Western Governors’ News: Pay raises, economic recovery, education and environmental conservation among top priorities for Western Governors in recent months  

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 announced a successful land exchange through the Alaska Mental Health Trust (AMHT), which will allow AMHT to raise revenues for mental health services in the state by selling timber from the acquired lands.

America Samoa Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga worked with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs to secure more than $10 million of grant funding for capital improvement projects, including road work, telecommunications, and firefighting equipment. 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced $9.4 million in grants for 43 businesses and organizations across the state to relaunch or expand a wide variety of festivals, arts and culture, and community events statewide.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order activating up to nine members of the Colorado National Guard Defensive Cyber Operations Element to assist with election cybersecurity defense efforts during the 2021 state coordinated election. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a suite of bills totaling $123.9 billion to increase support for K-12 students, expand broadband access to help bridge the digital divide, and magnify educational opportunities for students to help boost academic achievement and attainment. 

Guam Gov. Leon Guerrero approved raises for all H-2B common construction workers, including carpenters, cement masons, metalworkers and all craft workers. “We are hopeful that wage increases within these occupations will entice our people to obtain the specialized trade skills to enter our robust and in-demand construction industry,” Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio, said. 

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced the release of over $600 million for capital improvement projects, including critical public infrastructure projects across the state. “As we continue to confront the challenges of COVID-19, we want to ensure that Hawaiʻi has the resources to fill critical needs, as well as support opportunities and conservation efforts,” Gov. Ige said.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little awarded $48.9 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for 102 projects across Idaho that support improved broadband infrastructure for more than 43,000 underserved households. 

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced the launch of CONNEX Kansas, a new program from Kansas Manufacturing Solutions and the Kansas Department of Commerce, designed to strengthen the Kansas manufacturing supply chain.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order to conserve at least 30 percent of all lands in New Mexico by 2030 and honor New Mexico’s traditional land uses while promoting biodiversity, encouraging recreation opportunities and protecting watersheds.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak committed $8 million to directly fund 10,000 individual educator requests for classroom resources. Each request will provide Nevada educators with up to $800 in funding for their projects. 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and the North Dakota Development Fund approved $3 million in initial developmental capital for Cerilon Inc. to develop a major gas-to-liquids complex in the state. “The Cerilon GTL complex has the potential to be one of the largest economic expansion projects in the history of North Dakota,” Commerce Commissioner James Leiman, said. 

Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres worked with the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to secure a $19.6 million grant, one of the largest economic development grant awards to a state or territory in the history of the EDA, to develop a new Economic Resiliency Center.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visited Southern Oregon to survey the damage from last year’s South Obenchain Fire and to talk with Sen. Jeff Merkley, U.S. Department of the Interior officials and fire experts about plans to expand forest treatments, increase wages for federal firefighters, and investing in disaster recovery efforts.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt invested $500,000 from a discretionary business recruitment account to help a fledgling manufacturing facility bolster production and increase employment opportunities for residents living in one of the state’s poorest counties.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order extending the timeframe that hay haulers may operate in the state as drought conditions continue to negatively impact feed availability for livestock across South Dakota. 

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a mutual aid agreement to ensure that the power industry has the right plans, processes, and contingencies in place to efficiently restore service in the event of outages and emergencies. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee reached an agreement with union employees to provide $412.2 million in pay raises. According to the Washington Federation of State Employees, “This General Government agreement will bring the largest pay increase and lump sum payment negotiated in several years.”

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed an executive order to allow motor carriers hauling hay in Wyoming to operate outside of regular operating hours and carry larger loads as the state deals with widespread drought conditions impacting livestock producers.

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