Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
September 25, 2020
California continues to improve and sees positivity testing rates well below 3%. New cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations from the virus in California continue to decline in the latest data released by state and local health departments, and even the hardest-hit regions appear to be on the mend. THESE are the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.
As the state improves on the COVID-19 front, Governor Newsom shifts his focus to climate change. During Climate Week, Governor Newsom signed an executive order with numerous directives designed to combat climate change. The executive order contains directives requiring that all new passenger vehicles sold in California be zero emission by 2035, all medium and heavy-duty trucks be zero emission by 2045, directs state agencies to develop strategies that support integrated transit networks and infrastructure, transition away from fossil fuels, and develops a Just Transition Roadmap for the workforce in the oil industry. Since this executive order, the Governor has released additional actions that are detailed below and we expect more climate change announcements to be released in the coming weeks.. Here is a recap of recent actions and announcements:
- Climate Action Corps - Governor Newsom announced the launch of the Climate Action Corps, the first in the nation. The Corps has begun to accept volunteers and applicants to be Climate Action Corps Fellows whose mission is to empower Californians to take meaningful action to protect their health, homes, and communities against the impacts of climate change.
- Climate Investment Framework - Governor Newsom announced that the Department of Finance released the California Climate Investment Framework. The Framework integrates the climate risk strategies of the state’s largest pension funds – CalPERS, CalSTRS, and the UC Retirement Plan - into a statewide approach to sustainable investment going forward.
- - Governor Newsom signed an executive order that addresses numerous issues associated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some highlights: extends authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters impacted by COVID-19, permits local health officers to take advantage of the state’s address confidentiality program, and authorizes the Department of Managed Health Care to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on health care providers and health care service plans.
- EDD Reset - Governor Newsom’s EDD Strike Team released their report that includes numerous recommendations to address the structural issues that have fed into the backlog of unemployment claims. In order to start implementing some of these recommendations, the Governor has directed EDD to temporarily hit the pause button on processing new claims. This reset period is set to last another week. You can find the full report .
- – Governor Newsom and his Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, Dr. Ghaly, announced that personal care businesses (e.g. nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapy) can reopen by following the administration’s updated guidance. The nail salon industry, which has been critical of the previous guidance, is allowed to reopen for indoor operations.
- County Status - Every week the state updates the list of
counties on the 4 colored tiers that allow for various degrees of
modified business operation as part of the state’s Blueprint for
a Safer Economy. The most recent updates leaves the counties
– Purple: 26 counties
– Red: 18 counties
– Orange: 11 counties
– Yellow: 3 counties
- The Department of Finance released their September 2020 economic update that breaks down the labor market conditions, building, real estate, and monthly cash reports. In a bit of good news, the August revenues came in $1.632 billion above the month’s forecast; up $4.544 billion for the fiscal year to date.
- September 30 – Last Day for the Governor to Sign/Veto Bills
- November 3 – General Election
- December 7 – 2021-22 Legislative Session Begins
Legislators ready to take action against climate change announce they will go after fracking. Following Governor Newsom’s climate change executive order, Senator Scott Wiener announced he will be partnering with Assemblymember Monique Limon and Assemblymember Rob Bonta on introducing a piece of legislation during the next legislative session that will ban fracking. Details of the legislation have not been worked out, but Senator Wiener noted they would like to introduce something as soon as December when the new legislature is sworn in. A coalition is already forming around this that includes organizations like Sierra Club, California League of Conservation Voters, and Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. This will draw staunch opposition by the oil industry and labor unions that represent the oil industry workforce.
Assembly to hold numerous oversight and informational COVID-19 related hearings. The Assembly is scheduled to hold three different hearings in the coming weeks 1) the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6 on Budget Process and Program Evaluation is meeting on Tuesday for an informational hearing on Public Health Data and Guidance and the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange System, 2) the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6 and the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee will be meeting on Tuesday for a joint informational hearing on State Expenditures, and 3) the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 4 on State Administration will be meeting on October 7 for an informational hearing on the Governor’s Strike Team’s EDD Assessment and Recommendations.
Senate to conduct oversight and informational COVID-19 and energy related hearings. The Senate is scheduled to hold three different hearings in the coming weeks 1) the Senate Special Select Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response will be meeting on October 7 for an oversight hearing on Workplace Health and Safety Issues During the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2) the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Subcommittee on Gas, Electric and Transportation Safety will be meeting on October 13 for an informational hearing on Gas Safety Retrospective: A Decade Since San Bruno, and 3) the Senate Labor and Employment Committee will be meeting on October 14 for an informational hearing on Moving Beyond Crisis: An Exploration of Ongoing and Future Efforts by EDD to Address the COVID-19 Crisis.
Regulatory Agencies and Department
Multiple departments provide updates on their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the wildfires. Here are some highlights:
- The Department of Consumer Affairs announced it is waiving Code of Regulations, title 16, section 361, subdivision (c), to the extent it limits to 12 hours the maximum number of continuing education hours that may be completed through distance learning, subject to the condition that distance learning in excess of 12 hours consists of Internet- or web-based courses that allow participants to concurrently interact with instructors or presenters while they observe the courses.
Oregon Wildfires - The California Office of Emergency Services announced that California has deployed additional personnel to Oregon to help with the wildfire response.
New CSU Chancellor - The California State University Board of Trustees has announced they have appointed Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D. to serve as the eighth CSU Chancellor. Dr. Castro is the first California native and Mexican American to be appointed to oversee the system.
Congress reaches an agreement with the White House to pass a spending measure to avoid a federal government shutdown. Congress took quick action after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reached a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a stopgap spending measure. The measure includes funding for nutrition programs and trade relief payments for farmers. This measure is short-term in nature, only extending funding until December 11. It is expected that the negotiations will pick up again after the General Election. Below is a recap of additional federal actions:
- Young Adults and COVID - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the people in their 20s now account for the most COVID-19 cases reported.
- CDC Guidelines - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention walked back the previously released guidelines stating that the coronavirus spreads through airborne particles that can remain suspended in the air and travel more than six feet.
- SCOTUS Nominee - President Trump announced he will be making his Supreme Court nominee public on Saturday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated the Senate will hold confirmation hearings on the nominee.
Local governments continue to take actions they deem appropriate given their unique circumstances. Here are some highlights:
- Orange County Schools - Five Orange County school districts reopen for in-person education. This is a modified school schedule where only a certain amount of students are on campus at a time. More school districts are set to open next week.
- L.A. County Cases Rise - Los Angeles County public health officials presented data that shows a slight uptick in cases and is still disproportionately affecting minorities.
- Sacramento Nail Salons - Sacramento County announced they are modifying their guidelines to mirror statewide actions allowing nail salons to operate indoor.
- Santa Clara County School - Santa Clara County schools are authorized to provide in-person education but, to date, no school district has decided to move forward with in-person.
- California Coronavirus Response website can be found here
- California Department of Public Health guidance documents can be found here
- California COVID-19 risk screening and testing can be found here
- California Local Public Health Authority information can be found here
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 updates can be found here
- Looking for ways to help your community? Visit this site here