GovWin SLED Weekly Coronavirus Recon - February 26, 2021

Published: February 26, 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicRecon

GovWin's SLED Coronavirus Recon, produced by Deltek's SLED Market Research team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by state, local, and educational (SLED) entities and the contractors that support them.

General

?Funding & Economic Impact

  • Michigan Senate approves $1.9 billion for vaccine distribution, direct care worker payments, school aid
    • The Michigan Senate approved more than $1.9 billion in COVID-19 supplemental appropriations Thursday, opting to provide piecemeal funding to various sectors affected by the pandemic.
  • Tired of waiting for federal help, 5 states are passing their own COVID-19 aid
    • As President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan slowly inches toward passage, more and more states are starting to take matters into their own hands.
    • At least five states across the country have passed or are considering their own economic stimulus measures to address COVID-19 hardships, the Associated Press reported.
  • Maine tax revenues ahead of forecasts, despite pandemic’s impact
    • State tax revenues are exceeding downgraded COVID-19 pandemic projections for January by $89.5 million, said Administration and Financial Services Commissioner Kirsten Figueroa in a press release. For the first seven months of the fiscal year, revenues are up $154 million, or 6.6 percent higher than the same seven-month period last year.
  • Michigan Senate Approves $2 Billion in COVID-19 Relief Funding
    • The Michigan Senate approved nearly $2 billion in COVID-19 relief funding.
    • Senate Bill 114 includes funding to meet the goals of ensuring healthier families and communities, such as:
      • $110 million in additional support for vaccine distribution. $36.7 million is dedicated to improving the vaccine rollout. The rest of the funds will be held in reserve until vaccine doses are available and the governor’s plan is completed.
      • $150 million to increase pay for direct care workers on the front lines of fighting the virus in hospitals and nursing homes.
      • $185 million for COVID-19 testing, including $75 million to increase virus testing for students, teachers and staff in order to help in-person learning resume statewide as soon as possible. The funding also includes $25 million for nursing home testing.
      • $283 million in emergency rental assistance.
  • Rhode Island budget picture improving; deficit pegged at $329M without Biden bill
    • Rhode Island’s budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year is now estimated at $329 million, but that number doesn’t account for President Biden’s massive proposed relief bill, lawmakers were told.
  • How New Jersey Averted a Pandemic Financial Calamity
    • A $44.8 billion spending plan unveiled by Gov. Phil Murphy calls for no new taxes and fully funds the state pension program for the first time since 1996.
  • Not All COVID-19 Aid Is Spent. But Schools, Cities And States Say They Need More
    • While states and cities with more than 500,000 residents got direct assistance in the CARES Act passed last spring, most cities and towns had to wait for it to trickle down through their states and counties. The deadline to spend it isn't until the end of this year, so some are trying to make it last as they manage strapped budgets
  • (New Mexico) Draft state budget would boost salaries, school spending
    • The lead House budget committee on Monday unanimously endorsed the budget plan that increases general fund spending by $332 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
  • (Iowa) Gov. Kim Reynolds signs 2.4% K-12 funding increase, $21 million for computing contract into law
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law a 2.4% increase in per-pupil state aid for Iowa's K-12 schools.
    • The increase, which the Legislature passed last week, will add $179 to the state cost per pupil and increase the state's general fund appropriation to schools and area education agencies from $3.381 billion in the current fiscal year to approximately $3.418 billion next year. It is just below the 2.5% increase Reynolds requested in her budget proposal earlier this year.
    • Reynolds also signed into law $21 million in funding to help purchase a cloud-based accounting system for the state, fulfilling a request she made after federal authorities rejected her attempt to use federal coronavirus funding for the purchase.
  • Global government IT spending to grow 5% in 2021
    • Gartner has projected global government IT spending to grow by 5% to total $483 billion in 2021 due to continued public safety measures and vaccination programs.
  • Is There Wasteful Spending In The New $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill?
    • Over the weekend, the U.S. House posted a first draft version of the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” – a $1.9 trillion emergency aid package to help America recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Procurement

Higher Education

  • Kentucky colleges get $269 million for coronavirus help
    • School administrators say they are waiting on guidance from the government on how they can spend the money. Last year, the CARES Act delivered a total of over $156 million to Kentucky’s colleges and universities.
    • Schools could transfer the emergency financial aid to students to help pay for course materials, technology, housing, food, healthcare, and childcare costs.
  • (Texas) UT-Austin won't require SAT or ACT scores for 2022 applications due to COVID-19
    • The University of Texas at Austin is suspending the SAT and ACT test score requirement for fall 2022 applicants, citing continued limited access to testing opportunities for students due the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • (New Jersey) Murphy Announces $29.5 Million to Support College and University Students Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
    • Gov. Phil Murphy and Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges announced that $29.5 million in federal funding will be available to New Jersey’s institutions of higher education amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to support the goals of the State Plan for Higher Education through a competitive challenge grant and address student food insecurities across college campuses. 

