US Policy Scan 2021

Dentons’ US Public Policy practice is pleased to release its annual Policy Scan, an in-depth look at policy at the Federal level and in each of the 50 states. In this document we provide a first look at the key policy questions for the next year in the states, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the new Administration. Additionally, we examine the people who will be driving change.

US Policy Scan 2021 takes deep dives into the turbulent political and policy waters swirling around agriculture, cannabis, education, energy and the environment, financial services, foreign policy, health care, housing and community investment, immigration, infrastructure, smart cities and communities, national security, Native American communities, tax, technology, trade, and voting rights and government reform. All with an eye toward providing you with a clear, comprehensive and reader-friendly description of what US public policy will look like in 2021.

Other features include:

  • 2021 Congressional and State House Session Calendars
  • First 100 days of the Biden Administration
  • Biden cabinet nominees and senior White House staff appointees
  • New Committee Chairs and Rankers
  • Analysis of 2022 US Senate races
  • Key decided and pending cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

And as in years past, we have also included a review of state legislative activity in 2020, an overview of legislation passed by the House Democrats in the 116th Congress that didn’t see movement in the Republican controlled Senate, and the policy drivers that will shape state legislative and executive branch activity in 2021.

We hope you find this report helpful and informative.

A VIEW FROM THE STATES: Dentons 50 State Network review of the political landscape

Dentons’ Public Policy group has provided a synopsis of the political landscape for each state prepared by members of our Dentons 50 network — experts from all 50 state capitols with a pulse on federal, state and local races in their respective states. We also highlight the states with governors races, attorneys general races and the 22 state chambers considered “battle grounds” with their current majorities.

Open Application Period for the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP)

The eagerly anticipated application period for Pennsylvania’s largest economic development grant program is expected to open for 30 days starting on July 13, 2020. The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) provides grants for the acquisition and construction of economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. Earlier this month the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate approved SB 905, the Capital Budget Itemization bill. The Governor is expected to sign this bill by the end of June, giving the program the green light to open up for new applications.

Projects with a total cost of $1 million or more are eligible to apply for up to 50% of the total construction budget. Candidates for RACP must have been previously authorized in a Capital Budget Itemization Act in order to be eligible. Not sure what that means? We have a unique expertise in this particular program and can assist with all aspects of this process from the application completion to the drawdown of awarded grant funds.

Please contact us to learn more.

New Grant Funding Announced for PA Small Businesses

Governor Wolf has recently announced the availability of $225 million in funding for new grant programs to help Pennsylvania small businesses that are struggling to survive through COVID-19. The recently enacted state budget includes $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funding to the Pennsylvania CDFI Network, which will then administer the funding in the form two grant programs:

  1. $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the Governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19;
  2. $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.

Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for grants up to $50,000. Additionally, $25 million in funds have been set aside for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID. For additional information on these programs or if you are interested in applying please contact the Public Affairs Group.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – June 1, 2020


As of June 1st

COVID-19 Status Report – Georgia Department of Public Health (Updated 6/1/2020, 1:00 p.m.)

  • Confirmed COVID-19 Cases: 47,618
  • Hospitalizations: 8,127
  • Total Tests: 562,815
  • ICU Admissions: 1,800
  • Deaths: 2,074

As of May 29th

The Governor of the State of Georgia has signed an Executive Order that renews the Public Health State of Emergency that was set to expire on June, 12, 2020, so that it shall now terminate on July 12, 2020 at 11.59pm unless renewed by the Governor.

The Governor of the State of Georgia has signed an Executive Order that provides ongoing direction for reviving a healthy Georgia in response to COVID-19, including detailed orders for retailers, restaurant and dining services, general industry, and education facilities.


As of May 27th

Governor Kelly has reissued several Executive Orders following her new emergency declaration. Those EOs can be found by clicking here.

New York

As of May 30th

The Governor of the State of New York has published an executive order authorizing business owners and building operators to deny entry to individuals who do not wear masks or face-coverings.

North Carolina

As of June 1st

  • Laboratory confirmed Coronavirus cases: 28,589
  • Coronavirus deaths: 929
  • Currently hospitalized: 649
  • Completed tests: 416,289
  • Number recovered: 14,954
  • NC Counties affected: 99/100
  • Realtime COVID-19 Data for NC

At least 27,793 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 929 have died as of Saturday afternoon, according to state and county health departments. The NC Department of Health and Human Services on Saturday reported an additional 1,185 cases of the virus, the largest single-day increase since the pandemic first struck the state.

