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.

Week of October 19, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to advise the state on a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine. The group of physician scientists have expertise in immunization and public health and will review any vaccine that receives federal approval.
  • Gov. Newsom signaled that his administration will announce today a pathway for reopening California’s theme parks. Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly will provide the new details in an update today at noon, which can be streamed here.

Week of October 12, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines late Friday to allow for social gatherings in the state. The updated guidelines will allow for up to three households to congregate in an outdoor setting. Participants must maintain social distancing practices and wear masks.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will host a press conference to discuss the state’s response to wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic today at noon. It will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

Week of September 29, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Several counties throughout the state will move into the red tier of the state’s reopening blueprint. Counties, including Sacramento, Yolo, Contra Costa, Butte and Fresno, will now allow increased indoor activities with restrictions. Notably, Los Angeles County was not allowed to advance into the next tier.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a number of COVID-19-related bills, including two pieces of legislation to expand PPE stocks for essential workers (SB 275 and AB 2537). Newsom also signed legislation to provide information to essential farmworkers on how to stay healthy during COVID-19.
  • The California Department of Public Health issued guidance for the reopening of playgrounds statewide. The rules apply to outdoor playgrounds and will require masks, social distancing and maximum capacities for reopened facilities.

Week of September 21, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters impacted by the COVID-19. The order also allows the Department of Managed Health Care to gather information to assess the impacts of the pandemic on health care providers and health care service plans.
  • The state will begin allowing nail salons to resume indoor services throughout the state. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced the change in state regulations earlier this week, which will allow all nail salons to return to indoor activities, even those in counties with high case rates of COVID-19.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom released his long awaited strike team report on reforms for the Employment Development Department (EDD) late Saturday night. EDD was overwhelmed by unemployment claims amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which revealed many faults in the agency’s operations. The agency will not accept any new unemployment claims over the next two weeks as it deals with its current backlog and begins implementing reforms.
  • Gov. Newsom will provide an update today at noon on the state’s response to wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

Week of September 14, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to expand access to workers’ compensation and require employers to notify local officials and employees of COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplaceSB 1159 (Hill) expands access to workers’ compensation and makes it easier for those who contract COVID-19 at work to get care and wage replacement benefits. AB 685 (Gómez Reyes) ensures timely notification to employees and public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces.
  • Gov. Newsom announced this week that Washington and Oregon will join California for a pilot project to test exposure notification technology. The pilot project will test the Exposure Notification Express mobile application pioneered by Google and Apple.

Week of September 7, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed three bills into law yesterday aimed at providing relief to small businesses during COVID-19. AB 1577 (Burke) will allow small businesses to exclude PPP loans from gross income for state taxes; SB 1447 (Bradford) authorizes a $100 million hiring tax credit program for small businesses; SB 115, a budget trailer bill, accelerates $561 million in state bond funding for construction projects.
  • Gov. Newsom signed legislation into law to extend protections of paid sick days to California’s workforce during COVID-19.  AB 1867, a budget trailer bill, provides all Californians exposed to COVID-19 with paid sick days for the remainder of 2020.
  • California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly announced five counties have moved down a tier in the state’s COVID-19 tracking system. Amador, Orange, Placer, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties will all move from Purple (the most stringent tier) to Red, allowing more businesses to slowly reopen.

Week of August 31, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new campaign to educate tenants and landlords on new rent and eviction protections under AB 3088, which Newsom signed into law earlier this week. The “Housing is Key” campaign is aimed at connecting renters and landlords experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19 with helpful information and resources.
  • Assemblyman Rudy Salas, chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, has called for an emergency audit of the Employment Development Department (EDD). The call comes after reports of widespread errors in delivering unemployment benefits as applicants increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also follows attempts by Republican lawmakers to pursue an audit of the EDD in the last days of session.
  • California has contracted with OptumInsight Inc. to create a new COVID-19 data reporting system, according to news from state health officials Tuesday. The state also contracted with PerkinElmer last week to help increase COVID-19 testing by up to 150,000 tests per day.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update at noon today on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • The 2020 legislative session came to a close early Tuesday morning as lawmakers finalized a number of bills intended to support Californians affected by COVID-19. Gov. Gavin Newsom thanked the Legislature for its partnership in providing critical support to Californians amid a global pandemic, historic wildfires and growing calls against racial injustice – crises that marked a legislative session unlike any other.
  • Gov. Newsom announced Monday night that he signed a new law to protect tenants and landlords impacted by COVID-19. The legislation will protect millions of Californians from evictions and foreclosures due to the economic impacts of the pandemic, according to a statement from the governor.
  • Today at noon California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will provide an update on COVID-19 in California. The update will be live streamed via YouTube.
  • On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a blueprint for counties to reopen. The blueprint incorporates a four-tiered system for all counties to follow along with measures for the partial reopening and tightening of certain sectors of the economy, including guidelines for when schools can resume in-person education.
  • The Legislature met through the weekend to make up for lost time due to COVID-19, approaching the end of session deadline at midnight tonight. It remains to be seen if Gov. Gavin Newsom will call on legislators to return again this year for a special session to address pressing needs due to COVID-19.

