COVID-19 Resources

Welcome to FOCUS’ COVID-19 Resources Page. If you have any suggestions of other items to be included, please email them to robyn@leoninefocus.com. Updated July 1, 2020, 4:40 p.m. EST.

We recently added a new tracking category related to COVID-19 liability protection and reform for businesses. If you are interested in adding this category to your database, please contact your analyst.


FOCUS is excited to announce the launch of a new service — Industry Impact Watch – to provide concise and comprehensive coverage of state policy actions relating to COVID-19 and your specific industry. Learn more and request a sample report through this page on our website.

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Business Tax Incentives

Extensions of tax filing deadlines of all stripes has waned on the state level and there is little enthusiasm to renew such efforts, despite the possibility of further extended deadlines on the federal level. Lawmakers are still waiting to see what the ultimate impacts to their respective budgets will be. In light of the entire nation having to contemplate tightening its fiscal belt for the foreseeable future, any existing business tax exemptions, rebates or similar incentives will almost certainly be scrutinized and pushed to the front of the line for the chopping block; new business tax incentives will likely find it difficult to garner support.

Because of these developments, FOCUS is shifting the spotlight away from tax filing deadline extensions news and bringing to the fore headlines which provide a “temperature check” on state and local appetites for business tax incentives. This will be distributed on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week and will include three parts: A map of states that have either enacted legislation or adopted regulations related to tax incentives in the past week; a collection of recent tax-incentive and/or state budget related headlines; and finally, summaries of a couple of recently enacted or adopted items. 

Contact alexis@leoninefocus.com to subscribe to our separate Business Tax Incentives newsletter. 

Business Tax Incentive Headlines

Georgia:

  • Antelope Valley Press: Makers of personal protective equipment in Georgia will get a $1,250-a-job tax break for the next five years, with lawmakers saying they want to aid the businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House voted 110-58 to agree to changes in House Bill 846 on Friday, sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. The Republican Kemp released a statement Thursday supporting the bill.
  • The Hour: Georgia lawmakers came closer Thursday to tighter oversight of tax breaks for television and film production, even as they proposed other new incentives for businesses. The moves illustrate the continuing push-pull over using Georgia’s tax code to lure businesses to the state. Lawmakers have been considering a plan for a comprehensive study of business tax breaks after Gov. Brian Kemp vetoed a similar study last year. Yet with only hours remaining in the 2020 legislative session, efforts to seek such an overview were in doubt.

 

Louisiana:

  • New Orleans City Business: Louisiana’s Revenue Estimating Conference on Thursday officially freed up $37 million that lawmakers plan to use to pay for business tax breaks, a move made possible by the end of a fight between the governor and the treasurer.
  • The Advocate: Tax breaks for manufacturers in Louisiana were scrutinized more closely by some members of a state board this week, with a split vote approving $1.2 billion of property tax relief over 10 years across five companies in exchange for $7.6 billion of investment in the state. 

 

Maryland: The Baltimore Sun: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proposed $1.45 billion in budget cuts across state government Friday, including eliminating employee raises, cutting vacant positions and slashing funding for programs ranging from school security to prosecuting violent crime in Baltimore. Hogan proposed the changes in advance of a meeting Wednesday of the state Board of Public Works, which has the authority to cut the budget. A total of $672 million of the cuts are scheduled for a vote at the meeting, with action on the remaining proposals possible in the future.

 

Mississippi: The Vicksburg Post: The Warren County Board of Supervisors may be cautious about tax exemption and abatements, but Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen has no reservations about granting them in the city. “We’re going to approve all abatements (tax breaks),” Flaggs said Thursday. “We believe it’s an incentive.”

 

Missouri: KCTV: On Thursday, the KC City Council rejected a tax break that the superintendent of KCPS had criticized as “systemic racism.” The council turned down a request from BlueScope Construction for nearly $8.5 million in incentives to keep its headquarters in the West Bottoms. 

 

New Mexico: NM Political Report: Just as the New Mexico Legislature passes a new budget that will cut 0.6 percent out of the school budget for the next fiscal year, a newly released report shows that New Mexico is, again, at the bottom for child wellbeing. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign the solvency budget, though she can veto by line-item.

