salons.
  • May 18: Restaurants.

Sununu released industry-specific guidance documents for each type of business.

On announcing the plan, Sununu said, “The people of New Hampshire have taken this epidemic incredibly seriously. We have all played a small part in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID19. We all know you are healthier at home, and that continues to be true, but we are also taking steps to reopen our economy in a smart, step-by-step approach that is supported by facts, science and data.”

Context

  • As of May 11, New Hampshire had 3,160 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 133 reported deaths. As of July 2019, New Hampshire had an estimated population of 1.4 million residents. New Hampshire had 232.4 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents and 9.8 reported deaths per 100,000 residents as of May 11.
  • New Hampshire has a divided government, with a Republican governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.
  • Sununu’s stay-at-home order took effect on March 24, directing individuals to remain at home (with exceptions made for carrying out essential activities) and placing restrictions on nonessential businesses. The original order was set to expire on May 4. Sununu issued a modified stay-at-home order to replace the original. The modified order was set to expire on May 31. 

Plan details

Modified stay-at-home order (individual guidelines) 

New Hampshire’s modified stay-at-home order is in effect from May 1 through May 31 and directs individuals to stay home, with the following exceptions:

  • Outdoor recreation, subject to social distancing protocols.
  • Essential errands (e.g., trips to the grocery, pharmacy, etc.).
  • Visits with spouses, parents, or children.
  • Providing care for others.
  • Going to a gas station.
  • Ordering and picking up take-out food.
  • Receiving deliveries.
  • Receiving medical or dental care.
  • Going to work.
  • Patronizing or seeking services from essential businesses or businesses authorized to resume operations.

Universal business guidelines

The reopening plan outlined universal guidelines for all New Hampshire employers and employees.

General guidelines for all employers:

  • Employers must require employees who are feeling ill to remain at home.
  • Employers must screen all employees reporting for work for COVID-19 symptoms. Employers must instruct any employee who exhibits or COVID-19 symptoms or answers “yes” to any of the screening questions to leave immediately and seek medical advice.
  • “Employers must strongly promote frequent hand hygiene and alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be made readily available.” They must also “implement workplace cleaning and disinfection practices.”
  • Employers must support the use of face coverings in areas where social distancing is not feasible, implement social distancing guidelines, and modify employee schedules to reduce physical interactions wherever possible. They must permit employees to work from home wherever possible.
  • Employers must, if necessary, update their employee illness policies to comply with current public health recommendations.
  • Employers must “communicate frequently with both employees and customers about steps being taken to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.”

General guidelines for all employees

  • Employees must stay home if they are feeling ill and seek medical care as appropriate.
  • Employees must increase hygiene practices, wear cloth face coverings, practice social distancing, and abide by employer, local, and state guidelines.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 1

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 1, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Campgrounds: Open only to members or New Hampshire residents; indoor and outdoor gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people; swimming pools and playgrounds closed; group campsites closed; campsite occupancy limited to 6-8 people; no visitors allowed.
  • Manufacturing: Adjust processes to accommodate social distancing (including spacing out equipment, staggering shifts, etc.).
  • State parks: Playgrounds and boat rentals closed; water fountains turned off; public ocean beaches closed.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 4

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 4, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Certain healthcare services: Some non-emergency healthcare services and procedures may resume, subject to sufficient capacity, COVID-19 screening and testing capabilities, and adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 11

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 11, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Retail: Retail businesses may reopen their physical locations at 50% of their normal capacity.
  • Drive-in movie theaters: Minimum 10-feet spacing between cars must be maintained.
  • Public and private golf courses: pro shops and clubhouses remain closed; amenities such as pools, locker rooms, etc. remain closed.
  • Barbers and hair salons: Services available by appointment only; both customers and staff must wear face coverings; services are limited to haircuts and root touch-ups.

Business reopenings and restrictions effective May 18

The following were permitted to reopen effective May 18, subject to the following sector-specific guidelines:

  • Restaurants: Outdoor seating permitted with no more than six guests per table; indoor dining remains closed; bar seating remains closed

Reactions

  • Before the May 11 reopening of retail businesses, Mike Skelton, president and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said, “I think that for the retail sector it’s a step forward into a new normal that is going to be part of our daily lives for some time. While I’m sure it will not be without its hiccups or challenges, the sooner that businesses can start learning how to adapt to new guidelines and protocols, the better. I think they’re going to be able to learn from that and improve their operations and how they can most successfully operate in this environment.”
  • Katherine Nevins, owner of an independent bookstore in Warner, said, “How do we determine who is safe to come in and who’s not safe? And after they leave, the environment is potentially not safe for the next customer. It’s just absurd. As a business owner and someone who cares immensely about my community, I would not risk any one.”
  • Jim Roche, president of the Business and Industry Association, sent Sununu a letter urging him to issue an executive order establishing liability protections for businesses as they reopen: “On behalf of the thousands of enterprises we collectively represent in all corners of New Hampshire, we the undersigned respectfully request that you promulgate an emergency order under the powers conferred upon you during this pandemic to create a legal ‘safe harbor’ for employers to protect from COVID-19 related liability litigation. Absent such protection, business of all shapes and sizes will be deterred from reopening or returning to pre-pandemic operations, slowing New Hampshire’s economic recovery.”
  • State Senators Kevin Cavanaugh and Martha Hennesey, both Democrats, sent the governor a letter urging him against granting such liability protections: “Granting blanket immunity to businesses from liability as it relates to spreading the coronavirus would be a grave mistake. It would be a mistake, not only because of the physical danger that it presents to New Hampshire public health, but also the danger it poses to the intricate and complicated legal relationship between employee and employer.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Idaho (Republican trifecta): Treasure Valley Classical Academy, a public charter school, announced that it would be the first school to reopen to in-person instruction in Idaho on May 18, if the state moves to Phase Two of Gov. Brad Little’s (R) reopening plan on May 16. The school received approval to reopen from their regional health district. There are 294 students between kindergarten and sixth grade enrolled at the school, which would have nine days remaining until summer break. Idaho schools are permitted to reopen when local social distancing orders are lifted and if schools meet certain State Board of Education criteria. Montana has also permitted local school districts to open to in-person instruction.
  • Illinois (Democratic trifecta): Madison County (outside St. Louis) officials will vote this evening on a resolution to reopen the county. The resolution calls Madison a “constitutional republican” and would lift any stay-at-home order there.
  • Michigan (divided government): On May 11, Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart rejected an attempt by Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) to obtain a restraining order to close down a barbershop that had reopened for business on May 4, in violation of an executive order. The state issued a health protection order against Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop in Owosso on May 8. When Manke refused to comply with the order and close his shop, Nessel petitioned Stewart for the restraining order. It is unclear whether Nessel’s office intends to appeal the decision.
  • Minnesota (divided government): On May 11, the Minnesota State Senate, which has a Republican majority, voted 39-28 in favor of a bill that would allow businesses to reopen. They would have to develop a COVID-19 preparedness plan and provide a statement indicating that they will comply with testing protocols and workplace safety measures established by the state department of health and the Centers for Disease Control. It now goes to the Minnesota House of Representatives, which has a Democratic majority. Gov. Tim Walz is also a Democrat.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): The Texas Restaurant Association and a group of bar owners delivered a plan to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for reopening bars and nightclubs.


Biden and Trump campaigns, party committees raise over $60 million each in April

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
May 12, 2020: Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $60.5 million in April. Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $61.7 million. The Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee will meet on Tuesday. blank    blankblank   


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Poll Spotlight

Notable Quote of the Day

“Bottom line: By making it a little easier to vote, voting by mail probably increases the likelihood of the marginal Democratic voter engaging in the process. (Though younger and lower-income voters, who tend to vote at lower rates, also tend to not take advantage of voting by mail.) But it also makes it easier for more habitual older voters, who tend to vote more Republican than younger voters, to cast a ballot. Thus, on balance, any associated partisan effects from voting by mail have tended to cancel out.

We should be careful to apply past patterns to 2020, though. The states that moved to universal voting did so gradually, over several election cycles. So we’ve never seen anything on the scale of what we might see in 2020. The obvious implication is that efforts to expand absentee voting in a pandemic might work differently. And maybe there will be partisan differences in who chooses to vote by mail, as we saw in Wisconsin’s primary.

But we may also learn something more about how states implement voting-by-mail systems and what those impacts are. (For example, is postage prepaid? How easy is it to request a ballot? How easy is it to correct a rejected ballot?) We may also see that different campaign tactics are more effective in getting people to vote by mail than getting people to vote in person. At the very least, we’ll almost certainly see tremendous variation on both counts — variation that will give us a new cottage industry of studies that refine our understanding of how vote by mail impacts turnout, or at least how it impacted turnout in 2020.”

– Lee Drutman, FiveThirtyEight 

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $60.5 million in April.

  • Biden wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post titled “How the White House coronavirus response presents us with a false choice.” Biden said, “States and cities that have attempted to reopen are discovering that the economy isn’t a light switch you can simply flip on — people need confidence to make it run, and that confidence must be earned by credible leadership and demonstrable safety.”