Week of August 24, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Republicans in the State Senate have been banned from the Capitol for the rest of the legislative session after a member of their caucus tested positive for COVID-19. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins will allow the quarantined senators to vote remotely, but Republicans have challenged the legality of remote voting in the past.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update at noon today on the state’s response to COVID-19 and wildfires. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • The California State Senate will reconvene today after cancelling session yesterday when a senator tested positive for COVID-19. Yesterday’s delay could limit the Senate’s ability to hear bills as the August 31 constitutional deadline for the legislative year quickly approaches.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan to drastically increase the state’s testing capacity. A new contract with a major diagnostics company will allow California to process up to an additional 150,000 COVID-19 tests a day with a contractual turnaround time of 24-48 hours, according to the Governor’s office.
  • The California Department of Public Health issued guidelines for some schools to operate limited programs, even in counties on the COVID-19 watch list. The rules allow for cohorts of no more than 14 students and two supervising adults and allow for students with special needs to continue to receive an education during the pandemic.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update at noon today on the state’s response to COVID-19 and wildfires. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to increase the availability of COVID-19 tests. It will allow regulators to issue waivers permitting pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to conduct the tests. The order also enables certain adoption paperwork to be completed remotely, increases the income threshold for Community Service Block Grants and waives a time limit for CalWORKS benefits.
  • Gov. Newsom signaled that he will release new guidelines this week for counties no longer on the COVID-19 watch list to reopen. Newsom provided few details on the new guidelines but noted that counties will be required to wait 14 days after being removed from the watch list and applying to reopen.

Week of August 17, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $5.3 billion in new funds to support distance learning, on Friday. Newsom also signed an executive order directing state agencies to bridge the digital divide, building on the state’s efforts to provide computing devices and hotspots to students across the state.
  • Gov. Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at noon today. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

Week of August 10, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at noon today. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom provided a presentation on actions taken to protect and boost the economy during COVID-19 at his noon press conference. The presentation came as Newsom faces criticism over his economic recovery efforts, including questions about the progress made by the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery.
  • study out of UC Berkeley found that a stockpile of PPEs at the outset of COVID-19 could have prevented 21,000 essential workers from contracting the disease and saved dozens of lives. The study also found that a stockpile could have saved the state hundreds of millions in unemployment benefits and made the cost of obtaining PPEs dramatically cheaper.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new funding from private sources to support communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The funding was donated by a coalition of private and non-profit organizations which has committed $81.8 million to support isolation and quarantine efforts.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at noon today. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • California Director of Public Health Dr. Sonia Angell resigned Sunday night. The resignation followed a recent report that tech issues had created confusion and miscounts of COVID-19 cases throughout the state.
  • The California Department of Public Health released guidelines for reopening public colleges and universities. The guidelines call for most classes to move online and various safety precautions for those visiting campuses.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at noon today. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

Week of August 3, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The California Department of Public Health released new guidelines that could allow a pathway for some elementary schools to reopen for in-person learning. Schools would have to receive approval from their local health official and meet certain state-set standards. Only schools in counties where COVID-19 case rates drop below 200 people per 100,000 would be allowed to apply.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly will provide an update on the state’s progress on COVID-19 at noon today. The press conference will be streamed on the Department of Public Health YouTube account.
  • The Assembly voted to officially allow proxy voting for the last weeks of session. Proxy votes will only be allowed on floor votes and will have to be submitted through Assembly leadership prior to that day’s session.

Week of July 27, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new strike team to address widespread issues with California’s unemployment system. The team will draft a plan over the next 45 days to improve operations at the Employment Development Department which has a backlog of more than 1 million cases.
  • California Democratic leaders announced the framework for a $100 billion stimulus plan on their first day back in Sacramento for the last weeks of session. The plan relies heavily on prepaid income tax, federal dollars, borrowing from future tax funds and bonds for funding. It would include programs that provide support for small businesses, protections for working families and invest heavily in California’s green economy.
  • More than three in four Californians are worried about themselves or someone in their family getting sick, according to a new poll by PPIC. The poll also found strong support for wearing masks in public at all times (74 percent) and very low optimism about the state’s economic future, with only 19 percent of respondents expecting good financial times in the next 12 months.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new funding for the Central Valley to combat COVID-19, during a noontime update from Stockton yesterday. Eight Central Valley counties will receive $52 billion for testing, contact tracing and isolation efforts. The state will also deploy support teams to provide hands-on assistance to the counties.
  • Legislators return to Sacramento today for the final weeks of the legislative session. Lawmakers have until midnight on August 31 to act on legislation.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced several actions on Friday to support workers affected by COVID-19. Those actions include support for workers to quarantine outside their homes, new resources for employers to support safe and clean work environments and increased educational outreach to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will hold a press conference at noon today on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

 

Week of July 20, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Assembly members will be able to vote remotely during the end of session. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who has resisted previous calls for remote voting due to constitutional questions, will allow a small number of members to submit proxy votes prior to floor sessions.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will hold a press conference at noon today on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Newsom has hinted that today’s update will include an extension of several executive orders set to expire. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will hold a press conference at noon today on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that California has too many cases of COVID-19 to traceCalifornia has made an investment in training 3,600 state workers as tracers, but the program has yet to deploy nearly two-thirds of the workers to counties.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom eased restrictions for nail salons and barbershops, allowing for outdoor operations. The modified order comes on the heels of bipartisan calls from legislators for more flexibility for salons and barbershops, which are mostly small businesses.
  • California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 today at noon. The update will be streamed live on the California Department of Public Health YouTube channel.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new guidance for California schools on Friday, requiring counties on the COVID-19 watch list to keep campuses closed for the coming semester. More than 80 percent of California’s population live in counties currently on the watch list. The latest rules also provide guidance on the wearing of masks and social distancing for when in-person classes return.
  • Gov. Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at noon today. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

 