 

Oregon: KATU: Democratic Gov. Kate Brown stated that the next special session, likely to be held later this summer, will focus on tightening the budget. However, she stated that public K-12 schools will be spared from cuts. 

 

Texas: Statesman: The prospect of offering California-based electric vehicle maker Tesla tens of millions of dollars in local tax breaks to build a $1 billion factory in Travis County is either a shrewd investment that will be a game changer for the region’s economy or a misguided giveaway to a rich corporation run by a billionaire. Those were the dueling narratives that emerged during two public hearings, both held remotely — one by the Travis County Commissioners Court last Tuesday, and the other by the Del Valle school board Thursday evening.

 

Utah: KUER: Big changes could be coming to one of Utah’s tax incentive programs that encourages businesses to come to the state, as all four Republican candidates for governor support reforming it. 

 

Recently Enacted or Adopted Items 

 

Georgia SR 470, a resolution creating the Senate Study Committee on Music Workforce Development, was adopted on June 25. The committee would be tasked, in part, with re-examining the Georgia Music Investment Act and ways to improve and expand the current law to be more competitive globally. 

Louisiana SCR 4x passed the House on June 22 and was subsequently signed by the leaders of the legislative chambers. The concurrent resolution requests the study of the feasibility of establishing a tax credit program as a funding mechanism for public-private partnership investment in Louisiana infrastructure projects.

News from earlier this week:

  • Iowa: Times-Republican: Property tax, motor vehicle deadline extended.
  • Louisiana: CPA Practice Advisor: Louisiana Gives Dept of Revenue Power to Provide Tax Relief.
  • Pennsylvania: Daily Item: School board eliminates penalty period for 2020 property taxes.

STATE ECONOMY REOPENING GUIDELINES

The State Economy Reopening Guidelines Chart details the guidelines each state has provided for reopening their respective economies. Some states have created formal plans, complete with specific dates or benchmarks and some states have joined regional coalitions to coordinate the reopening of their economies with their nearest neighbors. Several states have not provided formal guidance but may have issued proclamations or updated states of emergency which may give timelines as to when specified businesses and/or activities may resume.

States with recently updated information include: Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Oregon (June 24); Delaware, Iowa, Kansas and Puerto Rico (June 29); and Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Texas and Utah (June 30).

Shelter in Place & Essential Business Designations

FOCUS’ Shelter in Place and Essential Business Designations Chart is your go-to resource for a state-by-state response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It details which states have issued orders to close “nonessential” businesses, and those that have issued official Shelter in Place Orders that prohibit residents from leaving their home.

It also includes executive orders, proclamations and press releases related to other actions states’ are taking during the pandemic.

Stay at Home Orders & Business Reopening Updates

As of July 1, California and Oregon have active shelter in place orders and Puerto Rico is currently under curfew.

Puerto Rico’s curfew was extended from June 30 to July 22.

The following orders are scheduled to expire on the dates provided: California and Oregon (TBD).

Arizona: WAMU: Arizona Governor Rolls Back State Reopening.

California: ABC 7: Gov. Newsom orders indoor restaurants, wineries, movie theaters to close in most of CA.

Maine: News Center Maine: Maine begins third phase of reopening plan amid COVID-19.

Texas: ABC 13: Harris County disaster declaration, mask order extended.

Virginia: WDBJ7: Phase Three of business reopening in Virginia underway.

 

News from earlier this week:

  • Alabama: Shelby County Reporter: Gov. Ivey extends safer-at-home order as case count increases.
  • Arizona: AZCentral.com: Arizona Gov. Ducey orders bars, gyms to close at 8 pm.
  • California: CapRadio: Gov. Newsom Tells Imperial County To Reinstate Stay-At-Home Order; Supervisors Decline.
  • Delaware: Dover Post: Governor delays phase three of reopening.
  • Massachusetts: MassLive: Massachusetts reopening plan phase 3 could being as early as next week; here’s what would open.
  • New York: NBC New York: Cuomo Says He May Slow NYC Reopening in Phase III, Mayor Pulls Brakes on Indoor Dining.
  • Texas: The Texas Tribune: Texas city and county leaders ask Gov. Greg Abbott for authority to implement local stay-at-home orders.
  • Washington: King5: Washington state pauses counties moving to Phase 4 of reopening.