Lawmakers Vote to Reopen Bars Despite Governor’s Order (WRAL) State lawmakers voted Thursday to allow bars to reopen in outdoor spaces, overriding Governor Cooper’s executive order that has closed them since March. The legislation would allow bars to serve patrons in outdoor spaces, permanent or temporary, at 50 percent of the capacity of their indoor area, with social distancing guidelines. House Bill 536 would also allow restaurants to set up temporary outdoor spaces to serve customers in the same way. Restaurants are currently limited to 50 percent of their capacity, and the outdoor seating could bring them up to 100 percent, or close to it. Governor Cooper said he would veto the bill.

NC Bar Owners Want to See Science Behind Decision to Keep Them Closed

Gym Owners File Lawsuit Against Governor Cooper (Raleigh News & Observer) A group of gym owners are suing Governor Cooper for not allowing them to reopen their businesses under Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan. The state has not specified whether gyms can reopen in Phase Three or earlier. Phase Three will lessen restrictions even further and allow most businesses to open. Phase Two is expected to last through at least June 26. Some gym owners said they don’t think it was fair that businesses such as ABC stores and restaurants were able to be open, but not gyms. 

Governor Extends Utility Cut-off Moratorium, Creates One for Evictions (WLOS) Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 142 on May 30, effective immediately, to extend the prohibition of utility shut-offs and implement a moratorium on evictions.

Executive Order 142, Extending Prohibition on Evictions and Utility Shut-Offs, May 30

Utilities Panel Refuses to Make Duke Energy Raise Fees for NC Factories During Pandemic (Charlotte Observer) North Carolina’s Utilities Commission has denied a request that it order Duke Energy to temporarily waive fixed monthly charges affecting commercial and industrial customers during the coronavirus pandemic. The Carolina Utility Customers Association, a manufacturers’ trade group, had sought to waive fees by both of Duke’s N.C. utilities and by Dominion Energy North Carolina, which serves the state’s northeastern corner.

NC Unemployment Chief Replaced (Durham Herald Sun) There’s a new boss at North Carolina’s unemployment office. Governor Cooper didn’t say why the old boss, Lockhart Taylor, moved to a different job in state government “with separate duties and responsibilities.” But the move comes after numerous complaints about long waits that newly unemployed people having been facing — waits to get through to the office on the phone, or to get benefits at all.

Media Coalition Sues Cooper, Cabinet Agencies for COVID-19 Records (Raleigh News & Observer) A coalition of more than two dozen media outlets filed a lawsuit seeking the release of a list of records related to COVID-19 that the state had, so far, refused to provide. The lawsuit names as defendants Gov. Roy Cooper and two of his Cabinet secretaries, Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Erik Hooks, secretary of the Department of Public Safety. The complaint lists a total of 26 outstanding records requests — nine to DPS and 17 to DHHS — submitted by media outlets for records that could be helpful in reporting on COVID-19. All but one of the requests were submitted since the pandemic began.

RNC Sets Deadline for Response on NC Convention (AP) The Republican National Committee says it wants to hear from Governor Roy Cooper by June 3 on whether the state can fully accommodate the party’s national convention in August this summer. The letter sent Saturday by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to Cooper comes a day after Cooper talked by phone with President Trump about the issue. The two disagreed about the viability of a full-fledged convention.

NC House Passes Funding, Rules to Prepare for Spike in Voting by Mail (Raleigh News & Observer) A bill making it easier for people to vote by mail in the 2020 elections passed with near-unanimous support Thursday in the N.C. House of Representatives. State officials have told lawmakers that normally, around 4% or 5% of North Carolinians vote by mail. But because of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and public health concerns, they expect that it could grow to as high as 40% this year.

NC Unemployment Triples in April to 12.2%, Worse to Come in May (Winston Salem Journal) North Carolina’s unemployment rate nearly tripled from 4.3% in March to 12.2% in April, a stark reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the state’s economy. By comparison, the state unemployment rate reached a 33-year peak of 10.9% in 2010 as the state and national economies began their slow recoveries from the Great Recession. Economists project the May jobless rate will be significantly higher since the US Labor Department collects employment data during the week that contains the 12th of the month.