Week of July 13, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide updated guidance for schools at his noon press briefing today. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor  Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Legislative leaders are asking members to pare down their bill loads for the truncated end-of-session timeline when they return July 27, according to the Sacramento BeeIn the Assembly, policy committees will hold only one hearing. The Senate has yet to announce a schedule but will reportedly hold policy hearings on Fridays and Saturdays to handle its larger bill load.
  • Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly unveiled new testing guidelines on Tuesday. The four-tiered guidelines will prioritize vulnerable populations and patients exhibiting symptoms, while giving patients hospitalized with symptoms top priority. Asymptomatic members of the general public who believe they have a risk of being infected will not be eligible for testing until testing timelines shorten to less than 48 hours.
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will hold a press conference on efforts to reopen schools this fall at 9:30 am this morningLos Angeles and San Diego school districts have announced delays to in-person learning, while the Orange County Board of Education has recommended classes reconvene in-person this fall with no masks or social distancing for students.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a major rollback of re-openings across the state. The new orders will shut down indoor activities in the hardest hit counties, including gyms, barbershops, nail salons and houses of worship. The order will also close bars and indoor dining statewide.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly will discuss the state’s efforts to boost testing. The press conference will be live-streamed at noon today.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to provide details on a new strategy to improve the state’s testing for COVID-19 during his noon press conference today. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Gov. Newsom ordered the release of 8,000 prisoners by the end of August to stem the spread of COVID-19 in California prisons. The move will focus on prisoners already scheduled to be released soon and those at serious risk of complications from COVID-19.

 

Week of July 6, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The Senate and Assembly announced a July 27 return from summer recess. The return, originally scheduled for July 13, was delayed two weeks due to several members and staff testing positive for COVID-19. Both houses are working to develop truncated committee schedules for the last weeks of session.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced more support for firefighting during the COVID-19 pandemicThe state will hire 858 new firefighters and six California Conservation Corps crews to provide support through fire season. Newsom also unveiled new mass care and sheltering protocols to be used in cases of wildfire evacuations, which include health screenings, dedicated cleaning staff and medical professionals on site.
  • Following suit with the Assembly, the Senate announced it will suspend its return from summer recess indefinitelyBoth houses were scheduled to return July 13 to finish out the end of the two-year legislation, but remain in limbo as cases of COVID-19 have spread among staff and members.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the launch of a new website to help small businesses navigate COVID-19 guidelines and best practices. The website will also help businesses source PPEs and free resources from private industry partners.
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced a delay to the Assembly’s scheduled July 13 return from summer recessThe decision stems from the first confirmed case of COVID-19 for a legislator. The entire Capitol will close for a week to undergo a thorough cleaning. A new return date has yet to be announced.
  • At Monday’s noontime press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom discussed the state’s crackdown on bars and restaurants over the 4th of July weekend. Enforcement has expanded to a watch list of 23 counties. Over the weekend, Department of Alcohol Beverage Control agents visited nearly 6,000 businesses and issued 52 citations.
  • The Assembly has set an official limit of one staff person per member in the office at any given time. The move from the Rules Committee comes after a staff person for an unnamed member tested positive for COVID-19. Remaining staff members are directed to work from home where possible.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a noon press conference today. The press conference will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

 

Week of June 29, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of indoor dining, movie theaters and other indoor activities in 19 counties. Newsom also ordered the closure of parking lots near state beaches heading into the holiday weekend. The closures will last for three weeks and come in reaction to a large uptick in confirmed cases across California. To enforce the new restrictions, Newsom also announced “strike teams” from 10 state agencies with licensing and enforcement power.
  • California lawmakers criticized the state’s treatment of prisoners during the COVID-19 crisis in a Senate hearing on Wednesday. A transfer of infected prisoners to San Quentin has left the prison with one third of inmates testing positive.
  • Gov. Newsom signaled that he will announce stricter provisions regarding indoor activities as Californians head into the 4th of July holiday weekend. The announcement will likely come at Newsom’s press conference today at noon, which will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 30. The order also addresses several issues including the extension of allowing videoconferencing for marriage licenses and In-Home Supportive Services caseworker assessments; suspension of face-to-face visits for foster care eligibility; extension of waivers broadening enrollment in CalWORKs; and extensions for certain mail-in services for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom warned that the state could revert back to more restrictive orders heading into the July 4 holiday weekend. Nineteen counties are now on the state’s watch list due to a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases.
  • Gov. Newsom signed the state’s $202 billion budget plan on Monday. A full copy of the enacted budget can be found here. The Legislature and Gov. Newsom are still expected to make adjustments in August and will have to enact trigger cuts if federal funding does not come through by October 1, but the signed spending plan signals an end to major budget negotiations for now.
  • Gov. Newsom will provide an update today in the Bay Area on Project Roomkey, the state’s initiative to provide hotel and motel rooms to Californians experiencing homlessness for safe harbor during the COVID-19 crisis. The update will be livestreamed at noon at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) delivered a letter to Gov. Newsom requesting guidance on the state’s COVID-19 orders to protect seniors and medically vulnerable people. The letter urged Newsom to provide clarification to vulnerable populations on how the orders affect them, and requested a particular emphasis on the fact that these populations should remain under stricter stay at home orders until the state moves into Stage 4, according to the guidelines by the California Department of Public Health.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the immediate closure of bars in seven counties and recommended that eight more counties follow suit. Newsom’s action came in response to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and reports of crowded bars.
  • The Assembly voted to approve the state budget on Friday, sending the negotiated spending plan to Gov. Newsom for his signature. Newsom is expected to sign before the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, but more work will need to be done on the budget if anticipated federal funding does not come to fruition.
  •  Gov. Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic today at noon. The update will be streamed on the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

 

Week of June 22, 2020

What you need to know: 