  • The Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a resolution regarding contingency plans for the Democratic National Convention.

  • Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $61.7 million in April.

  • Trump tweeted regarding opposition to coronavirus restrictions in Pennsylvania, where he plans to visit this week, “The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails. The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until November 3rd if it were up to them. Don’t play politics. Be safe, move quickly!”

Flashback: May 12, 2016

Trump met with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a group of Republican senators, and other party leaders in a series of meetings in Washington. Ryan commented, “The goal here is to unify the various wings of the party around common principles so we can go forward unified.” One senator stated, “It was not antagonistic. It was positive. There was a discussion of differences of some issues.”blank

Click here to learn more.



Biden campaign hires new senior staff and plans to continue expanding

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
May 11, 2020: The Biden campaign has hired new senior staff and plans to continue expanding. Trump’s re-election campaign announced the launch of a new coalition, “Moms for Trump.”  blank    blankblank   


Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order on May 8 directing county election officials to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the November 3, 2020, general election.

Notable Quote of the Day

“Michigan has nearly every ingredient going into the 2020 stew. It is a classic swing state that had been reliably Democratic blue in presidential politics until President Trump turned it Republican red in 2016. Now, Mr. Trump trails in polls there. Michigan has a Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who is on the shortlist of potential Democratic vice presidential nominees.

More immediately, Michigan has become a case study in the cultural and political divide that has opened up over the coronavirus crisis. It has been hit hard by the virus, and Ms. Whitmer has responded with aggressive orders to limit public movement and business activity. …

On top of all that, Michigan even has the nation’s newest potential presidential contender, Rep. Justin Amash, a former Republican who has left the party and voted to impeach the president. He now says he is considering running for the White House as a member of the Libertarian Party. Democrats worry that run could siphon away anti-Trump votes, in Michigan and elsewhere, that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will need.

Michigan’s 16 electoral votes may not, by themselves, prove decisive. But the state looks increasingly like a canary in the 2020 coal mine.”

– Gerald F. Seib, The Wall Street Journal 

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden’s campaign hired three senior aides: Natalie Quillian as deputy campaign manager, Saloni Multani as chief financial officer, and Deanna Nesburg as senior adviser for financial operations. According to The Washington Post, upcoming hires “will include an initial doubling of Biden’s 20-person digital staff; new hires in fundraising and organizing; and the appointments of senior officials from the shuttered campaigns of former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.).”

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) endorsed Biden at a virtual fundraiser on Friday. He said, “You get it, and you’ve gotten it done over the course of decades. … You’ve been on the front lines of fighting against poverty, ignorance and disease. You have a deep compassion and empathy, you see the world from other people’s eyes.”

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Friday regarding the Democratic National Convention, “My suggestion to Mr. Perez was get a gigantic stadium and put people six feet apart. So instead of having 80,000 people there you would have 16,000 people there and just do it all in one day.” The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  • On Saturday, Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announced “Moms for Trump,” a coalition that says it will “mobilize and empower mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and nanas across the nation to re-elect President Donald J. Trump by sharing their stories and experiences of the President’s Pro-Family and Pro-America agenda.”

  • Trump commented on the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery on Friday. He said, “So I saw the tape, and it’s very, very disturbing, the tape. … And I will say that that looks like a really good, young guy.” He also said, “You know, it could be something that we didn’t see on tape. There could be a lot of — you know, if you saw things went off tape and then back on tape.”

  • Republican National Convention officials hired Dr. Jeffrey Runge, a former Department of Homeland Security medical director, as the senior advisor for health and safety planning for the convention. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for the week of August 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Flashback: May 11, 2016

After Bernie Sanders won the West Virginia Democratic primary on May 10, Trump tweeted, “I don’t want to hit Crazy Bernie Sanders too hard yet because I love watching what he is doing to Crooked Hillary. His time will come!”

Click here to learn more.



SCOTUS continues arguments via teleconference

Ballotpedia's Bold Justice

Welcome to the May 11 edition of Bold Justice, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S. Stay up-to-date on the latest news by following us on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.


We #SCOTUS so you don't have to


Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear six hours of argument this week in cases it had postponed in March and April. The court will use a teleconferencing system to hear oral arguments. Several procedures were announced in a press release on April 28, including rules for which Justices will ask questions, based on seniority.

The court has agreed to hear arguments in 73 cases this term. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS will hear this week:

  • May 11

    • McGirt v. Oklahoma concerns the Indian Major Crimes Act. A jury in Oklahoma’s Wagoner County District Court found Jimcy McGirt guilty of three counts of sex crimes. He was sentenced to 500 years in prison and life in prison without parole.

      McGirt appealed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s court of last resort for criminal matters. The court denied his petition for review. McGirt appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that Oklahoma courts lacked jurisdiction to hear his case because of his membership in the Seminole/Creek Nations of Oklahoma and because the alleged crimes occurred in Indian Country.

      The issue (from SCOTUSblog): “Whether the prosecution of an enrolled member of the Creek Tribe for crimes committed within the historical Creek boundaries is subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction.”

    • Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru concerns how courts should decide when an employee is a “minister” for purposes of the “ministerial exception” recognized under Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (2012). It is consolidated with St. James School v. Biel.

      In both cases, two teachers at Catholic schools were not offered contract renewals. Both teachers filed discrimination claims in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against their former employers. The district court ruled that the claims were barred by the ministerial exception to the First Amendment, meaning both schools were protected religious organizations exempted from anti-discrimination employment laws.

      Both teachers appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 9th Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and denied petition for rehearing and for rehearing en banc in St. James School v. Biel.

      The issue: “Whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment-discrimination claims brought by an employee against her religious employer, when the employee carried out important religious functions.”

  • May 12

    • Trump v. Mazars USA concerns Congress’ right to issue subpoenas to the president’s accountants and creditors. It is consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG.

      In both cases, certain U.S. House committees issued subpoenas requesting financial documents. One subpoena was issued to President Donald Trump’s (R) accounting firm, Mazars USA, LLP (“Mazars”). Two others were each issued to Deutsche Bank and the Capital One Financial Corporation.

      The president, acting in his individual capacity, challenged the subpoenas’ validity in U.S. district court. In each case, the district court ruled in favor of the U.S. House committees. The president appealed the lower court rulings, both of which were upheld.

      The issue: “Whether the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, Financial Services Committee, and Intelligence Committee have the ‘constitutional and statutory authority to issue’ subpoenas to President Trump’s accountant and to the president’s creditors ‘demanding private financial records belonging to the president.'”

    • Trump v. Vance concerns the question of presidential immunity. In 2019, New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance (D) opened an investigation into President Trump’s business dealings. Vance issued a subpoena to the president’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, LLP (“Mazars”). The president challenged the subpoena in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing the subpoena violated presidential immunity. The district court dismissed the president’s complaint.

      On appeal, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s dismissal of the complaint and affirmed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction. The president appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      The issue: “Whether a grand-jury subpoena served on a custodian of the president’s personal records, demanding production of nearly 10 years’ worth of the president’s financial papers and his tax returns, violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.”

      Article II of the U.S. Constitution details the executive branch of the government. The Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution) provides that the Constitution and federal law take precedence over state constitutions and laws.

  • May 13

    • In Chiafalo v. Washington, Levi Guerra, Esther John, and Peter Chiafalo were nominated as presidential electors for the Washington State Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. The electors were required by Washington law to vote for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, but the electors voted contrary to that law. The Washington secretary of state fined the appellants $1,000 each for failure to vote for the nominee of their party.

      The electors appealed the penalties, challenging their constitutionality. After litigation in state courts, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling upholding the fines.

      The issue (from SCOTUSblog): “Whether enforcement of a Washington state law that threatens a fine for presidential electors who vote contrary to how the law directs is unconstitutional because a state has no power to legally enforce how a presidential elector casts his or her ballot and a state penalizing an elector for exercising his or her constitutional discretion to vote violates the First Amendment.”

    • In Colorado Department of State v. Baca, Micheal Baca, Polly Baca, and Robert Nemanich were state-appointed presidential electors for the Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. Colorado law requires the state’s presidential electors to cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in the state for the offices of president and vice president.

      After Micheal Baca cast his vote for John Kasich, Colorado’s secretary of state removed him as an elector, discarded his vote, and replaced him with an elector who cast her vote for Hillary Clinton. According to the lower court opinion, “After witnessing Mr. Baca’s removal from office, Ms. Baca and Mr. Nemanich voted for Hillary Clinton despite their desire to vote for John Kasich.”

      The electors filed a civil action against the Colorado Department of State. The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed the suit. On appeal, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich’s claims but reversed the district court’s decision related to Michael Baca. The court determined that the nullification of Baca’s vote and his removal from office were unconstitutional.

      The issues: (1) Whether a presidential elector who isn’t allowed to cast an Electoral College ballot contrary to state law has the right to sue their appointing state.

