February 11, 2022
Weideman Group Weekly
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is looking to move towards a COVID-19 endemic strategy and details on the plan could come as early as next week. The state will treat COVID-19 much like other viruses, still living in the community, but manageable without the need for aggressive mitigation efforts such as a shelter in place order. A preliminary step towards the endemic comes as California’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted on February 15th. While the state mandate will expire, individual counties have the authority to continue instituting their own local masking orders.
Budget Bills Signed
Governor Newsom signed into law a package of early budget action including an extension of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave through September 30th, the restoration of previously suspended tax credits (e.g. research and development, net operating loss), small business relief grants, and tax cuts for the restaurant industry. The package of signed bills took effect immediately.
Newsom Draws Challenger
California Republican State Senator Brian Dahle announced his campaign for Governor, challenging incumbent Democrat Gavin Newsom. His announcement was critical of Newsom’s handling of the pandemic, stating the Governor’s approach has hurt businesses and families and noted an increase in crime, housing costs, and homelessness. Dahle has served in the state legislature since 2012, but faces a tough battle to unseat Newsom who has a $25 million war chest and a substantial Democratic party registration advantage over Republicans.
Movers & Shakers
Governor Newsom has appointed two new cabinet members. Amy Tong has been appointed Secretary of the Government Operations Agency and Toks Omishakin has been appointed Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency. Tong previously served as Director of the Office of Digital Innovation and Omishakin previously served as Director of the California Department of Transportation. Over in the State Assembly, James Gallagher (R - Nicolaus) has been named the new minority leader, succeeding Marie Waldron (R – Escondido) to lead the 19 member Republican Caucus in the lower house. Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D – Elk Grove) announced he will be running for Sacramento County Sheriff, in what is likely to be a heated race to replace Sheriff Scott Jones. Cooper previously ran for the position in 2010, but was not elected.