Non-Coronavirus News

Protesters, Police Clash at Raleigh Protest of Floyd’s Death; Buildings Damaged, Looted (Raleigh News & Observer) The streets of Downtown Raleigh were filled with protesters and police in riot gear Saturday evening. The event started peacefully, with protesters singing and chanting throughout downtown, but within an hour after the crowd began marching, police released tear gas and pepper spray. Protesters threw fireworks, rocks and water bottles at police and vandalized several downtown businesses. At least one protester was arrested.

GOP Campaigns Pick Up Steam Ahead of NC-11 Second Primary (The Mountaineer) For an election that early on garnered attention from national media and top-tier politicians, the second primary to see which Republican will advance to the general election for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district has fallen by the wayside. Overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic the last few months, early voting for the contest is set to start in just a couple of weeks, and the candidates, Lynda Bennett of Haywood County and Madison Cawthorn of Henderson County, are planning their final push.

NC Lawmaker Accuses Multiple Senators of Abusive Behavior (WRAL) A North Carolina state senator accused multiple colleagues Thursday of abusive behavior. Sen. Erica Smith (D-Northampton), who ran this year for the US Senate, said three fellow Democrats made disparaging or sexual comments and that one of them – Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) – was seconds away from physically assaulting her last year before colleagues stepped in.


As of May 29th


  • After a nail-biting 48 hours of ballot counting, Sen. Shemia Fagan emerged as the democratic nominee for Oregon Secretary of State, pulling ahead of her Senate colleague Mark Hass. Fagan will face Republican Sen. Kim Thatcher in November. Willamette Week did a behind-the-scenes look at the campaigns’ wait for a final count.
  • The Legislature continued their virtual May Legislatives Days, with the House Committee Meetings largely focusing on specific policy areas impacted by COVID-19. Senate Committees will take place from June 1-5.
  • A special meeting of the House Business & Labor Committee will meet this Saturday at 9:00AM to ask questions of Oregon Employment Department Leadership. The meeting is a follow up to a meeting earlier this week, where lawmakers didn’t have a chance to ask questions of department leadership. The committee will also accept public testimony on this topic through Monday, June 1 @ 5PM. Meeting info can be found here.
  • Murmurs of potential special session continue to be floated, with rumors ranging from as early as the week of June 22, to late summer.


  • Earlier this week, Multnomah County released an update on reopening, announcing a goal to submit their plan on June 5 for a targeted June 12 Phase 1 reopening. While the county has met several requirements, they still need more contract tracing & testing sites. 
  • Portland City Council held a work session on CARES Act funding prioritization for approximately $74 million in resources. During the work session, funding opportunities from bureaus, a decision-making process, and proposed high-level priorities were presented by the Office of Management and Finance. An Equity Toolkit was created to serve as a guide for city bureaus in the recovery and relief efforts. There was no Council consensus on high-level priorities for funding by the end of the work session.
    • Over the next week or two Council offices will try to find agreement on shared high-level priorities for city CARES Act funds. The desired timeline is to disburse CARES Act funds by mid-July, which means City Council would approve funding decisions at a City Council meeting mid-June (TBD).

COVID-19 Update: 

  • Oregon now has 4,131 confirmed cases of COVID-19; There have been 151 deaths

At-a-Glance: Oregon News Related to COVID-19 


Nonprofits & Small Businesses 


General Resources 


As of May 30th

The Governor of the State of Washington has published a proclamation applicable to essential workers and workplaces to prohibit any agricultural employer from continuing to operate beyond June 3, 2020, unless the employer complies with all provisions of the Agriculture COVID-19 Requirements-– Provisions for All Worksites and Work-Related Functions.


As of May 28th

As of Thursday, May 28:

Total cases: 41,401

Hospitalizations: 4,442

Deaths: 1,338

The latest:

  • Masks will be required for anyone who is indoors in public, effective May 29.
  • Northern Virginia, City of Richmond and the Eastern Shore’s Accomack County will join the rest of the state in Phase 1 of the re-opening
  • All beaches in Virginia will be permitted to open for recreational activities on May 29.