      (2) Does Article II or the 12th Amendment forbid a state from requiring its presidential electors to follow the state’s popular vote when casting their Electoral College ballots?


Opinions

SCOTUS has ruled on two cases since our May 4 issue. The court has issued rulings in 31 cases so far this term.

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since May 4:

  • May 7

    • Kelly v. United States was argued before the court on January 14, 2020.

      The case: William Baroni and Bridget Kelly were convicted of defrauding federally funded programs, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and conspiracy against civil rights.

      Baroni and Kelly allegedly participated in a scheme to reduce traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which spans Fort Lee, New Jersey, and New York City, to punish Fort Lee’s mayor for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) 2013 re-election bid. The alleged scheme became known as “Bridgegate.”

      Baroni and Kelly appealed their convictions to the 3rd Circuit, which affirmed the fraud convictions but reversed and vacated the civil rights convictions. Kelly appealed the 3rd Circuit’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      The outcome: In a unanimous ruling, the court reversed the 3rd Circuit’s decision, overturning Kelly’s and Baroni’s wire fraud and fraud from federally funded programs convictions. The court held Kelly and Baroni could not have violated the federal program fraud or wire fraud laws because their actions were regulatory in nature and did not seek to obtain money or property. Justice Elena Kagan delivered the opinion.

    • United States v. Sineneng-Smith was argued before the court on February 25, 2020.

      The case: Evelyn Sineneng-Smith was convicted on two counts of encouraging or inducing illegal immigration for financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(B)(i). The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California sentenced Sineneng-Smith to one and a half years in prison and three years of supervised release.

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed the convictions, vacated the sentence, and remanded the case for resentencing. The 9th Circuit panel ruled 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) was “unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.”

      The government petitioned SCOTUS for review, arguing the 9th Circuit “invalidated an Act of Congress on its face.”

      The outcome: The court vacated the judgment of the 9th Circuit and remanded the case in a 9-0 ruling. The court held that the 9th Circuit’s departure from the principle of party presentation, as set forth by Greenlaw v. United States (2008), by reaching to decide a question that was not raised by the respondent in the case, was an abuse of discretion.

      The party presentation principle is where parties frame the issues for decision and courts generally serve as neutral arbiters of matters the parties present.


Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest, pending further notice:

  • May 12: SCOTUS will hear two hours of oral argument.

  • May 13: SCOTUS will hear two hours of oral argument.

  • May 15: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.

  • May 18: SCOTUS will release orders.

  • May 21: SCOTUS will conference.

  • May 26: SCOTUS will release orders.

  • May 28: SCOTUS will conference.


SCOTUS trivia


How does the U.S. Supreme Court issue decisions?


Federal Court action


Confirmations

The Senate has not confirmed any new nominees since our May 4 issue.

Since January 2017, the Senate has confirmed 193 of President Trump’s judicial nominees—138 district court judges, 51 appeals court judges, two Court of International Trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices.


Nominations

President Trump announced two new Article III nominees since our May 4 edition.

The president has announced 257 Article III judicial nominations since taking office January 20, 2017. The president named 69 judicial nominees in 2017, 92 in 2018, and 77 in 2019. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.



Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 83 vacancies. As of publication, there were 47 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, an additional six judges have announced their intention to leave active judicial status during Trump’s first term.

For more information on judicial vacancies during Trump’s first term, click here.


Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has not reported any new nominees out of committee since our May 4 edition.

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count, published at the start of each month, monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, if you prefer, we also maintain a list of individuals President Trump has nominated.


Looking ahead


We’ll be back on June 8 with a new edition of Bold Justice.

 



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 11, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened Friday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 12

  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): Retail and consumer businesses can open May 12 under certain guidelines outlined in Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) Responsible RestartOhio plan, including requiring employees to wear face coverings with certain exceptions and limiting capacity to enable social distancing. On May 4, general office workplaces, manufacturing, distribution, and construction were allowed to resume.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Alabama (Republican trifecta): On Friday, May 8, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced that restaurants, hair and nail salons, and gyms could begin limited operations as of today. Restaurants, bars, and breweries can open with table limits of 8 people and six-foot distances between dining groups. Gyms and salons can open at 50% capacity and with social distancing and sanitation rules.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Gov. John Carney (D) announced the target date for phase one of the state’s reopening is June 1. Carney said phase one will still require vulnerable residents to shelter in place, limit gatherings to 10 people, and schools will remain closed. Restaurants will be allowed to resume limited operations, elective surgeries will be allowed, and gyms can reopen with social distancing practices.
  • Florida (Republican trifecta): Palm Beach County was allowed to begin reopening Monday. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approved the reopening Friday, May 8. On Thursday, May 7, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner sent a letter asking DeSantis to allow the county to reopen under Phase One of the governor’s reopening plan. Palm Beach was initially left out of the plan alongside Broward and Miami-Dade counties, while the rest of the state moved to Phase One.
  • Indiana (Republican trifecta): The second part of the second stage of the state’s reopening plan takes effect today. Restaurant dining rooms are permitted to reopen at 50% capacity, and personal services (such as hair and nail salons, barber shops, and tattoo parlors) are allowed to resume operations by appointment only.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Phase 1 of Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) plan takes effect today. It includes reopening manufacturing, construction, vehicle or vessel dealerships, office-based businesses (at 50% capacity), horse racing (without spectators), and dog grooming and boarding services.
  • Maine (Democratic trifecta): On May 8, Gov. Janet Mills (D) unveiled a reopening plan for the following 12 rural counties: Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc. Retail businesses in these counties were permitted to resume operations Monday. Restaurants in these counties are set to reopen on May 18.
  • Michigan (divided government): Manufacturing entities were allowed to resume operations. Michigan began its phased reopening process on April 24. We delve into Michigan’s reopening plan in more detail below.
  • Mississippi (Republican trifecta): Barber shops, salons, and gyms were allowed to reopen starting Monday, May 11, subject to social distancing and other guidelines. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced the reopenings on May 8.
  • New Hampshire (divided government): Golf courses, barbershops, salons, drive-in movie theaters, and retail locations could reopen Monday under state guidelines, as part of Gov. Chris Sununu’s “Stay-at-Home 2.0” order issued on May 1.
  • New York (Democratic trifecta): On Monday, May 11, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that some parts of the state could start to reopen in phases beginning on May 15. Three regions meet the criteria for reopening—Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley. In phase one, construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, agriculture, forestry, and fishing may resume. Retail establishments can open for curbside pickup.
  • South Carolina (Republican trifecta): Restaurants could open for dine-in services under certain conditions Monday, including allowing no more than 50% of posted occupancy inside and spacing tables 6 to 8 feet apart. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) also lifted boating restrictions.
  • Vermont (divided government): On Monday, May 11, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that retail businesses will be allowed to reopen May 18. Businesses will need to enforce social distancing requirements, including keeping shoppers six feet apart and only allow in 25% of the legal capacity. Employees will also be required to wear masks.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): At a press conference on Monday, May 11, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that indoor dining at restaurants could resume at 50% capacity on May 21. Restrictions on some recreational activities will also be lifted on that date, including the reopening of state park campgrounds for residents of West Virginia.
  • Wisconsin (divided government): Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced on Monday, May 11, that standalone and strip mall-based retail stores can allow up to five customers at a time to shop in-store. Stores must enforce social distancing requirements, such as keeping shoppers at least six feet apart. Evers also announced that drive-in movie theaters can reopen.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 11, 16 governors have ended their state’s stay-at-home orders. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and four have Democratic governors. Of the 27 states where governors have not ended their state’s stay-at-home orders, seven have Republican governors and 20 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Reopenings status

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries.
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.

Featured plan

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) six-phase “MI Safe Start” plan is broken down by phases of disease spread and allows for eight different regions of the state to progress through phases at different times.

Whitmer said the whole state is currently in Phase 3. She modified the state’s stay-at-home order May 7 allowing certain businesses to reopen, including manufacturing and construction under safety measures. The order is in effect until May 28.

The Safe Start plan does not contain target dates:

New transmission can take some time to become visible, and we need to understand any impact of previous re-engagement activities on new disease spread before evaluating a transition to the next stage. As we move into later phases, or if our progress stalls out, it may take longer to move from one phase to another.

The plan also states that moving to a previous stage is possible.

Moving from one phase to the next, and implementing the regional approach, will depend on answers to the following:

  1. “Is the epidemic growing, flattening, or declining?”
  • Measured by: New cases per million, trends in new daily cases, percentage of positive tests
  1. “Does our health system have the capacity to address current needs as well as a potential increase, should new cases emerge?”
  • Measured by: Hospital capacity, personal protective equipment availability
  1. “Are our testing and tracing efforts sufficient to monitor the epidemic and control its spread?”
  • Measured by: Testing capacity, tracing/containment effectiveness

The plan says of the regional approach:

That inquiry, too, must be holistic: a region with a low rate of infection may have limited hospital capacity, for example, which puts it at relatively greater risk if an outbreak occurs. Where appropriate, however, regional tailoring makes sense for a state as large and diverse as ours.

