March 25, 2020

States Take Actions to Combat Unique Coronavirus Pandemic

While Congress neared agreement on a $2 trillion dollar "Phase III" COVID-19 economic stimulus deal Wednesday, March 25, state governors were asking Congress and the Trump Administration for a minimum of $150 billion in immediate direct aid to give them the flexibility they believe they need for measures to address the pandemic.

At least twelve states have enacted legislation to either appropriate funds or tap their states’ rainy day funds to respond to unique coronavirus outbreaks.

As of Tuesday, regular legislative sessions had been adjourned, suspended or postponed in the following 26 states and territories: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virgin Islands and Wisconsin.

CNN reported 17 states had enacted stay-at-home orders affecting more than half of the United States population as of Wednesday afternoon eastern time.

In addition to appropriations for general aid and public education, the states have passed or have under consideration COVID-19-related legislation that would authorize additional funding, reduce regulatory restrictions or set guidelines for worker’s compensation, paid sick leave, telemedicine, cost-sharing requirements, and emergency health services guidelines.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is tracking pending, enacted and adopted state legislation on its website. Additional free resources are available from GovPredict on states’ response to coronavirus outbreaks and StateSide, which outlines gubernatorial actions and executive agency actions.