All people entering indoor businesses and other indoor public spaces across Virginia will be required to wear a covering over their nose and mouth, starting on May 29, as part of Gov. Ralph Northam’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The mandate will not be enforced through the criminal justice system, although Northam left open the possibility that unruly or disorderly patrons who refuse to wear a mask could potentially face other charges related to their conduct in public.

Instead, Northam urged Virginians take the responsibility upon themselves to wear a face covering in public to protect themselves and others, and suggested business owners ask patrons without a mask to return when they have one, or for the business owner to offer to provide one.

The governor also will bring Northern Virginia localities, the City of Richmond and Accomack County into Phase 1 of the state’s reopening. Other localities across the commonwealth entered Phase 1 on May 15. Northam indicated the entire commonwealth would remain in Phase 1 until at least June 5 in order to collect more public health data.

Under Phase 1 guidelines, non-essential retail businesses and churches are permitted to reopen at 50 percent of indoor capacity. Personal grooming businesses such as salons and barbershops are able to serve customers by appointment only, and so long as staff and customers wear face masks, the governor said.

Teleworking and practicing social distancing remain recommended practices. Restaurants are permitted to serve customers at half the outdoor seating capacity; indoor dining remains prohibited.

After Virginia Beach successfully implemented a restricted plan for reopening its Oceanfront resort area for Memorial Day weekend, Northam said the rest of Virginia’s beaches may open for recreational activities on May 29, too, so long as there are no large gatherings, group sports, alcohol or tents on the beach.

NASCAR will be allowed to hold its June 10 race at Martinsville Speedway but without spectators, Northam said.

Entertainment and amusement venues, as well as overnight summer camps, remain closed. Public gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be banned. Under Phase 2, limitations will be further eased and the cap on public gatherings will be raised to no more than 50 people.

While Virginia DMV offices have reopened on a limited basis, individuals who have a driver’s license or identification card that expires before July 31 have until August 31 to renew, Northam said.

The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect until June 10, has been amended to inform Virginians that they are safer at home. Older Virginians and others at higher risk of developing complications associated with infection are encouraged to remain home.

Municipal elections scheduled for May 5 were rescheduled to May 19, and congressional primaries from June 9 to June 23. Public schools are closed for the rest of the academic year, and officials are having discussions about fall classes. Northam said he will have an announcement in early June regarding when and how youth sports can safely resume.

Initial unemployment claims have begun to recede but remain historically high. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the 10 weeks ending May 23 yielded more than 100,000 claims greater than the number of claims filed during the Great Recession of December 2007 to June 2009.


As of June 1st

Updated numbers released over the weekend:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers over the weekend:

  • 414 Current Hospital Admissions (133 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions reported decreased by 9 over the weekend (-9).
      • Hospital admissions went from 423 on Friday to 409 on Saturday (-14) to 414 on Sunday (+5).
    • The total number of ICU patients reported decreased by 11 over the weekend (-11).
      • The number of ICU patients was 144 on Friday and Saturday and then decreased by 11 on Sunday to 133 (-11).
  • Cumulatively there have been 268,506 COVID-19 tests in Wisconsin;
    • 18,403 positive tests and 250,103 negative tests in Wisconsin (6.8% positive rate)
  • On Saturday there were 523 positive tests reported on 9,843 tests (5.3% positive rate)
  • On Sunday there were 173 positive tests reported on 7,368 tests (2.3% positive rate)
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 592 in Wisconsin (+24 for the weekend).
    • There were 20 deaths reported on Saturday
    • There were 4 deaths reported on Sunday
  • 11,646 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered (63%), 6,164 cases are still considered active (33%) and 592 patients have died (3%). (last updated by DHS on 5/31)


Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data;

Recap of Weekend News Shows

UpFront; Adrienne Pedersen interviews DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm

UpFront host Adrienne Pedersen interviewed Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm about the status of Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of note in the interview:

  • Sec. Palm was asked about the spike in positive test results and she responded that there are a number of things that may be contributing to that; one is the end of the Safer-At-Home order and people having more contacts with individuals outside of their family units and the other is the increased testing that the state is doing.
  • When asked if the increase can be connected to the lifting of the Safer-At-Home order, Sec. Palm said, “I think it is not easy to make a direct connection between the lifting of Safer-At-Home, but we know this virus is very contagious and our ability and the work we did as a state to flatten the curve was as a result of people limiting their contact with other people. It is not surprising, as the state opens up more, that we will see increases of infections as more people contact with each other.”