Restrictions and allowances on businesses and individuals throughout the plan’s six phases are discussed in detail below. The plan also contains 22 best practices workplaces should follow divided into five categories:

  • identifying possible virus introductions
  • social distancing
  • sanitation and hygiene
  • personal protective equipment
  • contact tracing and isolation

Whitmer developed the plan with the guidance of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council, consisting of a healthcare advisory group and a business advisory group. Members include health experts, company CEOs, labor and union leaders, and state department heads.

Context

  • As of May 10, Michigan had 47,138 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,551 reported deaths. As of July 2019, Michigan had an estimated population of 10 million residents. Michigan had 472 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents and 45.6 reported deaths per 100,000 residents as of May 10. As of last week, Michigan had the highest COVID-19 fatality rate (deaths divided by cases) of any state at 9.5%. Connecticut had the second-highest fatality rate at 8.8%.
  • Michigan has a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
  • Whitmer’s stay-at-home order took effect March 24, directing individuals to remain at home (with exceptions made for carrying out essential activities) and placing restrictions on nonessential businesses. The original order was set to expire April 13. Whitmer has extended the order three times. It now expires on May 28. Modifications to the extended order on April 24 and May 7 allowed some businesses to reopen, including landscaping, retail for curbside pickup, and manufacturing. 
  • Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 10, originally set to expire April 7. Emergency declarations allow the governor to issue stay-at-home orders and other directives. On April 1, Whitmer replaced the previous order with an expanded order declaring a state of emergency and state of disaster, and she requested the state legislature grant a 70-day extension of the declaration. The legislature granted a 23-day extension and denied Whitmer’s second request to extend the order further. On April 30, Whitmer issued two executive orders extending the state of emergency until May 28, one invoking the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 and the other invoking the Emergency Management Act of 1976.
  • Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) are suing Whitmer, arguing that the 1976 law requires the state Legislature’s approval for emergency declarations beyond 28 days. Whitmer says the 1945 law grants the governor authority to declare states of emergency without that limit and is not superseded by the 1976 law. The legislators’ lawsuit argues the 1945 law only applies to local emergencies.

Plan details

Restrictions in place throughout first 5 phases

  • Vulnerable individuals must shelter in place
  • Social distancing—maintaining six feet of distance from others when in public and outdoors
  • Isolation and quarantine: “Individuals who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must isolate, and any individual with a known exposure must quarantine, according to CDC and public health guidance”
  • Face coverings are required in enclosed public spaces through Phase 4 and required “wherever possible” in Phase 5

Below, the state’s former Phase 1 restrictions and allowances are described, followed by details on what changed or will change in subsequent phases.

Phase 1: Uncontrolled Spread

Definition: “Increasing number of new cases every day, likely to overwhelm the health system.”

Businesses:

  • “Only work that is necessary to protect or sustain life will be permitted”
    • Critical retail (such as grocery stores)
    • Public transportation
    • Restaurants/bars for takeout, delivery, and drive-through only
    • Critical manufacturing
    • Critical construction
    • Food and agriculture
    • Offices open only for critical workers
    • Childcare for critical workers

Individual/social:

  • Walking, hiking, biking permitted
  • Gathering prohibited

Phase 2: Persistent Spread

Definition: “Continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity. Only critical infrastructure remains open, with lower-risk recreational activities allowed.”

New allowances:

Businesses:

  • Curbside or delivery for nonessential retail

Individuals:

  • Golfing and motorboating

Phase 3: Flattening

Definition: “Epidemic is no longer increasing and health system capacity is sufficient for current needs. Specified lower-risk businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.”

New allowances:

  • Manufacturing with safety guidelines (See executive order 2020-77 for guidelines)
  • Construction with safety guidelines  (See executive order 2020-77 for guidelines)
  • Outdoor work with safety guidelines (See executive order 2020-70 for guidelines)
  • Real estate viewings by appointment, no more than four people on-premises at a time
  • Childcare for anyone resuming work

Phase 4: Improving

Definition: “Epidemic clearly decreasing and health system capacity is strong with robust testing and contact tracing. Additional businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.”

New allowances:

Businesses:

“Most business and organizations will be open throughout this phase under strict safety measures.”

  • Retail with safety guidelines (such as limited capacity)
  • Offices may open, but remote work still required where feasible
  • Summer educational programs in small groups

Individual/social:

  • Small group gatherings with social distancing permitted

Phase 5: Containing 

Definition: “Epidemic levels are extremely low and outbreaks can be quickly contained. Health system capacity is strong with robust testing and tracing. Most businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.”

New allowances:

Businesses:

  • Restaurants and bars for dine-in with safety guidelines
  • Offices open with safety guidelines
  • Live educational instruction (K-12 and higher education)

Individual/social:

  • Face coverings wherever possible
  • Increase in gathering size limit, maintain social distancing
  • All outdoor recreation allowed

Phase 6: Post-pandemic

Definition: “Community spread is not expected to return (e.g., because of a vaccine) and the economy is fully reopened.” The plan further says, “Reaching this phase would mean that community spread is not expected to return, because of sufficient community immunity and availability of treatment.”

Businesses:

  • “All businesses and organizations open with some lasting safety requirements”

Individual/social:

  • “Minimal to no lasting limitations on personal and/or social activities”

Reactions

  • State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D) said on May 8, “All of us as (Upper Peninsula) legislators were surprised to see that we didn’t have that regional approach or that talk from the governor yesterday. … We’re going to do it safely, but we feel we’re further along and ready to reopen based off of what the governor gave us yesterday with that one-blanket approach where we’re all at level three still.”
  • Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is a member of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council. On May 3, NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Khaldun why the state was not ready to move to a regional approach yet. She said, “We are still seeing, for example, on the western side of the state that there are actually increases in the rate of rise of cases. … We also know again in some of our rural areas the number of hospital beds is actually not what it should be. Many of our hospitals in our rural areas are actually at capacity.”
  • Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) tweeted on May 7, “At first, the shutdown was to ‘flatten the curve’ so hospitals could manage COVID patients. We’ve done that. Governor today: ‘All the decisions we’ve made are to lower the possibility of that second wave.’ Unemployment still broken. Livelihoods destroyed. Goalposts moved.”
  • Glenn Stevens Jr., vice president of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber, said of Whitmer’s May 7 order, “MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber applaud the Governor for her continued steps to safely re-open our economy. Automotive and manufacturing is not only the backbone of our regional and state economy, it is essential to the functioning of the global supply chain.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Kentucky: Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, blocked the state from enforcing its ban on mass gatherings as applied to religious groups. The plaintiffs had alleged that state orders restricting mass gatherings and closing churches as nonessential businesses violated their First Amendment rights.Tatenhove found for the plaintiffs, writing, “Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to their free exercise claim, and the Court grants their motion for a [temporary restraining order] on that basis. … To stay the prohibition on mass gatherings with respect to religious services which observe the social distancing guidelines promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control, as Tabernacle has promised to do, does not harm the Defendants. Finally, the public interest favors the enjoinment of a constitutional violation.”

    In a press conference on May 9, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) did not say whether his administration would appeal the decision. The case name and number are Tabernacle Baptist Church, Inc. v. Beshear (3:20-cv-0003).

  • Nashville, Tennessee restaurants and retail stores could open Monday, May 11, at half capacity and following other guidelines under Phase One of Mayor John Cooper’s reopening plan. In Tennessee, six counties with their own health departments were responsible for developing their own reopening plans. Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) reopening plan, which applies to the other 89 counties, allowed restaurants and retail businesses to reopen under certain guidelines April 27-29.
  • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said that he would direct discretionary funding from the federal CARES Act to counties that follow his recommendations on reopening. The announcement came after several counties in the southern and central parts of the state threatened to reopen businesses even though Wolf had not yet moved them into the “yellow” phase of reopening.


Federal judge rejects public school teachers’ attempt to obtain refund of union fees

On April 30, a U.S. district court judge rejected an attempt by two New York state public school teachers to obtain refunds of fees they were required to pay to their union prior to Janus v. AFSCME. In Janus, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that compelling public-sector employees who are not union members to pay union fees (known as agency fees) constitutes a violation of their free-speech and associational rights under the First Amendment.

Who were the parties to the suit?

The plaintiffs were Scott Pellegrino and Christine VanOstrand, both of whom are public school teachers in New York state. Pellegrino was a dues-paying member of his union, but VanOstrand was not. The defendants were the New York State United Teachers, the United Teachers of Northport, the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Attorney General Letitia James (D), and John Wirenius (chair of the state public employment relations board).

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) is the New York affiliate of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union. On its website, NYSUT says it represents more than 600,000 current and former employees of the state’s schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities. The United Teachers of Northport (UTN) is an affiliate of NYSUT.

What was at issue?