  • Today, the Assembly will vote on a $202 billion budget deal approved by the Senate last night. The deal, which was reached with Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this week, will avoid major cuts to services for now, relying on trigger cuts if federal funding is not received over the coming months to close much of the $54 billion deficit.
  • Gov. Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic today at noon. The update will be streamed on the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • University of California campuses will shift to mostly online learning for the fall semester. Students living on campus will need to practice social distancing and safety protocols. The move follows a similar decision earlier this year by the California State University.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci praised California’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic during his remarks to the Sacramento Press Club on Wednesday. Fauci insisted that California does not need to go back on lockdown, even with recent upticks in cases, but that more people must follow social distancing protocols and wear face masks to stem the spread of the disease as the state reopens.
  • California counties will have to comply with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 safety orders to have access to funding in the state budgetThe deal struck between Newsom and legislative leaders includes $750 million in funding for local governments that provides the state leverage to ensure counties follow statewide orders.
  • The Legislature is expected to vote on the full budget deal Friday afternoon. The deal includes several trigger cuts if federal funding does not come through, including a 10 percent cut to most state worker salaries and a $600 million cut to CSU and UC budgets.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom received support for his statewide mask order from past former Govs. Pete Wilson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown in a video posted Monday. The bipartisan group of former governors shared a message to reinforce the need for face coverings amid pushback from several local jurisdictions.
  • Gov. Newsom signed an executive order related to beverage container recycling. The order extends a waiver that allows retailers to pause in-store redemption of beverage containers and temporarily suspends the requirement for recycling centers to hold a minimum number of hours of operation.
  • Gov. Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon have reached an agreement on the 2020-21 state budget.
  • Following Gov. Newsom’s order requiring Californians to wear face coverings in public, several local jurisdictions, including law enforcement officials in Sacramento, Orange, Fresno, Placer, Tulare and Modoc counties and the mayor of Nevada City, said they will not enforce the order
  • SEIU Local 1000 reached agreement with the Newsom administrationexchanging two furlough days for two paid personal leave days each month. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association reached agreement with the administration last week. The moves follow the governor’s announcement last month that he would pursue 10 percent pay cuts and cancel raises for state workers to help address the $54 billion budget shortfall.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on COVID-19 at noon today. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

 

Week of June 15, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Following an uptick in statewide COVID-19 cases, Gov. Newsom yesterday ordered all Californians to wear face coverings in public or high-risk settings, including outside when social distancing is not possible. The order comes as some counties loosened requirements, such as in Orange County where the county health officer quit following threats by opponents of the mask mandate. Read more about who has to wear a mask here and here.
  • The California Department of Public Health is updating rules, as soon as today, on how to apply the new mask requirement across various sectors.
  • The governor signed into law AB 860 which requires elections officers to mail a ballot to every registered, active voter in the state ahead of the November election. Polling stations will still be open across the state.
  • Earlier this week, the First Partner joined with the California State Library to launch a Five-Week Summer Reading Challenge to keep children and families reading and engaged with their community libraries.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order addressing several issues related to COVID-19. The order extends waivers for counties to enroll persons in CalWORKS; extends permission for commercially licensed food trucks to operate at roadside rest areas; suspends face-to-face meeting requirements for extended foster care eligibility; and extends deadlines related to the payment of real estate license application and renewal fees and continuing education requirements for licensees.
  • The Legislature passed a stopgap budget on Monday to meet its June 15 constitutional deadline, but without a deal with Gov. Newsom, the vote was mostly a formality. Negotiations with Newsom will continue as lawmakers work to close the state’s $54 billion deficit left in the wake of the COVID-19-driven recession.
  • Members of Gov. Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery issued an open letter calling out the effects of structural racism across society, including the economy. The letter urges California leaders to take a stand as the state works to rebuild a more inclusive and resilient economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • With a broad swath of the economy allowed to reopen over the weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on COVID-19 at noon today. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.
  • Legislative Democrats will vote on a “no-cuts” budget today in order to meet the June 15 constitutional deadline for passing a spending plan. The plan stands in contrast to Gov. Newsom’s proposal relying on trigger cuts if the federal government does not step in with funding to fill the deficit caused by the COVID-19 driven recession.
  • The California Department of Public Health has released guidance to allow personal care businesses, such as nail salons, waxing and tattoo parlors, to reopen starting June 19. The guidance provides a pathway for counties to allow one of the last remaining sectors of the economy to begin reopening.

 

Week of June 8, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The Assembly has advanced a ballot proposal to allow legislators to vote remotely. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 25 was inspired by the need for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and would allow remote and proxy voting during an official state of emergency. The measure now heads to the Senate and would need approval by voters to become law.
  • Disneyland announced plans to reopen July 17. The theme park’s announcement is a major step under Phase 3 of California’s reopening. Capacity will be limited and guests will need to make a reservation in advance.
  • Late last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued guidelines for a broad swath of the economy to reopen by the end of this week. The new guidelines issued to counties will allow bars, hotels, gyms, summer camps, zoos and campgrounds, among other businesses, to reopen.
  • Gov. Newsom also issued separate guidelines to allow schools to open, effective June 12. The guidelines include strict measures to protect staff and children from the spread of COVID-19, including limiting the sharing of classroom spaces and encouraging students to wear facemasks.
  • Following the release of guidelines for reopening schools by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Department of Education released its own recommendations for teachers and students. The Department of Education framed its recommendations, which include similar recommendations as the CDPH, as a guide for local discussion and leans heavily on local education agencies for implementation.
  • After months of delays, federal regulators approved the use of N95 masks acquired through a $1 billion deal Gov. Gavin Newsom struck with Chinese manufacturer BYD. The deal had sparked conflict between legislators and Newsom and has been delayed multiple times. BYD will provide California with 150 million masks over the next two months.
  • The Assembly has advanced a ballot proposal to allow legislators to vote remotely. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 25 was inspired by the need for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and would allow remote and proxy voting during an official state of emergency. The measure now heads to the Senate and would need approval by voters to become law.
  • Disneyland announced plans to reopen July 17. The theme park’s announcement is a major step under Phase 3 of California’s reopening. Capacity will be limited and guests will need to make a reservation in advance.