 Link to the interview:

Wisconsin Public Television: Here & Now interview with Governor Evers

Here & Now anchor Frederica Freyberg interviewed Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in their weekly segment with the Governor on the status of Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of note in the interview:

  • When asked about the spike in the numbers this week, the Governor noted that increase in numbers was concerning, but also noted that the state is also testing more and that Wisconsinites need to remain vigilant about keeping social distance and practicing good hygiene.
  • The Governor noted his disappointment in the photos he sees of people that are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Link to interview:

Capital City Sunday: Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) on delayed state action on unemployment insurance

Capital City Sunday’s Emilee Fannon interviewed Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairman regarding the Legislature’s concerns over the Department of Workforce Development’s processing of unemployment insurance claims during this pandemic.

Of note in the interview:

  • Rep. Nygren said that there are 675,000 Wisconsinites who have filed UI claims that have not been processed yet.
  • When asked about delays caused by restrictions placed on DWD by the Walker Administration, Rep. Nygren said that the Evers Administration asked for one change in the COVID-19 Relief bill for DWD, the elimination of the 1-week wait change, which Rep. Nygren said the Republicans put in the bill.

Link to the interview:

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:

Cumulative Numbers:

For more information, sign up for free access to Dentons’ COVID-19 Regulation Tracker powered by Libryo. For access to the COVID-19 portal click here.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 28, 2020


As of May 28th

  • Gov. Kemp held a press conference today at 4 p.m. The Governor will be extending the State of Emergency for a third time through July 12. Summer camps and schools can start May 31. Shelter in place for 65+ continues through June 12. From June 1, gatherings can have up to 25 people, 6 feet apart. Live entertainment venues will still be closed. Bars and nightclubs can open June 1 with many restrictions e.g. 35% total occupancy limit. Amusement parks can open June 12. Pro Sports can reopen June 1 if they are in compliance with their respective leagues.
  • Daily State Public Health Stats:
    • As of 9:00 a.m. today, Georgia has 44,932 confirmed cases as compared to 44,638 at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, with 7,746 hospitalized patients as compared to 7,745 at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, and 1,957 deaths as compared to 1,933 at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday. Over 523,000 tests have been administered.



As of May 27th

Governor Kelly has reissued several Executive Orders following her new emergency declaration.  Those EOs can be found by clicking here.


As of May 27th 

The Governor of the State of Texas has issued an Proclamation expanding the enumerated list of covered services in Executive Order GA-23, including opening up waterparks, recreational sports, and food-court dining areas in malls.


As of May 26th

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers on Wednesday:

  • 413 Current Hospital Admissions (139 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions reported decreased by  9 on Wednesday (-9) to 413, down from 422 reported on Tuesday.
      • -5 in SE WI, -4 in NW WI and -3 NE WI and +2 SC WI and +1 Western WI
    • The total number of ICU patients reported increased by 4 on Wednesday (+4) to 139 patients, up from 135 reported on Tuesday.
      • +7 in SE WI, +2 in SC WI, +1 Fox Valley and -5 NE WI and -1 NW WI
  • Cumulatively there have been 16,462 positive tests and 210,605 negative tests in Wisconsin:
    • There were 599 positive test results reported on Wednesday on 10,330 tests (5.8% positive rate).
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 539 in Wisconsin.
    • There were 22 deaths reported on Wednesday
  • 9,405 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered (59%), 5,940 cases are still considered active (3%) and 517 patients have died (3%). (last updated by DHS on 5/26)


Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data;

Wednesday Media Briefing

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard, and Ryan Nilsestuen, Chief Legal Counsel held a briefing for the media today.

Governor Evers stressed in his opening remarks the importance of wearing a mask in public, especially when it is not possible to socially distance. The Governor said that he wears a mask while coming and going to the State Capitol, and that masks shouldn’t be a political statement.

Secretary-designee Palm in her opening remarks said that DHS is launching a new public awareness campaign with the message, “If you need a test, get a test” and encouraged people with any symptoms to get tested.