On June 13, 2018, the plaintiffs filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. They sought the following from the court:

  1. A declaration that the plaintiffs had a constitutional right to refrain from joining, or giving financial support to, a union as a condition of employment
  2. A declaration that the state law allowing for the collection of agency fees was unconstitutional
  3. An injunction barring the union from collecting further agency fees
  4. Refunds of previously paid agency fees
  5. For Pellegrino, a refund of the portion of his previously paid dues equal to what he would have paid in agency fees had he not voluntarily joined the union

After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Janus, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims on points 1, 2, and 3, as they were rendered moot.

How did the court rule?

Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled against the plaintiffs, citing the April 15 ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Wholean v. CSEA SEIU Local 2001. Garaufis wrote, “Because Wholean is nearly identical to the case at hand, its holding–’that a party who complied with a directly controlling Supreme Court precedent in collecting fair-share fees cannot be held liable for monetary damages under § 1983’–completely forecloses Plaintiffs’ only remaining claim.”

Garaufis was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton (D).

What are the reactions, and what comes next?

Andy Pallotta, president of NYSUT, approved of the decision and criticized the parties behind this and similar lawsuits, saying, “These suits are part of a larger coordinated effort by anti-labor groups that want unions to spend the time and money to defend them so they can defund and distract us.”

Neither the plaintiffs nor their attorneys have commented publicly on the decision. It is unclear whether they will appeal.

The case name and number are Pellegrino v. New York State United Teachers (2:18-cv-03439).

What we’ve been reading

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 94 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map May 8, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart May 8, 2020.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart May 8, 2020.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of relevant legislative actions taken since our last issue. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state, then by bill number. The partisan affiliation of bill sponsor(s) is also provided.

  • California AB3096: Existing law prohibits public employers from deterring or discouraging public employees or applicants from becoming or remaining members of a union. This bill would extend that provision to the University of California.
    • Democratic sponsorship.
    • Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee reported favorably and re-referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee May 5.
  • New Jersey A3987: This bill would authorize public employers to grant unpaid leaves of absence to employees who are elected or appointed to service as union officers, if such leave is provided for in collective bargaining agreements. It would also authorize public employers to grant paid leaves of absence for this purpose, if such leave is provided for in collective bargaining agreements.
    • Republican sponsorship.
    • Introduced and referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee.


Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 8, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next three days

What is reopening in the next three days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

Nevada and Kentucky will be the 37th and 38th states, respectively, to begin to reopen. Reopen is defined as partially or completely lifting restrictions on three or more industries. They will be the 14th and 15th states with Democratic governors to begin to reopen. There are still eleven states that have not begun to reopen. Nine of them have Democratic governors.

May 9

  • Nevada (Democratic trifecta): Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that effective Saturday May 9, restaurants (for dine-in at 50 percent capacity with social distancing measures), personal services such as salons and barbershops (by appointment), and retailers (at 50 percent occupancy) could reopen as part of phase one of the state’s reopening plan. Indoor malls are allowed to reopen for curbside pickup. Cannabis dispensaries will also be allowed to reopen. Dispensaries are encouraged to continue curbside pickup and delivery, though in-store sales can resume with permission from the Marijuana Enforcement Division.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): Phase 1 of reopening begins Saturday, May 9. The first phase includes allowing elective medical procedures to resume and some state parks to reopen. It allows pilot reopenings of dentist offices, barbershops, salons, and seated dining. Retail stores may also allow in-store pickup for pre-orders. Gatherings are limited to 10 people and social distancing remains in place. The state’s stay-at-home order expires Friday, May 8.

May 11

  • Florida (Republican trifecta): Palm Beach County is allowed to begin reopening. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approved the reopening today. On Thursday, Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner sent a letter asking DeSantis to allow the county to reopen under Phase One of the governor’s reopening plan. Palm Beach was initially left out of the plan alongside Broward and Miami-Dade counties, while the rest of the state moved to Phase One.
  • Kentucky (divided government): Phase 1 of Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) plan is set to take effect Monday, May 11. It includes reopening manufacturing, construction, vehicle or vessel dealerships, office-based businesses (at 50% capacity), horse racing (without spectators), and dog grooming and boarding services.
  • Michigan (divided government): Manufacturing entities will be allowed to resume operations May 11. Michigan began its phased reopening process on April 24.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Arkansas (Republican trifecta): Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced that the state’s six casinos could reopen beginning May 18. The casinos will only be allowed to open at 33% capacity and must follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Kentucky (divided government): On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) outlined the second phase of Kentucky’s “Healthy at Work” plan. Effective May 22, restaurants will be permitted to resume at 33% capacity, plus outdoor seating. Effective June 1, movie theaters and fitness centers can reopen. Effective June 11, public and private campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Effective June 15, child-care facilities, subject to capacity restrictions, can reopen. Beshear said the third reopening phase would likely begin July 1. As with the first phase of reopening, each new phase is subject to several criteria, outlined here.
  • Michigan (divided government): On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) unveiled her phased reopening plan, “MI Safe Start.” The plan outlines six phases of disease spread from uncontrolled growth to post-pandemic, with restrictions placed on businesses being eased as the state moves through each phase. These phases, and the changes in restrictions implemented in each phase, are outlined here. Whitmer said Michigan was currently in phase three (flattening), which is marked by a relatively stable number of new cases and deaths on a day-to-day basis, stable healthcare system capacity, and increased testing and tracing efforts. The plan does not specify effective or duration dates for each phase. Instead, movement from one phase to another is contingent on meeting specified public health benchmarks.
  • Ohio (Republican trifecta): On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced that beginning May 15, outdoor dining would be allowed at restaurants and bars, and personal services, such as salons and barbershops, could reopen. On May 21, restaurants and bars are permitted to reopen for dine-in service, with restrictions, such as social distancing measures and a 10 person limit on parties.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that 13 counties will move from the red phase into the yellow phase of the state’s reopening plan on Friday, May 15. Those counties will remain under a stay-at-home order until then. Twenty-four counties in the northern part of the state entered the yellow phase Friday, May 8. During the yellow phase, theaters and gyms remain closed, but some types of businesses, such as retail, can begin to reopen with restrictions. Bars and restaurants are limited to carry-out and delivery. Wolf extended the stay-at-home order for counties in the red phase through June 4.
  • Texas (Republican trifecta): The second phase of the state’s reopening plan started Friday, May 8. Businesses allowed to reopen at 25% capacity include barbershops, nail salons, and swimming pools.
  • Vermont (divided government): Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced that all child care programs in the state can reopen on June 1.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 8, 15 governors have ended their state’s stay-at-home orders. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and three have Democratic governors. Of the 28 states where governors have not ended their state’s stay-at-home orders, seven have Republican governors and 21 have Democratic governors. (Rhode Island’s stay-at-home order runs through the end of the day.)

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Tracking reopenings

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.


Featured plan: Oklahoma’s “Open Up and Recover Safely”

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

On April 22, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) and the Governor’s Bounce Back Advisory Group released a three-phase plan, “Open Up and Recover Safely.”

Phases 1 and 2 include descriptions of what may reopen and under what conditions as well as guidance for individuals and employers. Additional details on Phase 3 are forthcoming.

Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals are prohibited in each phase.

Phase 1 allowed personal care businesses and state parks to reopen on April 24. Restaurants, entertainment venues, movie theaters, sporting venues, gyms, tattoo parlors, and places of worship were allowed to reopen on May 1.

In Phase 2, bars may open with reduced standing-room capacity, and funerals and weddings may resume. Phase 3, as currently written, will allow summer camps operated by churches and schools to open. Target start dates for Phases 2 and 3 are May 15 and June 1.

Moving from one phase to another requires “hospital & incident rates remain[ing] at a manageable level for 14 days,” hospitals treating all patients without alternate care sites, “sufficient testing material in the state and ability to conduct contact tracing,” and the state’s ability to “quickly and independently supply sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and critical medical equipment, including ICU equipment, to handle a surge.”

As of Friday, May 8, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce had issued specific social distancing and sanitation guidance documents for 15 industries, which are linked below.

Local governments may implement more restrictions than the statewide reopening plan includes.

Context

  • Stitt declared a state of emergency on March 15. Stitt amended the executive order on March 24 to require vulnerable populations (those over the age of 65 and those with serious underlying medical conditions) to stay home. The amended order also required businesses not classified as critical infrastructure in counties identified by the Oklahoma State Department of Health as experiencing community spread to close. Stitt extended the order, originally set to expire April 15, until May 6.
  • As of Friday, there have been 4,424 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma and 266 deaths. As of July 2019, Oklahoma’s estimated population was 4 million. There are 11.8 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, and 6.7 deaths per 100,000 residents.
  • Oklahoma is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Stitt and the Governor’s Bounce Back Advisory Group released the following details April 22. For a list of the group’s membership, see page 5 here.

Pre-Phase 1

The plan says providing guidance for individuals and critical industry employers was a core responsibility of the state before Phase 1 could be implemented.