 

Week of June 1, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Senate and Assembly leaders came together on a joint budget agreement to deal with the $54.3 billion deficit facing California due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement relies on expected federal aid to avoid about $14 billion in cuts proposed in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget. The Legislature has until June 15 to vote on the spending plan and send to Gov. Newsom’s desk.
  • Many Californians believe the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is still ahead, according to the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. The poll also shows high marks for Gov. Newsom’s handling of the pandemic, with Newsom holding a favorable rating among 65 percent of adults.
  • Gov. Newsom signed an executive order to provide safe in-person voting options during the November election. The order will allow counties to consolidate voting locations and requires them to allow for three days of early voting starting the Saturday before the election.
  • Senate and Assembly leaders came together on a joint budget agreement to deal with the $54.3 billion deficit facing California due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement relies on expected federal aid to avoid about $14 billion in cuts proposed in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget. The Legislature has until June 15 to vote on the spending plan and send to Gov. Newsom’s desk.
  • Many Californians believe the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is still ahead, according to the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. The poll also shows high marks for Gov. Newsom’s handling of the pandemic, with Newsom holding a favorable rating among 65 percent of adults.
  • Gov. Newsom signed an executive order to provide safe in-person voting options during the November election. The order will allow counties to consolidate voting locations and requires them to allow for three days of early voting starting the Saturday before the election.
  • Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins announced that the Senate will meet for a floor session on June 11, the first time the Senate will meet in full since returning from the COVID-19 recess. The announcement was accompanied by a schedule of seven floor sessions, available here.
  • new poll released by the California Health Care Foundation found that 86 percent of Californians agree that current rules and orders in California are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, 38 percent of respondents believed that the current rules and orders go too far.

 

Week May 26, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The California Department of Public Health announced that counties can begin reopening places of worship and in-store retail throughout the state. Places of worship will be limited to 25 percent of capacity to ensure social distancing and retailers will need to follow safety guidance from the state. The move comes days after an order by President Trump called for all places of worship nationwide to open immediately.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis at noon on May 26. The press conference will be aired live at the @CAgovernor Twitter page, California Governor Facebook page and the Governor’s YouTube page.
  • Barbershops and hair salons in most counties can now reopen under new guidelines released by the California Department of Public Health. Gov. Gavin Newsom signaled that similar announcements about summer camps, schools, and childcare are expected today.
  • The Assembly held its historic committee of the whole meeting yesterday, bringing together the entire house for an informational budget hearing. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle criticized Gov. Newsom’s dependence on federal aid in his May Revision to the state budget. The Legislature has until June 15 to negotiate with Newsom and pass a budget.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signaled that he could be ready to issue guidelines for reopening gyms and other fitness facilities “in a week or so.” Newsom’s comments came during a virtual meeting with fitness professionals and business owners as part of his Economic Recovery & Reinvention Listening Tour.
  • The Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee will convene today to lay out details of a budget proposal that would avoid trigger cuts included in Gov. Newsom’s May Revision. The hearing follows a contentious Assembly Committee of the Whole hearing where legislators from both sides of the aisle criticized Newsom’s reliance on the federal government to avoid cuts in his budget plan.
  • Friday, May 29 at noon, Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce new guidelines for reopening the state’s schools, including recommendations that students and teachers wear face coverings and receive daily temperature checks. The update will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page and California Governor Facebook page.

 

Week May 18, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will provide an update on the state’s COVID-19 response from Napa today at noon. Newsom has signaled that he will no longer deliver daily briefings, but will continue to provide regular updates as deemed necessary.
  • The Legislature begins budget hearings today, following the release of Gov. Newsom’s May Revision last week. Initial comments by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office applauded the revised budget plan as a “balanced mix of solutions,” but urged the Legislature to “jealously guard its constitutional role” as the administration asked the Legislature to delegate “significant authority” to the executive branch.
  • ICYMI: Team LPA compiled the key takeaways from Gov. Newsom’s May Revision. The insights are meant to help inform business, community and government leaders as they navigate the difficult path ahead.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new, loosened guidelines for counties to move into Stage 2 of reopening, allowing for 53 of California’s 58 counties to immediately meet the criteria. The new guidelines allow counties to reopen more businesses, including dine-in restaurants and shopping malls
  • Gov. Newsom also announced that professional sports will be allowed to resume in June, but without fans. Leagues will have to take precautions to protect players and staff, and spectators will not be allowed to return until therapeutics for COVID-19 are developed.
  • California’s community college system is pushing towards online-only instruction for the fall semester. Chancellor Eloy Ortiz announced the transition to online-only classes yesterday, following last week’s announcement by the California State University system to move most classes online. The University of California is expected to decide whether to move toward online instruction next month.
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the Assembly will convene a “Committee of the Whole” next Tuesday to for a hearing on the state budget. The rarely used committee format allows the entire Assembly to meet for an informational hearing. No vote will be taken on the budget at the hearing.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order last night addressing multiple issues in response to COVID-19. The order will ease requirements for state grants for domestic violence service providers; waive certain deadlines and requirements for Cal Grant applicants; suspend certain deadlines for the development of clean energy technologies funded by the California Energy Commission; and extend the timeframe for local governments to submit reimbursement claims to the State Controller’s Office.
  • Gov. Newsom announced plans to spend another $1.8 billion on protective gear and hospital beds in response to COVID-19. The additional money brings Newsom’s total spending on the COVID-19 response up to $5.7 billion. The governor is requesting an additional $2.9 billion in the budget for future response spending by the executive branch, but lawmakers have expressed reservations about the request.

 

March 15, 2020  Issue Focus: May Revise

What you need to know:

  • The May Revision projects a deficit of $54.3 billion and an unemployment rate as high as 24 percent, down from the $222.2 billion 2020-21 budget the governor unveiled in January.
  • Newsom proposes canceling more than $6 billion in program expansions from his original budget, asking state workers to take a 10 percent pay cut and ordering state agencies to reduce spending by 5 percent. The budget also proposes deep cuts to virtually all state programs. The Governor focused on a limited number of spending priorities — public education, public health, public safety and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The May Revise fills 26 percent of the budget gap with funding cuts which will be triggered absent additional federal funding requested by California leaders, such as the $1 trillion in direct funding to state and local governments in House Speaker Pelosi’s proposed $3 trillion HEROES Act.

