LPA COVID-19 Public Affairs Update

The spread of COVID-19 is rapidly changing our way of life in California, including how we navigate the intersection of policy, politics and communications while safeguarding the health and safety of our communities. We are sharing this periodic public affairs update to help provide context and contribute to the accurate, timely distribution of information pertaining to our leaders’ responses to this pandemic.

April 3, 2020

What you need to know

  • Gov. Newsom announced a relief package for small businesses and their employees. The initiatives will allow small businesses to defer up to $50,000 in state tax payments for 12 months and provide another $50 million in loans for small businesses not eligible for state and federal stimulus funds. Two new websites were also created to help pair workers with open jobs and to help small businesses navigate relief during the crisis.
  • Democrats have postponed their National Convention until August. The event, initially planned for mid-July, will remain in Milwaukee the week of August 17. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for the following week in Charlotte.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 2, 2020

What you need to know

  • Newsom signaled that public school campuses will remain closed for the school year in a press conference yesterday. Newsom was joined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who had made a similar declaration in a letter to county superintendents. While falling short of a mandate, Newsom’s announcement all but ensures schools will not reopen before summer.
  • Split roll backers are expected to submit the necessary signatures today to qualify the measure for the November ballot. The group has reportedly collected 1.7 million signatures for the measure aimed at increasing property taxes on commercial properties. What was once panning out to be a stacked ballot in November may only see five initiatives qualify with supporters unable to gather signatures during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read more in our full update here.


April 1, 2020 

Issue Focus: Federal Stimulus Package

What you need to know

  • President Trump signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27. The CARES Act includes public health spending, immediate cash assistance for individual citizens, lending programs for businesses and relief for hard-hit industries.
  • California could see as much as $15 billion in the form of state and local aid. California businesses could receive up to $48 billion, according to the S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • House Democrats are working on a fourth stimulus package, which will focus on recovery. It would include more money for state and local governments, more worker protections and subsidized COVID-19 treatment.

Read our full newsletter on the federal stimulus package here


 

April 1, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Newsom launched a new campaign to protect older Californians during social isolation. The campaign coordinates with local 2-1-1 hotline systems to provide a lifeline for the state’s over-65 population who are “uniquely vulnerable” to COVID-19.
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond called for all California public school campuses to remain closed through the school year. In a letter to county superintendents, Thurmond recommended that schools focus on distance learning for the remainder of the year, but fell short of issuing a direct order for schools to remain closed.

Read more in our full update here.


 

March 31, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Newsom issued an executive order to create the California Health Corps. The order seeks to expand the health care workforce and recruit medical professionals to address the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Today, in his regularly scheduled noon press conference, Gov. Newsom will announce a new initiative to help older Californians stay connected. The press conference will be live-streamed on the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Seven Bay Area jurisdictions extended their shelter-in-place order to May 1. The initial order would have expired April 7. The order covers Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties and the city of Berkeley.

Read more in our full update here.


 

March 30, 2020

What you need to know:

  • President Trump extended the federal government’s social distancing guidelines through April 30. Last week, Trump had suggested that the guidelines could sunset by Easter Sunday, April 13, which health experts had warned against.
  • Newsom announced he will address the public through daily press conferences at noon this week. The formalized schedule will provide relief to media, public affairs professionals and many others who’ve at times struggled to keep up with Newsom’s irregular press conference schedule over the past weeks. All press conferences will be streamed live at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Newsom announced last Friday a two month moratorium on evictions in the state. With more than 1 million Californians filing for unemployment, the move will provide a safety valve for renters and help support a public safety strategy focused on keeping people in their homes.

Read more in our full update here


March 27, 2020

What you need to know:

 

  • More than 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment. The system is struggling to process the highest number of unemployment filings ever recorded in the state. Nationally, more than 3.3 million people filed unemployment claims, also the most ever recorded.
  • The House will vote today on the $2 trillion federal stimulus package, but state leaders say we need more. California will claim approximately $15.3 billion from the $150 billion state relief fund included in the package. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris have both publicly expressed that the stimulus funds won’t go far enough in the state.

Read more in our full update here


 

March 26, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Late last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package. The package will provide aid to businesses, workers and healthcare systems devastated by the COVID-19 crisis. The House is set to vote on the measure Friday and President Trump is expected to sign immediately. Full text of the bill is available here.
  • Gov. Newsom announced that several large banks had committed to granting a 90-day reprieve from mortgage payments for Californians. Bank of America was the notable outlier, only agreeing to a 30-day deferral at this time.

Read more in our full update here


 

March 25, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Newsom announced yesterday that he has shelved his initial budget plan and will pursue a “workload” budget. The stripped-down spending plan will work as a stopgap as the economy weathers the COVID-19 crisis and will allow California to meet its constitutional deadline for passing a budget.
  • President Trump announced a target date of lifting COVID-19 related restrictions by Easter, but public health officials and California disagree. Gov. Newsom warned California will likely keep restrictions in place for another eight to 12 weeks.