Guidance for critical industry employers includes developing policies around temperature checks, sanitation, disinfection, travel, contact tracing, social distancing, personal protective equipment, workforce symptom monitoring, and prohibiting sick employees from coming to work. Employers are also encouraged to consider flexible sick leave policies.

The plan links to CDC guidelines.

Guidance for individuals includes adhering to state, local, and CDC social distancing guidelines; washing hands with soap and water; not touching the face; disinfecting frequently-used items/surfaces as much as possible; and staying home and contacting a doctor if feeling ill. The plan also asks individuals to consider wearing face coverings when in public and on mass transit.

Phase 1

Individual guidance:

  • Vulnerable individuals continue to follow safer-at-home guidelines
  • Maximize social distance when in public
  • Avoid socializing in groups/facilities that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing
  • Minimize nonessential travel and adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and executive orders about isolating after travel

Employer guidance:

  • Create plans to return employees to work in phases
  • Close common areas or enforce social distancing protocols
  • Minimize nonessential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines and executive orders about isolating after travel
  • Honor requests for special accommodations from personnel who are members of a vulnerable population

Allowed to reopen or resume April 24:

  • Personal care businesses (hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and pet groomers) for appointments only. Must adhere to sanitation protocols and follow Oklahoma Department of Commerce guidelines for social distancing at these businesses
  • State parks and outdoor recreation

Allowed to reopen May 1:

  • Dining, entertainment, movie theatres and sporting venues, using CDC’s recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Gyms, if they adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Places of worship for in-person meetings, if they leave every other row/pew open and adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation, plus the recommended guidelines from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce
  • Tattoo Parlors, for appointments only. Must adhere to sanitation and social distancing protocols

Phase 2

Individual guidance:

  • Vulnerable individuals continue to follow safer-at-home guidelines
  • Maintain social distancing in public
  • Avoid socializing in groups that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing
  • Consider resuming nonessential travel

Employer guidance:

  • Close common areas or enforce social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Honor requests for special accommodations from personnel who are members of a vulnerable population
  • Recommended to implement social distancing protocols, including proper sanitation and use of protective equipment when interacting with public

What can reopen or resume:

  • Organized sports activities, under social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Bars, with reduced standing-room occupancy and under social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Funerals and weddings, under social distancing protocols
  • Children’s nursery areas in places of worship

Phase 3

The following are described as starting points for Phase 3.

Employer guidance:

  • Can resume unrestricted worksite staffing

What can reopen:

  • Summer camps operated by churches and schools

Industry-specific guidance:

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce issued the following industry-specific guidance documents as of Friday.

Reactions

  • Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said,

    “[Tulsa Mayor G.T.] Bynum and I, as well as the Oklahoma Municipal League, have been in constant communication with the Governor this last week as he has developed a statewide vision for a new phase in pandemic response. We are very appreciative for that line of communication with the Governor.

    As was announced three weeks ago, and in the interest of public health, our city’s shelter in place proclamation lasts through April 30th, as does the closure of personal care services.

    On the advice of our local public health experts, it is our intent to follow the spirit of the White House criteria for potentially entering a new phase after April 30th. We dearly hope that public health data allows Oklahoma City to consider entering that new phase on May 1st as the Governor has envisioned. We will continue to monitor public health data and will provide updates on our local plans as we have them.”

  • Norman Mayor Breea Clark said, “This recovery plan will begin the Hunger Games between Oklahoma cities fighting over sales tax, forced to put their economies ahead of the safety of their residents. We are the ONLY state in the nation that ties cities to sales tax to support our general funds the way that we do. It has NEVER been a good system, but the economic fallout from this pandemic is further highlighting why this constitutional provision MUST CHANGE.”
  • Secretary of Health and Mental Health Jerome Loughridge, a member of the Governor’s Bounce Back Advisory Group, said, “We look at a whole multitude of data points. … As long as those are staying at a manageable level, we will proceed to the next two-week period.”
  • Oklahoma State Medical Association President Dr. George Monks said:

    “We are concerned Gov. Stitt’s plan to reopen the state is hasty at best. Even without widespread testing, Oklahoma has seen an ongoing growth in the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the past week alone. According to the Trump administration, states should not begin this process until they’ve seen a two-week downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases, and we are far from this point.

    Oklahoma’s physicians, nurses and other health care workers continue to care for those who are ill from this savage disease. To increase the danger of widespread infection by opening prematurely not only discounts their efforts, but also the sacrifices made by their loved ones.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Idaho: In an interview with KTVB, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean outlined the city’s reopening plan and how it differs from Gov. Brad Little’s (R) state plan. The main difference is the city plans do not have target dates attached to phases, which McLean said allows the city to focus primarily on data and not on the dates.
  • Pennsylvania: Four counties filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tom Wolf (D) over their classification as red counties in the state’s reopening plan. Butler, Fayette, Green, and Washington Counties filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court on Thursday, May 7. The counties argue that their constitutional rights have been violated. The case name and number are County of Butler v. Wolf, 2:20-cv-00677. The docket report can be accessed here.
  • Texas: Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt announced an extension of the joint stay-at-home order. The order will now end on May 31 for the city of Austin and June 15 for Travis County. The orders were modified to align with Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) list of businesses that were allowed to open. Abbott’s reopening order explicitly supersedes local stay-at-home orders.
  • Illinois: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced “Protecting Chicago,” a five-phase reopening process she said would complement Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s state reopening plan. She said she believed the city is in Phase 2. Phase 3 will involve limited reopening of select businesses and public amenities. Physical distancing and face covering guidance continues through Phase 4. Timing of the phases will be determined by meeting a number of public health measures.
  • Florida: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county’s target date for reopening some businesses is May 18. Miami-Dade, along with Broward and Palm Beach counties, were not included in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan.
  • California: State officials allowed Orange County to begin opening county beaches for non-stationary activity with physical distancing Thursday.


Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: May 2-8, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.        

Notable Quotes of the Week

“Democrats have been split since 2016 over whether energizing black voters or winning over some white working-class voters in the industrial Midwest represents the best shot for the party in November. Hillary Clinton’s defeat four years ago was narrow enough that either option could explain it, giving Democrats little certainty as they try to wrestle the presidency from Trump.

Biden is believed to be considering as many as a dozen candidates, but much of the focus has centered on a handful of his former primary rivals, each of whom would fulfill different aims for the party: Warren, a liberal icon; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a Midwestern moderate; and Harris, who would be the first black female nominee. …

Public polling offers little guidance. A new CBS News-YouGov poll found Warren to be the top pick among registered Democrats, at 36 percent to 19 percent for Harris. But asked whether a liberal or a moderate running mate would make victory over Trump easier, 31 percent said a liberal would make Biden’s election easier; 42 percent felt that way about a moderate nominee.”

– Matt Viser, Annie Linskey, and Vanessa WilliamsThe Washington Post

“A pair of major developments give us a hint about how future trends will develop on the partisan battleground.

First: Heading into the 2020 election, President Trump is on track to far surpass President Barack Obama’s record in collecting small donor contributions — those under $200 — lending weight to his claim of populist legitimacy.

Second: Democratic candidates and their party committees are making inroads in gathering contributions from the wealthiest of the wealthy, the Forbes 400, a once solid Republican constituency. Democrats are also pulling ahead in contributions from highly educated professionals — doctors, lawyers, tech executives, software engineers, architects, scientists, teachers and so on. …

Trump’s success in raising small dollar contributions is not necessarily a harbinger of his prospects in November 2020. It does, however, raise a question about the contemporary role of the two major political parties.

Traditionally, one of the core strengths of the Democratic Party has been that voters trust it more than the Republican Party to protect and advance the interests of the middle class. In recent years, however, that advantage has been eroding.”

– Thomas B. EdsallThe New York Times

Week in Review

Delaware postpones Democratic primary for the second time 

On Thursday, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) again postponed the state’s presidential primary, to July 7. The primary was originally scheduled to take place on April 28 before being postponed to June 2. Carney also announced that the state would mail absentee ballot applications automatically to all eligible voters in the primary.

Biden campaigns virtually in Florida

Joe Biden held a virtual campaign rally in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday. He also participated in a roundtable with African American leaders in Jacksonville and visited a food bank in Orlando, all from his home in Delaware.

Judge reinstates New York’s Democratic primary 

On Tuesday, Judge Analisa Torres of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the New York State Board of Elections to reinstate New York’s June 23 Democratic primary, which state officials had canceled on April 27. Torres wrote that the “removal of presidential candidates from the primary ballot not only deprived those candidates of the chance to garner votes for the Democratic Party’s nomination, but also deprived their pledged delegates of the opportunity to run for a position where they could influence the party platform, vote on party governance issues, pressure the eventual nominee on matters of personnel or policy, and react to unexpected developments at the Convention.” The primary was originally scheduled for April 28 but was postponed in response to the coronavirus pandemic before it was canceled. Democratic members of the New York State Board of Elections appealed the ruling on Wednesday.