K-12 Education

  • AT&T to distribute hotspots nationwide to expand student broadband access
    • School districts that serve vulnerable and disabled students in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and 24 other states will receive free Wi-Fi hotspots from AT&T and Connected Nation, a nonprofit that provides communities with broadband technology and support, the organizations announced Tuesday.
  • Massachusetts Schools Try Pool Testing for COVID-19
    • Schools in Massachusetts are using pooled testing to detect COVID-19 among students, despite skepticism about the method's accuracy and sensitivity. Proponents of the method say it's more cost-effective for schools with limited resources.
  • Governor's vaccine plan aims to reopen California classrooms | COVID-19 updates for Northern California
    • The governor announced that at least 10% of the state’s vaccine supply would go to education workers. That plan begins March 1. Gov. Newsom is continuing his push to reopen more schools for in-class instruction with a plan broadly outlining how the state will allocate vaccines to education workers.
  • Missouri ready to move to next COVID-19 vaccination phase; teachers will be eligible for vaccine
    • Gov. Mike Parson said Missouri is ready to move to Tier 3 of Phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, which is focused on vaccinating critical infrastructure, including teachers, childcare workers, government employees, food and agriculture workers.
  • Tennessee could get up to $2.6 billion more for K-12 education with third federal stimulus package for COVID
    • The additional funding, which is part Biden’s American Rescue proposal to deal with the pandemic, would add to the $1.5 billion the state already has received for education from the first two stimulus plans.
    • The total of about $4 billion in a single year would mark an unprecedented federal investment in Tennessee education. It would dwarf the $500 million in federal money received beginning in 2010 to overhaul the state’s education system over five years.
  • (Michigan) Whitmer plans to further ease coronavirus restrictions
    • In a new round of funding there would be $1.2 billion for K-12 education. The governor reported that 97 percent of Michigan's 537 traditional K-12 districts will offer some form of face-to-face learning by March 1 which is the date she had recommended that the option be available.
  • Michigan's request to skip K-12 standardized tests denied by Biden administration
    • Michigan's K-12 students won't get to skip standardized tests this spring as they did last year but there will be flexibility in how they take them. Schools can request waivers from some testing goals that apply during normal years.
    • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state legislators passed a law last year requiring districts to administer "locally chosen, locally administered benchmark assessments to provide parents and educators with the knowledge of where children are academically and to help target resources and supports as a result.” Michigan has asked the federal government to accept these local tests in place of the typical M-STEP tests. That request is remains pending.

Health Care

Social Services 

  • Wisconsin Assembly sends unemployment bill to Gov. Tony Evers
    • Lawmakers have approved a bill to get the ball rolling on updating Wisconsin's antiquated unemployment insurance system — but without the state funding Gov. Tony Evers initially sought.
    • Still, the Democratic governor previously signaled he would sign the legislation into law, even as he lamented the exclusion of $5.3 million for the renovation and modernization of a system that has come under renewed scrutiny with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic here last spring.
  • Delaware Will Issue Emergency SNAP and Cash Benefits for February to Eligible Households
    • The Delaware Division of Social Services will issue emergency benefits for February to eligible households as part of the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Justice/Public Safety

Transportation

Public Utilities

  • The energy transition after COVID-19
    • The effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the energy sector are substantial and diverse: a decline in energy demand, shifts in energy use, and the risk of energy poverty as a result of reduced income. Without adequate policy responses, the crisis is bound to lead to more energy insecurity for vulnerable households and businesses.

Community Development/Housing

  • (Wisconsin) Gov. Evers announces new emergency rental assistance program
    • Gov. Tony Evers announced that more than $322 million in funding will go towards the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program, administered by the Department of Administration (DOA) to provide financial assistance to families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.