Read more in our full update here


 

March 24, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Newsom announced that California will need an additional 50,000 hospital beds to meet demand for the upcoming surge of COVID-19 patients. This figure is up from the 20,000 additional beds Newsom had called for last week, reflecting updated modeling.
  • Health insurance premiums could increase by 40 percent due to COVID-19 costs, according to Covered California. In a report to Congress, Covered California warns that unless the federal government steps in to provide funding, carriers will have to dramatically increase premiums for employers and individuals in 2021 to recover costs from 2020 while protecting their solvency.

Read more in our full update here


March 23, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Pres. Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration in California on Sunday. The declaration came immediately following a request from Gov. Newsom and shows signs of the federal and state governments working well together during the crisis.
  • The Legislature has continued its work from afar. Senate Democrats caucused via teleconference and several pieces of legislation were introduced related to COVID-19. Assembly Rules Committee Chair Ken Cooley has signaled that the Legislature could use dual-house conference committees when they return to expedite the legislative process.

Read more in our full update here


 

March 20, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Governor Newsom extended a shelter-in-place order to the all of California last night. The order provides continuity for Californians after counties throughout the state had issued several differing orders and directives. The statewide order is the strictest of its kind in the nation.
  • “Essential services” will continue during the indefinite lockdown. Much of the confusion stemming from separate orders by counties was caused by disagreement over which services would receive waivers to continue operation as essential services. A full list of essential service waivers can be found here.

Read more in our full update here


March 19, 2020

 What you need to know

  • Twelve counties throughout California are under shelter-in-place orders, comprising approximately 20 percent of the state’s population. More counties and cities are expected to follow suit in the coming days.
  • The Legislative Analyst’s Office is warning that California may face significant budget issues due to the drop in revenues from the crisis and a looming recession. The report suggested the Legislature will need to work past the June 15 constitutional deadline to pass a budget to have time to deal with the ever-changing fiscal outlook.
  • Governor Newsom launched a new COVID-19 public awareness website. The site (covid19.ca.gov) will provide consumer-facing information to keep Californians apprised of government resources and steps they can take to prevent further spread of the disease.
  • The 2020 Census announced that it has suspended field operations. The decision has raised concerns that the census could be delayed. In the meantime, the United States Census Bureau is encouraging people to respond by mail or fill out an online questionnaire at my2020census.gov.

Read more in our full update here


 

March 18, 2020

What you need to know

  • Governor Newsom warned Californians yesterday that they should prepare for schools to be closed through summer break this year. The long-term closure of schools will have ripple effects for working parents and the rest of the economy. The announcement also serves as a caution that the effects of COVID-19 may not pass in just a few weeks.
  • Following a ‘stay at home’ directive from Sacramento County, it was announced that the State Capitol building has closed its doors to members of the public. While the Legislature is adjourning for recess through April 13, legislative staff are still allowed in the building for essential government business.
  • More information on Sacramento County’s “stay at home” directive and the services still deemed essential is available here.
  • The Governor’s office issued guidance this morning for state workers to work remotely. The order ensures that critical functions and services are maintained while protecting public safety. More information is available here.

Read more in our full update here


 

March 17, 2020

What You Need to Know

  • The Legislature has suspended all hearings until April 13 and Capitol staff have been advised to work from home, but no one is going on vacation. Legislators will be working in their districts and staff will remain available via email, phone and conference calls during the recess. It remains to be seen exactly how this will affect the legislative calendar for current bills. Our team is ready to help you continue to connect remotely with legislators and staff on important public affairs issues during the recess.
  • With Governor Newsom’s urging, the Legislature suspended the 72-hour in print rule for the first time since it was established under Prop. 54 to take immediate action on four COVID-19 related bills. The legislation released $1.1 billion to support hospitals, facilities, local governments and schools.
  • Governor Newsom is expected to issue another announcement today to direct government agencies on next steps, including the broader application of remote-work for state employees. Our team will continue to monitor breaking news and keep you apprised of the latest actions by state government.

Read more in our full update here


 

How You Can Help

  • Learn how you can help during these difficult times by volunteering with California Volunteers – Link  
  • Check this page for updates on philanthropy’s response to the pandemic and how you can help –Link

 

Resources

  • California Dept. of Public Health Coronavirus Disease webpage and guidance documentsLink
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 updates – Link
  • California COVID-19 risk screening and testing – Link
  • Sacramento County COVID-19 resource page – Link
  • City of Sacramento COV-ID-19 page with resources for local workers and the $1 million City Economic Relief Fund – Link
  • Peter Lin’s short video that separates fact from fiction on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and explains how the virus spreads and how to minimize transmission – Link
  • Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases Map by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) – Link