It was noted in the update that two new records were set; 599 positive cases (but 5.8% positive rate remained relatively stagnant) and the number of tests conducted in one day exceeded 10,000 for the first time.

Media questions of note:

  • Governor Evers was asked if he would be mandating that the public wear masks, and he said, noted the Supreme Court decision doesn’t allow for them to do that and is instead encouraging people to wear masks when they are out in public.
  • Governor Evers responded when asked about a lawmaker’s statement regarding some state employees who are not able to work from home and but are being paid to stay home, that he believes zero state employees are being paid to stay home and not work.
  • Secretary Palm said that she can’t say at this point whether new cases or the uptick in hospitalizations are tied to the Safer-At-Home restrictions being repealed two weeks, but the state will continue to monitor data.

The media briefing can be viewed here.

Gov. Evers Announces $200 Million “Routes to Recovery: Local Government Aid Grants” Program

Gov. Tony Evers today announced the launch of the “Routes to Recovery: Local Government Aid Grants” program, a $200 million effort aimed at helping local leaders address some of their most urgent and unique COVID-19 recovery needs. Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA), Routes to Recovery Grants will be allocated to every Wisconsin county, city, village, town and federally recognized tribe. 

The effort is funded by $200 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars and will be administered by the DOA. Of the $200 million, $10 million will be allocated to Wisconsin’s tribal nations, with the remaining funds being distributed to every Wisconsin county, city, village and town.  

Routes to Recovery Grants for Wisconsin counties, cities, villages and towns will provide reimbursements for unbudgeted expenditures incurred this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the following categories:  

  • Emergency operations activities, including those related to public health, emergency services, and public safety response
  • Purchases of personal protective equipment
  • Cleaning/sanitizing supplies and services, including those related to elections administration
  • Temporary isolation housing for infected or at-risk individuals
  • Testing and contact tracing costs above those covered by existing State programs
  • FMLA and sick leave for public health and safety employees to take COVID-19 precautions
  • Meeting local match requirements for expenses submitted for reimbursement by FEMA, to the extent allowed by federal law

The determination of a local government’s Routes to Recovery Grant amount is a formula based on the jurisdiction’s population, as well as the priority of providing Wisconsin’s units of local government no less than $5,000, regardless of size of the population.

Link to press release.

Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform informational hearing on UI

The Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform, chaired by Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) held an informational hearing on Unemployment Insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those who testified at the hearing were Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman. According to Chairman Nass today’s hearing will be one of many that will occur over the next several months on the UI program.

Link to WisEye.

Following the hearing several committee members released statements on the status of the UI backlog;

Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) released the following statement:

“I appreciate Secretary Caleb Frostman and the other experts testifying today about the problems in the unemployment system,” said Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine). “The information we received was at times sobering and completely unacceptable, but it’s important that the information be publicized.”

Besides the unemployment claim backlog lasting for another 3-5 months, other discoveries at the committee hearing included:

  • The Department of Workforce Development unapologetic refusal to expand call center hours beyond 7am to 5pm
  • An apparent complete lack of communication between Governor Evers’ office and the Department of Workforce Development;
  • The Department of Workforce Development doing virtually nothing to prepare for the inevitable rise in unemployment benefits prior to Governor Evers’ “Safer-at-Home” order, and reacting slowly to add staffing capabilities;
  • The Department of Workforce Development stating they didn’t begin programming to administer the supplemental 13-weeks of unemployment payment prior to a couple of days ago;

“I’ve been saying it for weeks. People need help now. Not weeks or months from now. They need it today, now.” said Wanggaard. “Not clearing the unemployment backlog until August or October is completely unacceptable. How is anyone supposed to last that long without any income?”

Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-) released the following statement:

“Lowering protections for Wisconsin workers was a theme of the Walker administration.

The Republican legislature’s effort to make it more difficult for laid-off workers to navigate the Unemployment system has really been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

When Scott Walker lost, the Republicans quickly convened a lame-duck session to limit Governor Evers’ power, including a prohibition preventing him from loosening Unemployment Insurance eligibility rules.

“The Republican plan is working exactly as expected. There are now more trip wires for workers to jump over in order to get Unemployment. As a result, it is taking some people longer to get their benefits.”

DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman issued the following statement on Wisconsin beginning to issue PUA payments:

Due to PUA being a brand-new federal program and in order to ensure accurate payments, DWD conducted additional testing prior to deployment. While understanding the potential impacts of a minor delay in deployment, -we felt it prudent and responsible to prevent any widespread issues that could cause even greater delays and hardship. We understand many claimants have been patiently waiting for PUA. Please know that DWD is committed to paying out eligible benefits as fast as possible.

It is important to note that PUA is not like our normal UI process, so it takes much longer to process an application. Most claimants have probably heard all about our antiquated, inflexible base benefits system, but it is important to explain how it affects our payment of PUA: When you apply and enter all of your information in the online portal, our staff has to take the information you enter and then manually enter it into our benefits system. Then we can begin processing your application, which involves a DWD staffer manually assessing your PUA eligibility, reviewing your 2019 income, and creating your new PUA monetary and weekly benefit rate. Once your application is fully processed, your dashboard will be updated with “Your PUA application has been processed…” and present a link to file PUA weekly claims.

We have received over 80,000 PUA applications since April 21. Now that our PUA platform is deployed, we have staff dedicated to processing these determinations and will continue to onboard more over the coming weeks. It will take some time, but please know we are working to process your application and send out eligible benefits as quickly as possible.

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:

Cumulative Numbers:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 26, 2020


As of May 26th

Georgia COVID-19 Status – 5.26.20 1:00 p.m. ET

  • 43,730 confirmed cases as compared to 43,586 at 9:00 a.m. today
  • 7,547 hospitalized patients as compared to 7,511 at 9:00 a.m. today
  • 1,871 deaths as compared to 1,853 at 9:00 a.m. today
  • Over 514,000 tests have been administered.

New Jersey

As of May 25th

The Governor of the State of New Jersey has published an executive order, increasing the capacity limit on outdoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, with various conditions. 

New York

As of May 25th

The Governor of the State of New York has published an executive order which modifies an earlier order, and now permits any non-essential gathering of ten or fewer individuals, for any lawful purpose or reason, provided that social distancing protocols and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health are adhered to.

North Carolina

As of May 26th

  • Laboratory confirmed Coronavirus cases: 23,964
  • Coronavirus deaths: 754
  • Currently hospitalized: 627
  • Completed tests: 344,690
  • Number recovered: 14,954
  • NC Counties affected: 100/100
  • Updated COVID-19 Dashboard (NC DHHS)

North Carolina has 23,964 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state reported Monday, representing a day-over-day increase of 742. The number of patients reported hospitalized with COVID-19 reached a new high with 627 people receiving in-patient care. State health officials reported Monday completing 8,034 more coronavirus tests, bringing the total of completed tests to 344,690.  About 7 percent of all tests are positive. DHHS said the most recent day of testing saw 8 percent of tests come back positive.  A total of 14,954 people are presumed to have recovered as of Monday – up from 11,637 on May 18.

Memorial Day Draws Crowds to Beaches, Heats Up Debate About Social Distancing  (WRAL) After North Carolinians being cooped up with stay-at-home orders for months, Phase 2 of reopening lined up closely with Memorial Day weekend–a time when people traditionally travel and congregate at crowded pools and beaches. Photos of crowded beaches and lakes heated up debates on whether or not visiting the beach was safe during this time.

NC DHHS Recommends Testing All Long-Term Care Facilities for COVID-19, But Questions Remain  (NC Health News) Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, announced that North Carolina is heading in the direction of universal testing of North Carolina nursing home residents and staff. State health officials have issued guidance, or at least a recommendation, to follow the direction set out last week by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The practice is up and running in the states of Washington, West Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina.

Election in a Pandemic: Bipartisan Election Bill Promised as Others Fight Over Ballot Rules  (WRAL) House leaders are close to filing a bill, with bipartisan support, changing state election rules because of the pandemic. The measure has most of what the State Board of Elections asked for two months ago when it rolled out a laundry list of requests. There are key exceptions though: The bill won’t make Election Day a holiday, and it won’t cover postage costs on absentee ballots, both state board requests.

NC Solar Industry Weathering the Pandemic Better Than Most States  (Energy News Network) The solar industry is weathering the pandemic better in North Carolina than in most states, data released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association show. The Tar Heel State will see 19% fewer solar workers than expected in June, according to the nonprofit trade group — hardly rosy projections but better than national predicted losses of 38%. A handful of states like New Jersey and New York will see cuts of more than 60%.