Read more in our full update here.


 

Week May 11, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The Legislative Analyst’s Office released its financial outlook for the coming year, estimating a deficit between $18 and $31 billion. The figures stands in stark contrast to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently released estimate of a $54 billion deficit. Newsom will release his May Budget Revision on Thursday with more details on his spending plan.
  • All California voters will receive a vote by mail ballot for the November general election, following an executive order by Gov. Newsom on Friday. Newsom said that options to vote in person will still exist, but the move is meant to encourage safe conduct for the coming election.
  • The Senate officially reconvenes in Sacramento today following its COVID-19 related recess. The Governance and Finance Committee will meet today at 2 p.m. and the Rules Committee will meet at 3 p.m., both following new procedures outlined by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins last week.
  • Governors and legislative leaders from five western states, including California, signed on to a letter to Congress calling for $1 trillion in relief for states and local governments. The letter explained that the aid would be used to “preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work.”
  • San Diego leaders are pushing back on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order and re-opening criteria. The City and County of San Diego issued a joint letter urging Newsom to allow more local flexibility with “practical” guidelines for cities and counties with large populations. Newsom is expected to release more details on re-openings today.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom released new guidance for an expanded list of businesses that will be allowed to reopen as part of Stage 2. The newly permitted businesses include strip malls, car washes, pet grooming, restaurants and other nonessential outdoor spaces, among others. Newsom also released specific guidance for dine-in restaurants, including physical distancing requirements, new employee training and bans on shared entertainment.
  • Seven Northern California counties – Amador, Butte, El Dorado, Lassen, Nevada, Placer and Shasta – gained approval from the state to advance more quickly into Stage 2. At least 23 more counties are working to gain state approval.
  • Gov. Newsom announced that the state has conducted more than 1 million tests for COVID-19. Over past few days, daily testing has increased to 35,000. The state also took further steps to increase testing by allowing pharmacists to collect specimens and order tests.
  • The California State University system will move nearly all classes online during the fall semester. University of California leaders are still examining options for the fall semester and are expected to announce new guidelines in the coming months.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will release the May Revision to the 2020-21 state budget today at noon. The briefing will be streamed at the @CAgovernor Twitter page, California Governor Facebook page and the Governor’s YouTube page.
  • Today’s proposal will differ greatly from the $222 billion spending plan Newsom unveiled in January when the state expected a $5.6 billion surplus. The Governor’s Department of Finance is projecting a $54.3 billion deficit for the coming year, while the Legislative Analyst’s Office has estimated a spending gap between $18 billion and $31 billion.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered residents to wear a face covering any time they leave their home. The more restrictive order comes as public health officials loosen some restrictions in Los Angeles County. At least 17 counties have received state approval to more quickly advance into Stage 2 of the governor’s plan to gradually reopen the state.

 

Week of May 4, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The Assembly returns to Sacramento today with two committee hearings, but no floor session. The Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services will meet at 10 a.m. in room 4202, while the Transportation Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m. on the Assembly floor to ensure social distancing space for its 15 members.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday that meaningful changes to the statewide stay-at-home order are “days, not weeks” away. Some rural counties are not waiting that long, announcing their own reopenings in defiance of the statewide order.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California can begin the process of partially reopening starting Friday, allowing some retail, manufacturing and logistics businesses to open with modifications. Local jurisdictions can continue more restrictive measures or, upon meeting the state’s readiness criteria, move more quickly to reopen businesses, such as dine-in restaurants and offices.
  • As part of the statewide reopening plan, Gov. Newsom announced a large-scale campaign of investigators and contact tracers to track every case of COVID-19. The plan will reassign and train 20,000 public employees for the massive undertaking. A new statewide database under development will also help local health officials track cases.
  • California may lose $1.3 billion in revenue from the gas tax due to stay-at-home orders, according to a recent report. The drastic decline in driving has helped reduce emissions during over the past month, but has cut into gas tax funds for state and local programs.
  • Most state Senate policy committees will hold just one hearing during a truncated schedule, according to a memo obtained by Politico Pro (behind paywall). Senators are scheduled to return to session next week and have signaled that they will use remote voting, allowing some members to avoid travel to Sacramento.
  • The Senate and Assembly issued updated legislative calendars for the remainder of 2020. The calendars will be out of sync due to the Assembly’s earlier return to session from COVID-19. The Senate calendar can be found here. Assembly calendar here.
  • Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins issued a statement outlining new safety precautions for the Senate as it returns to session Monday. Atkins will allow Senators to participate in the committee process remotely but will not allow remote voting, which Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon had questioned as unconstitutional.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order expanding workers’ compensation coverage for essential workers. The order presumes that any case of COVID-19 contracted by an essential worker, meeting certain criteria, is eligible for workers’ compensation.
  • California faces a $53.4 billion budget deficit according to a memo obtained by the Sacramento Bee from Gov. Newsom’s administration. The administration also estimates an 18 percent unemployment rate.
  • Many businesses in the state will kick off Stage 2 reopenings today, following updated guidelines released by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Lower risk sectors allowed to open under the new guidance include retail, manufacturing and logistics. The governor outlined a series of steps for counties to go further than the state in reopening their local economies, including meeting testing and tracing benchmarks.
  • Gov. Newsom provided details on the state’s looming budget deficit at his regular noontime press conference yesterday. California is facing a $54.3 billion deficit caused by a 25 percent decline in the state’s biggest tax sources – personal income, sales and corporate – along with a large increase in COVID-19 related expenditures.
  • The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) will provide an update on California’s fiscal condition for the coming budget year via video conference at 11 a.m. today. A report on the state’s fiscal outlook will be posted the LAO website at 10 a.m.