Stay-at-Home Order Status as of 7/1:

Upcoming Stay-at-Home Order Expirations:

Expiration of Shelter in Place Orders

The date listed is the date the order expires, which is not necessarily the date on which the state/businesses will reopen.
(Last updated 7/1 at 3:55pm EST)

 

July 22 Puerto Rico (curfew)
Indefinite   California and Oregon
No order/ Order expired   Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming

50-State Budget Overview

FOCUS’ 50-State Budget Overview tracks states that have announced budget freezes as part of their response to the coronavirus.

We recently updated information on: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.

Louisiana: The Franklin Sun: Lawmakers agree on $34B state budget.

Maryland: The Baltimore Sun: Hogan defers some cuts to state budget, but board approves $413 million in reductions due to coronavirus economic crisis.

Missouri: KSHB: Missouri faces ‘reality’ of COVID-19’s impact on state budget.

New Mexico: Santa Fe New Mexican: Governor signs revised budget, vetoes items.

 

News from earlier this week:

  • California: San Francisco Chronicle: Newsom signs California’s $202.1 billion state budget.
  • Florida: Tallahassee Democrat: Florida Gov. DeSantis slashes $1 billion in spending from state budget due to coronavirus.
  • Georgia: Henry Herald: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signs state budget scaled back by COVID-19; AlbanyHerald.com: Georgia State House sends pared-down budget to governor.
  • Kansas: KSHB: Kansas Gov. in dispute with Republicans over budget.
  • Maryland: Baltimore Sun: Franchot to oppose some of Hogan’s $672 million in proposed budget cuts; Maryland’s U.S. senators call cuts ‘premature.’
  • New Jersey: NJ Spotlight: NJ State Budget 2020: Key Points to Watch in $7.7 Billion Bill.
  • Washington: The Seattle Times: Washington reckons with a budget shortfall that evokes painful memories of the Great Recession.

COVID-19 State Session Updates

FOCUS’ COVID-19 State Session Updates Chart lists which states are in session or have suspended operations, and whether hearings, crossover deadlines and other key processes are impacted.

Who's In Session

Session Info

California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are in regular session. The District of Columbia Council, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Congress are also in regular session.

The following legislatures are postponing their 2020 legislative sessions due to COVID-19 until the dates provided: Nebraska (July 20), Michigan House (July 21), Michigan Senate (July 22), Vermont (August 25) and Ohio, Rhode Island and Wisconsin (TBD).

New York is in recess subject to the call of the chair.

Oregon adjourned their special session on June 26.

Louisiana adjourned their special session on June 30, reports KALB.

Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak has approved a request to delay the special session originally planned for the end of June. Instead, the special session will begin during early July, reports the Las Vegas Sun. The special session will focus on the state’s budget shortfall as a result of COVID-19.

South Carolina is expected to meet for a two-week special session starting September 15, reports The News & Observer.

The following states adjourned their regular session on the dates provided: Georgia (June 26) and Delaware (July 1).

North Carolina is scheduled to adjourn on July 11 and reconvene on September 2 to discuss COVID-19 related spending of federal and state funds and appointments.

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has until July 14 to act on legislation or it will be pocket vetoed. Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson has until July 14 to act on legislation or it becomes law without signature. Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has until July 15 to act on legislation or it becomes law without signature. Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has until August 5 to act on legislation or it becomes law without signature. Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has until August 7 to act on legislation or it becomes law without signature. Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy must act on legislation within 20 days of presentment, not including Sundays or it becomes law without signature. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has 20 days from presentment to act on legislation or it becomes law without signature. Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont must act on legislation within 15 days of presentment or it becomes law without signature. Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney has 30 days after the final adjournment, which typically occurs immediately prior to the beginning of the next session, to act or it is pocket vetoed. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has 15 days from presentment to act on legislation or it becomes law without signature. Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has 10 days from presentment to act on legislation or it becomes law without signature. Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has 10 days from presentment, Sundays excepted, to act or legislation becomes law without signature. Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has 20 days from presentment to sign or veto legislation or it will become law without signature. Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills must act on legislation presented within 10 days of adjournment or it becomes law unless returned within three days after the next meeting of the same legislature. North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has 10 days from presentment to sign or veto legislation or it will become law without signature. South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has until two days after the next meeting of the legislature to act on legislation or it becomes law. Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee has 10 days starting the day after presentment, Sundays excepted, to sign or veto legislation or it becomes law without signature.

