Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | State lawmakers file articles of impeachment against Ohio governor … Bill would end solitary confinement in New York City … Colorado considers excluding certain counties from small business aid.
During a conference call with the nation’s governors on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said that distribution of the coronavirus vaccine could begin in two weeks. "We strongly believe the vaccine distribution process could begin as soon as the week of December 14," Pence said. “With this morning's news that Moderna is joining Pfizer in submitting an Emergency Use Authorization, we continue to be on pace.” The Food and Drug Administration plans to review the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine on December 10. If approved, Pfizer vaccines could go out on December 15 and Moderna vaccines could go out on December 22. In the first week after approval, Pfizer plans to deliver 6.4 million doses, enough to vaccinate about 3 million people with a two-shot regimen. The following week, the two companies are expected to produce doses for another 10 million people. By the end of December, there should be enough doses for 30 million people. (The first group of people who will get the vaccine are expected to be the country’s estimated 20 million frontline health care workers.) The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, asked people to prepare themselves to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them, noting that unless the “overwhelming majority” of Americans get vaccinated, the situation across the country will continue to worsen. "So, if you want to be part of the solution, get vaccinated and say 'I'm not going to be one of the people that is going to be a stepping stone for the virus to go to somebody else, I'm going to be a dead end to the virus,'" Fauci said. [CBS News]
IMPEACHMENT | Four Republican state lawmakers in Ohio filed articles of impeachment against Gov. Mike DeWine, also a Republican, this week. The lawmakers say DeWine violated state and federal laws with mandates requiring people to wear masks in public and forcing business closures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. State Rep. John Becker said that “rather than hearing the cries of Ohioans, Gov. DeWine continues to stifle those cries by finding more inventive ways to use masks to muffle the voices of the people.” DeWine responded by saying “there’s a small number of people out there making a lot of noise,” and he wished instead “they’d go spend some time talking to somebody who suffered through this.” [Washington Post]
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT | The New York City Council is considering a bill that would end the use of solitary confinement in the city’s Rikers Island jail. Councilmember Daniel Dromm introduced the legislation, saying “solitary confinement as we know it will come to an end.” Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Benny Boscio disapproves of the plan. “We have to have a mechanism in place to be able to segregate those inmates who are violent towards correction officers and towards nonviolent inmates,” he said. The bill under consideration would allow corrections officers to isolate incarcerated people for four hours at a time to de-escalate conflicts and would allow for the use of other types of restrictive housing, as long as people can leave their cells for at least 10 hours per day. Mayor Bill de Blasio has been a vocal supporter of ending solitary confinement, saying in June that he wants to end the practice “all together.” [Spectrum News]
COLORADO AID | In Colorado, state lawmakers gave preliminary approval to a plan that would provide direct aid to small business and art organizations, but would withhold money from counties that have refused to comply with statewide coronavirus mandates issued by the state health department. Some conservative local leaders have said they won’t enforce mandates like a ban on indoor dining. The legislation’s sponsor, state Sen. Faith Winter, said that “this money was directed toward those businesses that have been most impacted by the public health orders [and] If your county is refusing to (enforce) public health orders, the impacts are different.” [Colorado Sun]
HOSPITAL CAPACITY | California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that California hospital’s intensive care units could be overwhelmed by mid-December. “If these trends continue, California will need to take drastic action,” he said. This weekend, California became the first state to record over 100,000 cases in one week. [New York Times]
Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.