 

Week of April 27, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The Legislature is still on track to return to session a week from today. While the Senate has taken steps toward remote voting to allow for social distancing, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon still believes the “Constitution necessitates the physical presence of members to vote ….” Both houses have a number of obstacles to overcome before gaveling in on May 4.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a series of initiatives late last week to support older Californians. The efforts include a program to partner with local restaurants to prepare meals for older Californians, a Social Bridging Project that will mobilize 1,000 callers to check in on older Californians and expanding Friendship Line California to serve older Californians statewide.
  • Colorado and Nevada joined the Western States Pact, a joint effort for a coordinated reopening of the economy that already includes California, Oregon and Washington. Three shared principles were detailed as part of the announcement: 1) Our residents’ health comes first; 2) Health outcomes and science, not politics, will guide decisions; and 3) Our states will only be effective by working together.
  • Six Bay Area counties announced the extension of shelter-in-place orders through May. The Bay Area counties, which were the first in the nation to issue such orders, have indicated the new order will include a limited easing of specific restrictions. The official order will be released later this week.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will host the first of a series of digital conversations today with workers, small businesses and employers as part of his Economic Recovery & Reinvention Listening Tour. Today’s conversations will focus on COVID-19’s impact on the retail sector
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that students may return to California schools as early as July during a press conference that outlined four stages for reopening schools, businesses and child care. Newsom also said that some businesses are “weeks, not months” away from reopening, but cautioned that large gatherings, such as concerts and live sporting events, will not resume until a vaccine is readily available.
  • Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins announced that the Senate has delayed its return to session to May 11. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon signaled that the Assembly still plans to return to the Capitol for session on May 4.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom focused on food security for California yesterday, announcing $3.64 million in new funding to expand the Farm to Family program to help foodbanks. He also highlighted the expansion of CalFresh and EBT programs to assist those taking an economic hit during the pandemic.
  • Gov. Newsom will issue an order shutting down state parks and beaches beginning Friday. The order stemmed from a number of photos that gained national headlines over the weekend showing packed beaches in Orange County.
  • Bay Area counties extended their shelter-in-place orders through May, while easing some restrictions. In contrast, Modoc County became the first locality to lift its shelter-in-place order, in defiance of the statewide order.
  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced measures to protect public health as the Assembly reconvenes in the Capitol on Monday, May 4. The measures include health screenings at the Capitol entrance, social distancing guidelines for committee rooms and videoconferencing options for witnesses. Rendon explained his reasoning behind calling the Assembly back to session in a Sacramento Bee op-ed.
  • The California Department of Finance issued a letter directing state agencies to take immediate actions to reduce spending in preparation for looming budget shortfalls. Agency leaders were directed to limit unnecessary travel, cancel buy backs of vacation and not enter into any new service contracts or agreements that could increase costs, with limited exceptions.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a scaled back plan to only close beaches in Orange County. The announcement came after rumors of a statewide beach and park closure created a public stir yesterday. The Huntington Beach City Council is seeking an injunction against the order.
  • Gov. Newsom signed an executive order on marriages, allowing adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing.

 

April 24, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that more than 1.1 million Californians with privately held student loans would receive temporary debt relief for several months. He also signed an executive order to stop debt collectors from garnishing COVID-19-related financial assistance.
  • Gov. Newsom took a variety of actions through executive order yesterday afternoon. Newsom granted a 60-day extension for DMV deadlines, allowed certain CEQA filing requirements to be satisfied electronically and will allow grocers to provide bags to customers without charge. Newsom also issued orders to extend the deadlines for local educational agencies to submit Local Control and Accountability Plans and to provide flexibility to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Medi-Cal providers on a variety of deadlines and requirements.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 23, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to allow hospitals to resume medical care that was deferred while the state’s health systems prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients. After teasing more details on reopening the state, Newsom announced that we are not there yet, needing to increase testing to 60 to 80 thousand per day, but not providing a firm date.
  • The California Highway Patrol has temporarily banned all rallies at the CapitolThe order comes following hundreds of protesters gathering at the Capitol earlier this week to protest stay-at-home orders.
  • Local leaders in San Luis Obispo County have requested that Gov. Newsom allow for a phased reopening of businesses in the Central Coast area which relies heavily on tourism. The region has seen very few cases of COVID-19 and has large scale capacity for patients due to a facility at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Newsom has yet to respond to the request but other local governments in areas with limited cases could soon follow suit.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 22, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom will announce more details of a six-fold framework for reopening the state at his noon press conference today. Newsom has signaled that the timing of reopening is heavily dependent on the state’s testing capacity.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 21, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Assembly members vented frustration with Gov. Gavin Newsom in a budget hearing yesterday. Assemblyman Jim Wood, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, claimed to be met with resistance when trying to work with the Administration. Others voiced dismay with a lack of transparency over Newsom’s $1 billion deal to obtain PPEs. The Administration maintains it cannot release details as such a move might jeopardize the purchase deal the state struck for the PPEs.

Read more in our full update here.



April 20, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the formation of his Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force on Friday. Tom Steyer and Newsom Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary will head up the 80-person team that includes key leaders from business, labor and government throughout the state
  • Today, the Assembly will hold a budget subcommittee hearing on COVID-19-related expenditures. The hearing will focus on gaining more details on both current and projected spending to combat the pandemic. Members are expected to attend both in-person at the Capitol and virtually. The hearing will be broadcast on the Assembly website at 10 am.

Read more in our full update here.