Trump visits Honeywell factory in Phoenix 

Donald Trump visited Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday, where he toured a Honeywell factory that is making N95 respirator masks. He said in a speech at the factory, “Thanks to the profound commitment of our citizens we’ve flattened the curve. … We’re reopening our country, and it’s going to be something special.”

Biden wins Kansas Democratic primary   

The Democratic Party of Kansas released the results of its presidential preference primary Sunday. The primary was conducted entirely via mail-in ballot. Biden placed first in the ranked-choice tally with 76.9% of the vote to Bernie Sanders’ 23.1%.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

General election race ratings

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Rufus Gifford is a Democratic staffer with experience in political advising and finance. Gifford received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1996.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 candidate for Massachussett’s 3rd Congressional District
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, finance director

Other experience:

  • 2019-2020: UTEC, advisory board member
  • 2019-2020: Angeleno Group, senior advisor
  • 2019-2020: Run for Something, board of directors member
  • 2019-2020: Priorities USA, board of directors member
  • 2019-2020: Out Leadership, senior advisor
  • 2017-2020: GAME, advisory board member
  • 2013-2017: U.S. Embassy to Denmark, ambassador
  • 2009-2011: Democratic National Committee, finance director
  • 2008-2009: Presidential Inaugural Committee, California finance director

What We’re Reading

Flashback: May 4-8, 2016

  • May 8, 2016: 2008 Republican presidential nominee and former U.S. Sen. John McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would support Trump in the presidential election. He commented, “You have to draw the conclusion that there is some distance, if not a disconnect, between party leaders and members of Congress and the many voters who have selected Donald Trump to be the nominee of the party. … You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party.”
  • May 7, 2016: Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders 60-40 in the Guam Democratic caucuses, winning four of Guam’s seven pledged Democratic delegates. By that time, 77% of pledged delegates had been allocated, and Clinton led Sanders by around 300 pledged delegates.
  • May 6, 2016: 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole and former Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed Trump. Dole stated, “The voters of our country have turned out in record numbers to support Mr. Trump. It is important that their votes be honored and it is time that we support the party’s presumptive nominee.”
  • May 5, 2016: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stated that he was not ready to endorse Trump for president, saying that the “bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.” Trump replied that he was “not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda.”
  • May 4, 2016: Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) suspended his presidential campaign, one day after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) ended his campaign. Cruz and Kasich were the last of Donald Trump’s primary opponents to suspend their bids.

Click here to learn more.



Trump campaign to launch ads attacking Biden

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

May 8, 2020: Joe Biden held a virtual campaign rally in Tampa, Florida. Donald Trump’s campaign manager tweeted ads that will be part of a $10 million campaign against Biden.         

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the presidential primary updates you need to know:

  • Delaware: Gov. John Carney (D) again postponed Delaware’s presidential primary, to July 7. The primary was originally scheduled to take place on April 28 before being postponed to June 2. Carney also announced that the state would mail absentee ballot applications automatically to all eligible voters in the primary.

Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.


Rufus Gifford is a Democratic staffer with experience in political advising and finance. Gifford received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1996.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2018 candidate for Massachussett’s 3rd Congressional District
  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, finance director

Other experience:

  • 2019-2020: UTEC, advisory board member
  • 2019-2020: Angeleno Group, senior advisor
  • 2019-2020: Run for Something, board of directors member
  • 2019-2020: Priorities USA, board of directors member
  • 2019-2020: Out Leadership, senior advisor
  • 2017-2020: GAME, advisory board member
  • 2013-2017: U.S. Embassy to Denmark, ambassador
  • 2009-2011: Democratic National Committee, finance director
  • 2008-2009: Presidential Inaugural Committee, California finance director

Notable Quote of the Day

“A pair of major developments give us a hint about how future trends will develop on the partisan battleground.

First: Heading into the 2020 election, President Trump is on track to far surpass President Barack Obama’s record in collecting small donor contributions — those under $200 — lending weight to his claim of populist legitimacy.

Second: Democratic candidates and their party committees are making inroads in gathering contributions from the wealthiest of the wealthy, the Forbes 400, a once solid Republican constituency. Democrats are also pulling ahead in contributions from highly educated professionals — doctors, lawyers, tech executives, software engineers, architects, scientists, teachers and so on. …

Trump’s success in raising small dollar contributions is not necessarily a harbinger of his prospects in November 2020. It does, however, raise a question about the contemporary role of the two major political parties.

Traditionally, one of the core strengths of the Democratic Party has been that voters trust it more than the Republican Party to protect and advance the interests of the middle class. In recent years, however, that advantage has been eroding.”

– Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times

Election Updates

  • Joe Biden held a virtual campaign rally in Tampa, Florida. He also participated in a roundtable with African American leaders in Jacksonville and visited a food bank in Orlando, all from his home in Delaware.
  • Donald Trump has approved a $10 million ad campaign attacking Biden. Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted, “For nearly three years we have been building a juggernaut campaign (Death Star). It is firing on all cylinders.  Data, Digital, TV, Political, Surrogates, Coalitions, etc. In a few days we start pressing FIRE for the first time.”

What We’re Reading

Flashback: May 8, 2016

2008 Republican presidential nominee and former U.S. Sen. John McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would support Trump in the presidential election. He commented, “You have to draw the conclusion that there is some distance, if not a disconnect, between party leaders and members of Congress and the many voters who have selected Donald Trump to be the nominee of the party. … You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party.”

Click here to learn more.



Documenting America’s Path to Recovery: May 7, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened yesterday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 8

  • Alaska (divided government): Bars and gyms will be allowed to open at 25% capacity Friday. Limits on social and religious gatherings will be increased to 50 people. Businesses will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity and restaurants will be allowed to serve walk-in customers.
  • California (Democratic trifecta): Curbside pickup services may begin for certain types of retail businesses Friday. Permitted businesses include bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting-good stores, and clothing stores. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) made the announcement on May 11.
  • Delaware (Democratic trifecta): Retail stores may open for curbside pickup, and barbershops and salons may reopen under sanitation and distancing guidelines Friday. Gov. John Carney (D) announced the changes on May 5.
  • Iowa (Republican trifecta): The following businesses will be allowed to reopen Friday: dental service providers, campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities, and medical spas. Businesses in the 22 counties exempted from Gov. Kim Reynolds’ (R) April 27 reopening order will be permitted to resume operations Friday. Reynolds issued the proclamation making these modifications yesterday.
  • North Carolina (divided government): The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect since March 30, expires tomorrow. On May 11, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued a modified order that goes into effect Friday. The state will enter the first phase of a three-phase plan. In the first phase, individuals may leave the house for commercial activity. Retail may open at 50% capacity, subject to cleaning and social distancing measures. Child-care centers may open for working parents or those looking for work. State parks and trails may reopen, subject to limits on gathering size. Face coverings are recommended in public, and continued telework is encouraged. Gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): Twenty-four counties will be allowed to begin reopening Friday and will no longer be subject to the stay-at-home order. Most businesses may open for in-person services, except restaurants, bars, gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons, massage therapy establishments, casinos, and theaters. Businesses that reopen must adhere to guidelines Wolf released on May 4. Gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced the changes on May 1.
  • Rhode Island (Democratic trifecta): The state’s stay-at-home order expires Friday. Gov. Gina Raimondo issued the order on March 28. It was originally set to expire on April 13. Raimondo extended the order until May 8.
  • Tennessee (Republican trifecta): Small-group recreational businesses, such as bowling alleys, will be allowed to reopen tomorrow. Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced the changes on May 5.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Kentucky (divided government): Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack announced that effective May 6, the following types of medical procedures could resume: outpatient gastrointestinal, radiology, diagnostic non-urgent cardiac, outpatient orthopedic, outpatient ophthalmological, outpatient ENT, and outpatient dental procedures.
  • Maryland (divided government): Effective today, healthcare facilities and providers are permitted to resume elective and non-urgent medical procedures, subject to conditions established by the state department of health. The number and types of permitted outdoor activities have also been expanded. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) made the announcement Wednesday.
  • Oklahoma (Republican trifecta): In a Wednesday press conference, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced the state was on track to begin phase two of Oklahoma’s reopening plan, “Open Up and Recover Safely.” Phase two would begin on May 15, and allow bars to open with reduced standing-room capacity, along with the resumption of funerals and weddings.
  • Oregon (Democratic trifecta): In a Thursday press conference, Gov. Kate Brown (D) released details on a three-phase reopening plan centered on counties. Counties will need to meet prerequisites related to testing, tracing, and declining COVID-19 prevalence to move between phases, and will need to remain in the first phase for a minimum of 21 days before potentially moving to the next. Counties with low COVID-19 infection rates can begin applying on May 8 to enter the first phase of the reopening process, which will start no earlier than May 15. According to the plan, stand-alone retail businesses across the state, such as furniture stores and boutiques, can reopen with limitations on May 15.
  • Pennsylvania (divided government): On May 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in a lawsuit over Governor Tom Wolf’s (D) March 19 order restricting the operations of non-essential businesses in the state. As a result, the state supreme court’s ruling, which upheld the order, was allowed to stand. On March 24, plaintiffs (several Pennsylvania businesses) petitioned the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to vacate Wolf’s order, alleging it violated their constitutional rights to free speech, assembly, and judicial review. The plaintiffs also argued the order deprived them of their property without due process or just compensation. On April 13, the state supreme court rejected the plaintiffs’ claims.
  • West Virginia (Republican trifecta): Gov. Jim Justice (R) issued an order mandating that all employees at assisted living facilities and daycare centers in the state get tested for coronavirus. The order directs the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to oversee and carry out the testing.

