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BPAA State Policy Update - August 21, 2020

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COVID-19 Updates and Tracking

 

  • WASHINGTON: Museums, league bowling returns in Phase 2 as Washington state updates coronavirus guidelines: Some league bowling activities can return to Washington state counties in Phases 2 and 3 after Gov. Jay Inslee announced new coronavirus guidelines for activities. Bowling alley owners had worried about going out of business after the state officials revised coronavirus guidelines earlier this year to strike down bowling in Phases 2 and 3. Bowling alley owners and enthusiasts organized a statewide protest last month, urging state officials to spare them from complete closure. The new guidelines issued Thursday allow only league bowling play and practice for league play. Lanes will be limited to two bowlers, and people must maintain six feet of distance between each other. Equipment cannot be shared and masks will also be required. No spectators would be allowed according to the guidelines. Read more here at King5.
    • Only two bowlers per lane.
    • Bowling is restricted to league play or practice for league play.
    • Spectators are not allowed.
    • Bowlers must maintain the safe physical distance of six feet apart.
    • Lanes must be sanitized for reuse.
    • Shoes and balls must be disinfected after every use.
    • Masks are required, even while bowling.
    • Read the governor's full guidance for bowling.

 

  • CALIFORNIA: Newsom nears pivotal decision: Should California try to reopen again? California Gov. Gavin Newsom says California is "turning a corner" on the pandemic weeks after locking down various sectors in a desperate bid to thwart a summer surge. But that puts the Democratic leader at a crossroads. Should California reopen gyms, churches and malls again? Newsom will face his toughest test as soon as Tuesday when San Diego County is expected to get off the state's list of coronavirus trouble spots. Not only would the county of 3.3 million become the most populous to shed its watch list status, it features a Republican big city mayor who has been driving hard to reopen businesses in a more politically moderate region — and who may be the GOP's best hope to challenge Newsom in two years.
    • “We’re off the watch list, but there’s not a process that currently exists for businesses to get back to work,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer told POLITICO in an interview Monday. “We’ve asked before and we’ll ask once again, where does our county go next?” Business groups and local leaders say they are frustrated by what they call a “black box” of communication from the Newsom administration about what happens when their counties come off the state watch list. For now, the state's only guiding principle is that current watch list closures will remain in place until the state public health officer lifts them. Read more at Politico.

 

  • Oregon schools won’t reopen until state sees substantial coronavirus decline, governor says: Oregon students, from kindergarteners to high school seniors, will not see the inside of a classroom or receive in-person instruction unless the state can substantially curb the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday morning.
    • The state has essentially flattened the rate of infection and test positivity, but Brown said Oregon has yet to begin trending downward — as of the latest Oregon Health Authority update, 5.4% of tests are coming back positive and the state is seeing an infection rate of 50 per 100,000 residents. “Unfortunately, it’s still not enough. Our infection rate is still too high to get our kids safely back into the classrooms in most of our schools this fall,” Brown said. In order for schools to reopen statewide, test positivity must be at 5% or lower and 10 cases per 100,000 residents or lower, state officials say. The governor, flanked by Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, used those metrics as a measuring stick to illustrate Oregon’s progress in curbing the spread of COVID-19. “We have stabilized at roughly 300 cases per day in Oregon. We need to get down to 60 cases per day,” Brown said.  Read more at Oregon Live.

 

  • It’s Safe, Smart To Reopen Florida Schools, State Witnesses Say The message delivered Thursday in defense of Florida’s school reopening order differed little from the words Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeated for weeks: Children need face-to-face learning, and the risks of COVID-19 are not great enough to take away that opportunity. A steady stream of parents, teachers, health experts and government officials hammered home that point as witnesses under the guided questioning of lawyers for the state. Defending against a lawsuit filed by Florida’s teachers union, they aimed to convince Leon County Judge Charles Dodson not to halt the order requiring schools to provide in-person classes by the end of August. Read more at Tampa Bay Times

 

  • Indoor Dining To Resume In Philly Philadelphia restaurants may resume indoor dining on Sept. 8 — with several restrictions, city officials announced Thursday. Restaurants will only be able to serve 25% of their seating capacity. Tables must be at least six feet apart and have four or fewer seats. The hope is to discourage people from eating with others who aren’t part of the same households, said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. Customers don’t have to wear masks while they’re dining, but must have them on when they enter and leave a restaurant. Servers must wear masks and face shields at all times. Read more here.

 

Political News

  • Trump hits Biden over guns, schools and police at campaign stop in Pennsylvania: President Donald Trump delivered a wide-ranging political indictment of Joe Biden on Thursday in a speech near his Democratic challenger's Pennsylvania birthplace, just hours before Biden accepts his party's nomination for president. Trump argued Biden would be a disaster for Americans on taxes, gun rights, aid to migrants, abortion, energy production, school choice and police protection. "If you want a vision of your life under a Biden presidency, imagine the smoldering ruins of Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland and the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago – and imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America," Trump said. The president delivered his remarks at a building products company in Old Forge, Pa., about a 10 miles from Scranton, where Biden was born and grew up. Read more here at Politico.

 

  • Trump Campaign Sues New Jersey Over Mail-In Voting Plans President Donald Trump's reelection campaign sued New Jersey Tuesday over the state's decision to use a hybrid voting model for November's election in which all residents will be mailed a ballot, leaving it up to them to decide if they would like to vote by mail or in person. Donald J. Trump for President, the Republican National Committee and the New Jersey Republican State Committee brought the lawsuit asking the court to overturn Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order instituting the new rules that aim to give voters the option of avoiding voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic. Read More at CNN

 

Tax News

  • Nebraska Cuts Property Taxes, Extends Business Tax Credits Nebraska farmers and businesses scored big under omnibus tax legislation that controls escalating property taxes, restructures the state’s economic development tax credit, and grants a new chemical production tax credit.
    • Lawmakers enacted L.B. 1107, which offers a refundable income tax credit to farmers and homeowners for property taxes paid to school districts. The credit is capped at $125 million for fiscal year 2021, rising to $375 million in FY 2025 and further in subsequent years. A fiscal analysis projects the credit could cost Nebraska up to $450 million annually by 2030.
    • The new law also creates the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, which replaces the state’s expiring tax incentive program for businesses relocating or expanding. The cost is capped at $25 million in its first two years, $100 million in years three and four, $150 million in year five, and then 3% of net state tax receipts in subsequent years.
    • L.B. 1107 creates a refundable tax credit for production of renewable chemicals. Businesses could claim up to $3 million in credits for 2022 and 2023, ramping up to $6 million in 2024 and years after.
    • Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed L.B. 1107 Monday. The so-called “grand compromise” legislation had backing from the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce.
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