The following states are currently holding 2020 interim committee hearings: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri House and Senate, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York Assembly and Senate, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina House and Senate, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Kentucky and Utah are currently posting 2020 bill drafts, prefiles and interim studies.

Special Elections

The following seats will be filled by special elections on the dates provided: Oklahoma Senate District 28 (June 30), New Jersey House and Senate District 25 (July 7), Louisiana House District 54 (July 11), Texas Senate District 14 (July 14) and Michigan House District 4 and Washington Senate District 38 (August 4).

A runoff election for Georgia Senate District 4 will be held on August 11 after Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro, received 11,792 votes to Scott Bohlke’s, R-Brooklet, 11,322 votes, reports the Statesboro Herald.

Police Reform Headlines

California: The Mercury News: Police reform: California bill would strip convicted officers of their badges.

Connecticut: The CT Mirror: Strangers come together on the internet to tackle Connecticut police reform.

Ohio: Dayton 24/7 Now: City of Dayton tackles police reform in new plan.

Pennsylvania: ABC 6: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf expected to sign police reform bills.

 

News from earlier this week:

  • Michigan: Click on Detroit: Michigan Gov. Whitmer proposes 4-pronged police reform plan: What it includes.
  • New Jersey: Burlington County Times: What could ‘defunding the police’ look like in New Jersey?
  • New York: Times Union: Siena poll: New Yorkers support police reform but oppose reduced funding.
  • Ohio: WDTN: Working groups tackling police reform announced.
  • Oregon: KATU2: Oregon lawmakers pass police reform in special session: ‘This is the tip of the iceberg.’
  • Vermont: Valley News: Vermont Legislature sends body cam mandate, ban on police chokeholds to governor.

Business Impact Headlines

California: ABC 30: Fresno businesses fear going out of business if California is shut down again.

Massachusetts: Boston.com: Senate extends small business coronavirus relief program.

Texas: The Texas Tribune: Texas sales tax revenue declined 6.5% versus last June as state reopened for business.

Vermont: Vermont Biz: State to launch business recovery grant program July 6

 

News from earlier this week:

  • California: CBS Los Angeles: City Of Industry To Reimburse Businesses For Coronavirus Tests.
  • Connecticut: The Middletown Press: How CT outpaced the nation in small business coronavirus aid.
  • Florida: WJHL: Alcohol consumption suspended at Florida bars due to ‘widespread non-compliance’ amid coronavirus spike.
  • North Carolina: Charlotte Observer: Charlotte NC restaurants, businesses lost during COVID-19.
  • Ohio: Dayton Business Journal: Dayton-area manufacturers bounce back from pandemic.
  • Oregon: Oregon Live: Les Schwab Tire suspends plans to sell company, citing coronavirus.
  • Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: ‘Clear as mud’: How Pa.’s chaotic coronavirus waiver program hurt small businesses.

 

Utility Disconnect Executive Orders

FOCUS’ Utility Disconnect Executive Orders page lists the states that have executive orders that restrict or prohibit utilities – such as voice service, cable television, broadband service or other telecommunication service providers — from disconnecting clients for non-payment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Updates were made this past week in Indiana.

COVID-19-related Relaxed Alcohol Laws

FOCUS’ Relaxed Alcohol Laws table details which states have listed alcohol-related businesses as essential/non-essential, alcohol-specific orders, laws and related changes and other COVID-19-related policy information impacting the beer, wine and alcohol industry.