Update on stay-at-home orders

Forty-three states issued orders directing residents to stay home except for essential activities and the closure or curtailment of businesses each state deemed nonessential. Seven states did not.

As of May 7, 15 governors have ended their state’s stay-at-home orders. Twelve of those states have Republican governors and three have Democratic governors. Of the 28 states where governors have not ended their state’s stay-at-home orders, seven have Republican governors and 21 have Democratic governors.

Here’s which stay-at-home orders have expired, and when the rest are scheduled to expire.

Tracking reopenings

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.


Featured plan

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

On April 22, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued a directive providing for the phased reopening of the state.

In the directive, Bullock extended the stay-at-home order for individuals to April 26 and businesses to April 27. The expiration of the stay-at-home order marked the beginning of the first phase of the three-phase reopening.

Bullock’s order has three phases, but no specific timelines for their duration. Instead, each phase “will be regularly evaluated in close consultation with public health and emergency management professionals.” Bullock said the following factors would help determine when the state moves to the next phase:

  • “Ability for public health professionals to monitor new cases adequately and conduct contact tracing.”
  • “Hospitals must maintain the ability to treat all patients safely, both COVID-19 patients and those with other health conditions.”
  • “Montana must maintain its ability to screen and test all people with COVID-19 symptoms and maintain sufficient levels of personal protective equipment.”

If these criteria can’t be met, the state will revert to the previous restrictions or other mitigation measures.

Bullock said the following orders remain in effect:

  • Mandatory quarantine for certain travelers arriving in Montana remains in effect until modified or rescinded by a subsequent order.
  • Limits on foreclosures, evictions, and service disconnections will continue through May 24, subject to modification by subsequent directives.

Context

  • Bullock issued the original stay-at-home order on March 26. It was set to expire on April 10, but he extended it through April 24. On April 22, Bullock extended the order through April 26 for individuals and April 27 for non-essential businesses permitted to reopen on that date.
  • As of May 6, there had been 456 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Montana and 16 fatalities. A total of 19,704 tests had been administered, amounting to a positive test rate of 2.3%. As of July 2019, Montana’s estimated population was 1.1 million. Per 100,000 residents, there have been 42.7 confirmed positives, 1.5 confirmed deaths, and 1,843.7 total tests.
  • Montana has a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

Phase 1 guidelines (in progress)

Individuals:

  • Although individuals are not required to remain in their homes, it is recommended that residents continue to minimize non-essential travel, particularly if they qualify as vulnerable individuals.
    • Vulnerable individuals are defined as “people over 65 years of age, people with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, or asthma, and people whose immune system is compromised.”
  • When in public, individuals should maintain six feet of distance from others.
  • Individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people if circumstances inhibit appropriate physical distancing.

Businesses:

  • Guidelines for all businesses:
    • Health screenings must be conducted for all employees at the beginning of each shift.
    • Customers should be physically distanced when waiting in line.
    • Waiting areas that cannot accommodate adequate physical distancing must be closed.
    • Physical distancing of six feet must be maintained between customers.
  • Businesses permitted to reopen or expand their operations on the following timetable, subject to reduced capacity and physical distancing guidelines:
    • April 26: Places of worship.
    • April 27: Retail businesses, personal care services, outdoor recreation sites; organized youth activities.
    • May 4: Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos (at 50% capacity — these businesses must close their doors and have all customers out by 11:30 p.m.).
  • The following businesses must remain closed for the duration of Phase 1, which does not currently have a fixed end date:
    • Gyms, pools, and hot tubs.
    • Other places of assembly (e.g., movie theaters, performance venues, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls).
    • Senior living and assisted living facilities must remain closed to visitors.

Phase 2 guidelines

Individuals:

  • Individuals should avoid gatherings of more than 50 people if circumstances inhibit appropriate physical distancing.

Businesses:

  • In general, all the provisions established in Phase 1 continue to apply in Phase 2. The following additional provisions are set to take effect in Phase 2:
    • Gyms, polls, and hot tubs can resume operations.
    • Other places of assembly can resume operations, subject to gathering-size restrictions and physical distancing guidelines.
    • The reduced capacity threshold for restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos increases from 50% to 75%.

Phase 3 guidelines

In phase three, there are no limits on gatherings, and businesses can resume normal operations, subject to ongoing physical distancing guidelines.

School provisions

Beginning May 7, schools may resume in-person teaching at the discretion of local school boards.

Local provisions

Bullock’s directive explicitly preempts less restrictive local ordinances. More restrictive local ordinances are presumably permitted.

Guidance for individuals and employers in all phases 

The reopening plan lays out the following guidelines for individuals and employers in all phases.

Individuals:

  • Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, refrain from touching your face, sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
  • Regularly disinfect commonly used items or surfaces.
  • “Strongly consider using non-medical face coverings while in public, especially in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.”
  • Individuals who do not feel well should stay home, seek medical advice, and adhere to isolation and quarantine guidelines established by their local health departments.

Employers:

  • Develop and implement policies regarding the following:
    • Social distancing and personal protective equipment
    • Temperature checks and other health screening measures
    • Testing, isolation, and contact tracing, in consultation with public health officials
    • Sanitation
    • Disinfection of common and/or high-traffic areas
  • Employers should monitor their workers for symptoms and not allow symptomatic employees to work

Reactions

  • Todd O’Hair, president of the Montana Chamber of Commerce, supported Bullock’s reopening plan: “The Montana business community appreciates the Governor’s leadership over the course of the COVID19 pandemic. The Montana Chamber of Commerce supports a phased approach to re-opening our economy, while still maintaining health standards and containing the spread of COVID-19. Montana businesses are capable of being flexible and partnering with our colleagues and employees to address the challenges that this may pose, and are eager to open our doors once again.”
  • Dr. Marc Mentel, president of the Montana Medical Association, said: “Because of Montana’s aggressive approach of shutting everything down early in the pandemic, we are in the fortuitous position of having a very low viral burden in the state. With that being said, I feel assured that a cautious, vigilant, and step wise approach to opening up our healthcare, commerce, and education sectors could be attempted. Keep in mind that for every two steps forward we might need to take a step back, but it is in everyone’s best interest that we try.”
  • Vicky Byrd, CEO of the Montana Nurses Association, wrote in an April 28 op-ed that the state was moving forward on reopening too quickly: “We know that social distancing and good hand-washing is working but relaxing the stay-at-home order at this point could be counterproductive. The last thing we want is to open up too soon, see another spike in cases, and have to revert back to another stay-at-home order. The Montana response has had a positive result and our concern is if we open before important goals are met, our state will lose progress made and will be compromised.”
  • In the week before Bullock issued his reopening plan, state Republicans launched a social media campaign, STARTMontana (“Strategy To Activate a Real Transition”), urging him to loosen restrictions. The campaign is still active. In a May 1 post on the campaign’s Facebook page, profile administrators said, “The governor still has Montana’s small businesses under heavy restrictions – killing our economy. We are down to just 56 active cases, meaning 86% of people have recovered. Why does the governor refuse to #STARTMontana?”
  • Whitney Williams, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, opposed the possible reopening of schools on May 7: “Reopening our schools should be a statewide decision — backed by science, not expediency. Shifting this decision to local school boards creates a patchwork approach across the state that’s not good for parents, for teachers or for anyone in our state. I believe it’s in the best interests of our children and the safety of our communities to keep schools closed in Montana through the end of this academic year and plan for a fall opening.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the White House declined to implement its 17-page recommendation for reopening America. The report was compiled at the request of the White House Task Force.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) announced that businesses could begin offering pickup services beginning on Friday. Most park hiking trails and golf courses will reopen Saturday. The trails in Runyon Canyon Park and the city’s beaches will remain closed. Garcetti said vulnerable individuals (over 65 or with preexisting conditions) may not go to the trails or golf courses.
  • The Fond du Lac Reporter profiled several candidates who are taking unique approaches to gathering signatures in Wisconsin. Jeff Jacobs (G) set up a table in his lawn where visitors can sign petitions. Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R) mailed copies of his nomination sheets to supporters, asking them to sign and return them.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced a further postponement of the state’s presidential primary, this time to July 7. The presidential primary, which was originally scheduled to take place on April 28, was first postponed to June 2. Carney also announced that the state would mail absentee ballot applications automatically to all eligible voters in the primary.