Western Governors’ News: Governors focus on fire mitigation, economic revival, education, infrastructure and more

The Western Governors' Association offers a periodic roundup of Western Governors' work in economic development, natural resources, education, health and safety, and a variety of other areas. Here are some of the issues that the Governors have been working on recently:

ALASKA Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the largely Inuit North Slope Borough to advance cooperation on common issues related to fish, wildlife, and impacts of resource development for the North Slope residents.

AMERICAN SAMOA Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow Hope House, the only provider of long-term care support services in the territory, to enroll as a Medicaid provider under the Medicaid program. 

ARIZONA Gov. Doug Ducey joined the state’s Department of Forestry and Fire Management and fire safety officials to urge Arizonans to prevent wildfires by practicing responsible outdoor recreation, ensuring campfires, matches or cigarettes are out cold before walking away, and limiting the combustible material and vegetation within 100 feet of one’s house.

CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin  Newsom issued an executive order to extend the state’s prohibition on price gouging for counties impacted by wildfires in 2020. State law prohibits price gouging (over 10% of the price before an emergency is declared) on housing, gas, food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, and other essential supplies.

COLORADO Gov. Jared Polis signed the Fund Safe Revitalization of Main Streets bill into law, providing $30 million for communities to improve roadways and community infrastructure, as well as support economic activity and public safety by expanding outdoor seating, adding new lighting, or making sidewalks more accessible.

GUAM Gov. Lou Guerrero helped secure a $4 million grant from the Department of Interior to design and construct improvements for the Guam Environmental Protection Agency building and address deferred maintenance in schools. 

HAWAII Gov. David Ige announced the release of more than $165 million to fund critical public infrastructure projects at public housing, education, transportation, and safe drinking water facilities. 

IDAHO Gov. Brad Little signed the fourth of his “Building Idaho’s Future” bills, directing $50 million to projects promoting clean, plentiful supplies of water. “How we manage – or mismanage – our water resources determines our success or failure as a state,” the Governor said. 

KANSAS Gov. Laura Kelly announced 14 broadband improvement projects totaling $5 million that will improve access to high-speed internet for homes and businesses in 18 communities statewide.

MONTANA Gov. Greg Gianforte announced funding for 14 forest management projects, ranging in size from 100 to 1,000 acres, that will reduce wildfire risks, improve forest health and wildlife habitat, and support local economies with jobs in the forest industry.

NORTH DAKOTA Gov. Doug Burgum is urging the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to abandon its plans for changing the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) criteria from 50,000 to 100,000 people. Doing so would cause cities like Bismarck and Grand Forks to lose access to federal funding and information. The Western Governors’ Association sent a letter to the OMB encouraging a similar stay.  

NEVADA Gov. Steve Sisolak continued a quarterly tradition of donating his salary to Nevada’s K-12 public schools. Since taking office in January 2019 his donations total more than $214,000.

NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation to clear the way for more prescribed fires as the state deals with worsening drought. Among other benefits, officials with the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department said that the bill will make it easier and more affordable for landowners to get insurance.

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS Gov. Ralph Torres celebrated the 45th anniversary of Covenant Day, the anniversary of the islands’ political union with the United States, and the subsequent creation of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island. 

OKLAHOMA Gov. Kevin Stitt helped secure FEMA disaster assistance for individuals and small businesses struggling to recuperate from the historic snowstorm last month. Assistance may include help with housing repairs or temporary housing, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property.

OREGON Gov. Kate Brown proclaimed March 11 as ShakeAlert Day in recognition of the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System going live in Oregon. Operated by the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, ShakeAlert can detect significant earthquakes so quickly that alerts can reach people before shaking even begins. 

SOUTH DAKOTA Gov. Kristi Noem signed legislation providing $75 million for rural broadband infrastructure in the continuing effort to complete the state’s goal of connecting the entire state to high-speed broadband internet. 

UTAH Gov. Spencer Cox visited The Road Home Midvale Family Resource Center, where he encouraged Utahns to give to the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund on their 2020 Utah state tax forms. Donations can also be made online

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee directed Serve Washington and the Washington State Department of Agriculture to renew its partnership with the Schultz Family Foundation and continue operating the Response Corps in support of several AmeriCorps Programs. Since last November members of the Response Corps have provided more than 23.8 million pounds of food to Washingtonians.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon continued work on the Wyoming Innovation Network (WIN), meeting with leaders from Sheridan College and the University of Wyoming. WIN aims to modernize and refocus the state’s higher education system by including entrepreneurial training, corporate partnerships, and additional collaboration in areas such as software engineering, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and tourism.

sign up for our newsletters