 


 

April 17, 2020

What you need to know:

  • After a host of technical difficulties, a Senate budget subcommittee met Thursday to get answers about Gov. Newsom’s $1 billion deal to purchase PPEs. Newsom administration officials provided few details about the purchase, but Californians were able to get a glimpse of what legislative hearings could look like in the near future, with several senators appearing via videoconference and strict social distancing enforced in the Capitol.
  • Lawmakers got more details on big picture budget shortfalls. The Legislative Analyst’s Office provided an overview of the state’s budget, which is expected to suffer a $35 billion shortfall in 2020-21.
  • President Trump on Thursday announced a national framework for some states to reopen their economies. Trump provided a three-phase roadmap that his administration provided to governors, leaning on state leaders to “call your own shots.”

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 16, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The Senate will convene a special subcommittee on the COVID-19 response today at 2 pm to ask for details on Gov. Newsom’s $1 billion expenditure for masks and PPEs. This will be the first legislative hearing since state lawmakers adjourned for recess in March. The Assembly will follow suit next week, holding a budget subcommittee hearing on Monday.
  • Gov. Newsom announced a $125 million Disaster Assistance Program for undocumented immigrants yesterday, providing support for a population ineligible for federal stimulus funds yet makes up 10 percent of the state’s diverse workforce. The state will fund $75 million of the program while philanthropic organizations, including the James Irvine Foundation, California Endowment, Blue Shield Foundation, Emerson Collective and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, will provide the remaining $50 million.

Read more in our full update here.

 


 

April 15, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled six key indicators yesterday that will guide California’s thinking for when and how to modify the stay-at-home and other orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Newsom intends to provide weekly updates on these six indicators. When pressed on timing, Newsom responded that if we see a continued decline in cases in two weeks, he would be willing to start discussing dates for a gradual reopening of the state.
  • Gov. Newsom also announced during yesterday’s press conference that “the prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get herd immunity and we get a vaccine.” Newsom warned that means events of 100 or more people, which will have implications for everything from sporting events and concerts to community events and weddings.

Read more in our full update here.

 

 


 

April 14, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Gov. Newsom will unveil a framework today for the slow process of reopening California’s economy. Newsom is working with Washington and Oregon on a unified Western States Pact to ensure that the reopening of the economy is a regional effort. He has promised to provide a detailed process, but no official timeline, at his regular noon press conference.
  • Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins issued an official directive for committee chairs to put a pause on bills unrelated to COVID-19 and urged senators to cut their bill loads dramatically. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has informally leaned on his committee chairs to manage bill loads.

Read more in our full update here.

 

 


 

April 13, 2020

What you need to know:

 

  • Lenny Mendonca, director of Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority, stepped down on Friday. The move was announced late in the day on Good Friday, leaving Newsom short one of his top advisors during the economic downturn. Chief Deputy Director Chris Dombrowski will step into the role at GO-Biz, while Vice Chair Tom Richards will take over at the High-Speed Rail Authority.
  • Some members of the Assembly will return to the Capitol for a budget subcommittee hearing focused on COVID-19 on Monday, April 20. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the meeting of Budget Subcommittee 6, chaired by Assemblymember Phil Ting, following a flurry of legislative announcements late last week. The Capitol will be open for attendance, but the public is encouraged to watch the live stream on the Assembly website.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 10, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced both houses are planning to hold committee hearings prior to the Legislature’s return to Sacramento. Atkins also announced plans for a special budget subcommittee hearing on expenditures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, scheduled for April 16. Details on the Assembly hearings are forthcoming.
  • Senate Budget Chair Holly Mitchell issued a letter to the Newsom administration asking for more details on the $1.4 billion purchase of medical equipment to combat COVID-19. Paired with the announcements from legislative leadership, these actions could signal that the Legislature is no longer content taking a back seat to Newsom’s leadership during the crisis and is looking to reassert itself in the governing process.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 9, 2020

What you need to know:

 

  • California’s budget received an extra bump with news that the Trump administration approved the state’s application for a Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax. The MCO tax, which will provide an extra $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion, was initially rejected by the federal government. Acceptance of California’s revised application was likely helped by Gov. Newsom’s recent collaborative approach with President Trump.
  • Ballot initiative proponents are still fighting to gather signatures for the November ballot. With looming deadlines to collect signatures, some initiative proponents have turned to requesting mailed-in signatures. Backers of a bond measure to support stem cell research are asking thousands of people to print out a 16-page copy of their petition and mail it in with the goal of collecting 35,000 more signatures by April 18.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 8, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Newsom announced a plan to procure 200 million medical masks per month, utilizing California’s purchasing power. The $1 billion deal will meet the supply needs of California residents and workers while likely including enough supplies to share with other states.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 7, 2020

What you need to know:

  • Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting announced a new two-phase state budget process in a memo As previously requested by Gov. Newsom, the first phase will be a barebones “Workload Budget” that can be passed by the June 15 constitutional deadline. The Legislature will then turn toward an “August Revision” that will largely focus on COVID-19 recovery programs and, potentially, cuts to major government programs.
  • California will likely see major budget shortfalls, even with billions in federal stimulus dollars, according to a Legislative Analyst’s Office report released this week. While the stimulus dollars will help with direct costs in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the state will still be hit with indirect costs, such as unemployment and lost revenues due to the economic downturn.

Read more in our full update here.


 

April 6, 2020

What you need to know:

  • The State Legislature has announced a new return date of May 4. In a joint announcement, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon extended the recess which initially only stretched to April 13. Returning legislators will have a quick turnaround on a revised budget and have been asked to drastically trim back their bill loads.
  • Gov. Newsom continued to take action through the weekend with new announcements and executive orders. These included the launch of a new website for donations and sales of essential medical supplies, an executive order extending child care services for essential workers and the creation of a new task force working toward a fivefold increase in testing for COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

Read more in our full update here.


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