Judge Says NC Schools Need More Money. Sen. Berger Says COVID-19 May Limit That.  (Raleigh News & Observer) The coronavirus pandemic could become the latest obstacle to North Carolina’s efforts to provide every student with their state constitutional right to a sound basic education. In January, Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a court order in the long-running Leandro school funding case ordering state leaders to “work expeditiously and without delay to take all necessary actions” to improve the state’s education system. But Senate leader Phil Berger warned at a news conference this week that the state expects to face a revenue shortfall of billions of dollars caused by the coronavirus shutdown.

NC Lawmakers Are Requiring Remote Learning Plans. Schools Warn There Are Limits. (Charlotte Observer) North Carolina public schools are warning that problems such as spotty broadband access will limit their ability to provide students with quality remote instruction next school year. The State Board of Education approved a new policy Thursday on the remote learning plans that the General Assembly is requiring schools to develop for the 2020-21 school year. But the plans will also include a section, requested by the districts, that will “describe the limitations that exist for implementation of quality remote learning based on each local context.”

Other News 

NCDOT Orders Unpaid Leave for All 9,300 Employees  (WRAL) Thousands of North Carolina Department of Transportation workers are bracing for furloughs as the department works to recover from a rapid loss of revenue. According to NCDOT leaders, less travel on North Carolina roads and stay-at-home orders have translated to a big cut in gas tax collections and fees from car sales, adding up to $300 million in projected revenue losses through June.

“Citizens Are Getting Poisoned”, NC Legislator Says of Chemicals  (Carolina Public Press) N.C. Rep. Pricey Harrison and about three dozen co-sponsors have introduced a series of bills intended to demonstrate the range of steps the state could take in regulating a group of chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Harrison acknowledged that none are likely to pass in their current form, but she was disappointed that after years of work, the legislature has been unable to move on further PFAS regulation.


As of May 23rd

The Governor of the State of Texas has issued an Executive Order terminating air travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Executive order immediately terminates all restrictions contained in the Governor’s previous Executive Order (GA-20) that mandated temporary quarantines for air travelers arriving from the following areas of the United States: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; or Miami, Florida.


As of May 25th

The Governor of the State of Washington has published a proclamation that extends Proclamation 20-49 and executive order 49.1, regarding Garnishments and Accrual of Interest, until 27 March, 2020 or the termination of the state of Emergency, whichever occurs first.


As of May 26th

Updated numbers released over the Holiday weekend:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers over the Holiday weekend:

  • 388 Current Hospital Admissions (121 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions dropped by 28 over the weekend (-28) to 388 on Monday, down from 416 reported on Friday.
    • The total number of ICU patients dropped by 13 over the weekend (-13) to 121 patients on Monday, down from 134 patients reported on Friday.
  • Cumulatively there have been 15,584 positive tests and 193,379 negative tests in Wisconsin:
    • There were 481 positive test results reported on Saturday on 7,107 tests (6.8% positive rate).
    • There were 400 positive test results reported on Sunday on 7,277 tests (5.5% positive rate).
    • There were 307 positive test results reported on Monday on 7,480 tests (4.1% positive rate).
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 514 in Wisconsin, +18 over the Holiday weekend:
    • There were 11 deaths reported on Saturday
    • There were 3 deaths reported on Sunday
    • There were 4 deaths reported on Monday
  • 9,207 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered (59%), 5,862 cases are still considered active (3%) and 514 patients have died (3%). (last updated by DHS on 5/25)


Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data;

Badger Bounce Back Gating Criteria Update (3 of 6 Green)

On Friday, 4 of 6 indicators of the Badger Bounce Back gating criteria were Red.  On Monday, two of those indicators turned Green;

  • Daily number of emergency department visits with suspected COVID-19 related concerns (last 14 days)
  • Percent of people tested for COVID-19 who had positive results, by day (last 14 days)

And one previously Green indicator is now listed as Red;

  • Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.

The remaining two Red indicators are;

  • Daily number of emergency department visits with influenza related concerns (last 14 days)
  • Downward trend of COVID-19 cases among health care workers calculated weekly

DHS explanation of the status;

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:

Cumulative Numbers: