Welcome to Documenting America’s Path to Recovery. Today we look at:
- Court rulings in Maryland and Indiana requiring those states to resume participating in federal pandemic unemployment programs
- In-person education at K-12 schools in Illinois
- Vaccine distribution
- Lawsuits about state actions and policies
- State-level mask requirements
- COVID-19 emergency health orders
- COVID-19 policy changes from this time last year
We are committed to keeping you updated on everything from mask requirements to vaccine-related policies. We will keep you abreast of major developments—especially those affecting your daily life. Want to know what we covered Thursday? Click here.
Since our last edition
What rules and restrictions are changing in each state? For a continually updated article, click here.
Colorado (Democratic trifecta): On July 8, Gov. Jared Polis (D) ended the coronavirus health emergency order. Polis also signed executive order focused on measures meant to help Colorado recover from the coronavirus.
Illinois (Democratic trifecta): On July 9, state Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala issued a declaration requiring in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. Remote instruction will be available to students who are unable to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
Indiana (Republican trifecta): On Monday, July 12, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the state must comply with Superior Court Judge John Hanley’s June 25 emergency order to resume participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) ended the state’s participation in those programs on June 19.
Maryland (divided government): On Tuesday, July 13, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill ruled the state must continue participating in federal pandemic unemployment programs. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ended participation in those programs on July 3. The programs are scheduled to end in September. Hogan said he would not challenge the ruling.
We last looked at vaccine distribution in the July 8 edition of the newsletter. As of July 12, the states with the highest vaccination rates as a percentage of total population (including children) were:
- Vermont (Republican governor): 75%
- Massachusetts (Republican governor): 71%
- Hawaii (Democratic governor): 70%
- Connecticut (Democratic governor): 68%
- Maine (Democratic governor): 67%
The states with the lowest rates were:
- Mississippi (Republican governor): 37%
- Louisiana (Democratic governor): 39%
- Idaho (Republican governor): 40%
- Wyoming (Republican governor): 40%
- Alabama (Republican governor): 41%
Lawsuits about state actions and policies
- To date, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,830 lawsuits, in 50 states, dealing in some way with the COVID-19 outbreak. Court orders have been issued, or settlements have been reached, in 557 of those lawsuits.
- Since July 6, we have added five lawsuits to our database. We have also tracked an additional two court orders and/or settlements.
- Slidewaters LLC v. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries: On July 8, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against a water park that had sued over Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) COVID-19 restrictions. The water park had attempted to remain open in violation of Inslee’s capacity restrictions and business closure orders. Slidewaters sued, alleging Inslee and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries lacked authority to issue and enforce temporary emergency rules during the pandemic, and that their actions were unconstitutional violations of due process. Chief Judge Thomas Rice, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, denied Slidewaters’ motion for an injunction, ruling that the infringement of civil liberties was “justified by the ongoing public health emergency caused by COVID-19.” On July 15, 2020, Slidewaters appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed Rice’s decision and dismissed the case. Judge Richard R. Clifton, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, said, “Defendants have the authority under Washington law to impose the restrictions and … doing so does not violate Slidewaters’ asserted rights under the U.S. Constitution.” The Ninth Circuit ruled the state’s actions were rationally connected to the legitimate state interest of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Neither party has issued a statement on the decision. Clifton is an appointee of President George W. Bush (R).
State mask requirements
We last looked at face coverings in the July 6 edition of the newsletter. Since then, a statewide mask order expired in Rhode Island.
COVID-19 emergency health orders
Governors and state agencies in all 50 states issued orders declaring active emergencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These orders allowed officials to access resources, like stockpiles of medical goods and equipment, unavailable to them during non-emergencies and temporarily waive or suspend certain rules and regulations.
- COVID-19 emergency orders have expired in 25 states. Emergency orders remain active in 27 states.
- Since July 6, three states have ended their statewide COVID-19 emergencies.
- On July 13, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) ended the statewide COVID-19 state of emergency.
- On July 8, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) ended the statewide COVID-19 health emergency.
- On July 6, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) terminated the statewide COVID-19 emergency.
This time last year: Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 14, 2020
The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21, 2020. But it wasn’t until March when the novel coronavirus upended life for most Americans. Throughout March and April, many states issued stay-at-home orders, closed schools, restricted travel, and changed election dates. Many of those policies remain in place today. Each week, we’ll look back at some of the defining policy responses of the early coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what happened this time last year. To see a list of all policy changes in each category, click the links below.
Monday, July 13, 2020:
- Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
- New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) reimposed some coronavirus restrictions due to increasing coronavirus cases, including prohibiting indoor dining at bars and restaurants. Indoor dining had been permitted since June 1. State parks were closed to out-of-state visitors and visitors who could not prove their residency. The state’s mask requirement expanded to include anyone exercising in a public space.
- Travel restrictions:
- Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) extended the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers through Sept. 1. Previously, Ige said a new program would take effect Aug. 1 that would allow visitors to present a negative coronavirus test to avoid the quarantine requirement. That program would not start until Oct. 15.
- Mask requirements:
- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued an executive proclamation establishing a statewide face-covering requirement in any indoor or outdoor public space. The order exempted children under the age of eight, as well as individuals with medical conditions preventing them from wearing face coverings. The order also allowed parishes to opt out if they maintained a COVID-19 incidence rate of fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people for the previous two weeks.
- State court changes:
- Iowa courtrooms reopened to in-person proceedings with restrictions. Social distancing of at least six feet was required. The state set a goal of resuming jury trials on Sept. 14.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
- Stay-at-home orders and reopening plans:
- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced the state would remain in Phase Two of reopening until Aug. 7. Previously, the state had been scheduled to enter Phase Three on July 17.
- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) reduced the statewide limit on gatherings from 100 people to 25. Justice also announced that bars in Monongalia County would also be closed for 10 days in response to rising coronavirus cases.
- Travel restrictions:
- Govs. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota had been added to the joint travel advisory originally announced June 24, requiring travelers from those states to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in the tristate area.
- Election changes:
- Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) announced the state would send mail-in ballot request forms to all eligible voters in the Aug. 11 primary election.