Updates were made this past week in: Connecticut, DC, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Cannabis-Related Essential Service Designations & Pickup/Delivery Allowances

FOCUS’ COVID-19 Cannabis-related Executive Orders Chart lists the states that have Executive Orders listing cannabis businesses and services as essential and easing pick-up or delivery service rules.

Updates were made this week in New Jersey.

COVID-19 Remote Notarization Orders

FOCUS’ COVID-19 Remote Notarization Orders highlights Executive Orders and other actions loosening restrictions on remote and electronic notarial actions, removing requirements that notarizations be in-person and other actions impacting notaries public.

Updates in the past week include: Connecticut (June 23), New Mexico (June 23), Michigan (June 25), Iowa (June 26), Illinois (June 29), Colorado (June 30), Tennessee (June 30) and Wyoming (June 30).

Educational Response Headlines

Colorado: The Denver Post: Colorado schools reopening for 2020-21 academic year during coronavirus.

Florida: WFLA: DeSantis quietly ends virtual learning program amid coronavirus surge.

North Carolina: 13WLOS: What can parents expect when schools starts again? No plan announced yet.

Texas: The Texas Tribune: Texas says more than 10% of students became disengaged during coronavirus.

 

News from earlier this week:

  • Alabama: Montgomery Advertiser: AL school reopening plan: State superintendent announces plans for fall 2020.
  • Hawaii: Honolulu CIvil Beat: State Teachers Union, DOE Agree To Reopening Terms.
  • Iowa: WHO Radio News: Iowa Dept of Education Backpedaling From Its School Reopening Guidelines; The Lewiston Tribune: Idaho State Board of Education discusses future of remote ed.
  • Minnesota: Star Tribune: Minnesota schools face uncertainty amid a pandemic-related budget crunch.
  • New Jersey: NorthJersey.com: Guidelines for reopening NJ schools: What parents should know for the fall; NJ.com: 10 big questions educators are asking about reopening N.J. schools.
  • Utah: Deseret News: Reopening schools: Governor approves Utah State Board of Education plan.
  • West Virginia: WCHS: West Virginia education officials create school reopening surveys.

COVID-19 Webinars

WEBINAR: Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 11:30-12;30 PM ET: Webinar: Balancing Communications Priorities During and After Covid-19, Public Affairs Council 

WEBINAR: Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 2-3:00 PM ET: Webinar: Rebuilding Trust After a Crisis, Public Affairs Council

State & Local Resources

Council of State GovernmentsCOVID-19 Resources for State Leaders

National Association of Counties: County Declarations and Policies in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic (interactive map)

National Conference of State Legislatures:  Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for States

Legislative & Regulatory Tracking

FOCUS offers free tracking of COVID-19-related legislation and regulation for all clients.

Current categories include:

  • COVID-19 Response (General)
  • Contact Tracing
  • E-closings
  • Employee Health Screening and Privacy – General
  • Employee Health Screening and Privacy – Rebuttable Presumption
  • Essential Business Designations & Shelter in Place
  • Eviction Moratoriums
  • Government Assistance to Individuals
  • Government Assistance to Businesses
  • Health Insurance/Medicaid
  • Insurance Misc.
  • Liability Reform
  • Paid Leave
  • Price Gouging
  • Remote Education
  • Remote Meeting & Voting in Legislatures
  • Remote Notarization
  • School Requirement Waivers
  • Tax Deadline Extensions
  • Utility Disconnect

Reach out to your lead analyst to add any of these to your database.

Additional FOCUS Tools & Offerings

– Free tracking of coronavirus-related legislation and regulations for all clients.

– Free, unlimited trainings on the FOCUS database for all clients.

– Free access to our global lobbyist network, The Advocacy Group (TAG).

– Research, White Papers and Resource-Gathering.

Learn more about what we do

To our clients: FOCUS is currently well-equipped to continue providing you with the same high level of service you are used to. Our goal during these challenging times is to continue to be there for you and serve as an extension of your staff. We will continue to manage your association or issues and provide you with information about legislative and regulatory developments that remain essential to your job. If there are special projects, research or other services that could be helpful to you during this time, please reach out to us and ask. If we are able to help you, we will!

Stay safe and be well.

~ Leif Johnson and the FOCUS Team