Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
November 13, 2020

Post

Election

President

After a tumultuous general election, the final electoral count is in.  President-elect Joe Biden received 306 electoral votes (50.8% of the popular vote with 78,005,344 votes) and President Donald Trump received 232 electoral votes (47.4% of the popular vote with 72,669,945 votes). President Trump is challenging the vote counts in various states. 

State Legislature

All 80 of the Assembly seats and 20 Senate seats were up for election this year. Democrats retained control of both chambers with a supermajority. In the Assembly, Republicans picked up a seat. There is one race that is too close to call – Democrat Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (AD-74) is leading Republican challenger Diane Dixon 50.5% to 49.5%. If this holds, the makeup of the Assembly will be a 60 seat Democratic majority, with 19 Republicans and one Independent (Assemblymember Chad Mayes AD-42). In the Senate, the Republican Caucus will shrink by at least two seats as John Moorlach (SD-37) and Ling Ling Chang (SD-29) lost their reelection campaigns to Dave Min and Josh Newman (who was recalled from this same Senate seat in 2018, when Senator Chang was elected). There is one Senate race that remains a close contest. In District 21, Scott Wilk ® is leading his opponent Kipp Mueller (D) 50.7% to 49.3%. If this lead holds, the Senate Republican Caucus will consist of nine members and the Democrats will have a 31 seat supermajority. There are just under one million ballots remaining to be counted, and California’s Secretary of State has until December 11 to certify the election. The most up to date election results can be found here.

Propositions

There were 12 propositions on the ballot in California this year. Below are the results as they stand today: 

  • Proposition 14 – Bonds to Continue Stem Cell Research

Yes 51%, No 49%

  • Proposition 15 – Split-roll Property Tax

Yes 48.1%, No 51.9%

  • Proposition 16 – Affirmative Action in Government Decisions 

Yes 43.1, No 56.9%

  • Proposition 17 – Restores Right to Vote After Prison Term

Yes 58.7%, No 41.3%

  • Proposition 18 – 17-year-old Primary Voting Rights

Yes 44.2%, No 55.8%

  • Proposition 19 – Changes Certain Property Tax Rules 

Yes 51.1%, No 48.9%

  • Proposition 20 – Parole Restrictions for Certain Offenses

Yes 38.1%, 61.9%

  • Proposition 21 – Expands Governments’ Authority to Rent Control 

Yes 40.2%, No 59.8%

  • Proposition 22 – App-Based Drivers and Employee Benefits 

Yes 58.6%, No 41.4%

  • Proposition 23 – State Requirements for Kidney Dialysis Clinics 

Yes 36.4%, No 63.6%

  • Proposition 24 – Amends Consumer Privacy Laws 

Yes 56.1%, No 43.9%

  • Proposition 25 – Eliminates Money Bail System 

Yes 43.8%, No 56.2%

California COVID-19 Statistics
 
California nears 1 million COVID-19 cases as positivity rate remains high. New cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations in California continue to rise according to the latest data released by state and local health departments. This is consistent with the rest of the country, which is experiencing record growth. THESE are the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.

  • County Status - Every week the state updates the list of counties on four colored tiers that allow for various degrees of modified business operation as part of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This week, there was significant movement of counties into more restrictive tiers, including Sacramento County,  which will force sectors to close or significantly cut back operations. The most recent updates leave the counties’ tier status as follows:

Purple: 13 counties 

Red: 22 counties 

Orange: 17 counties 

Yellow:  6 counties

Newsom Administration

California joins Oregon and Washington in issuing a travel advisory. Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom joined Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee in issuing a travel advisory ahead of the upcoming holiday season. As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the United States, west coast leaders are urging people to not partake in non-essential travel. People arriving from another state are urged to isolate for 14 days after arrival. The states are strongly urging residents to stay local and not travel for the holidays to reduce the risk of spread of the virus. The advisory can be found here. Below is a recap of additional actions and announcements:

  • Holiday Guidance - The California Department of Public Health released guidelines for how best to safely enjoy the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

 California Legislature 

Important Dates:

  • December 7 – 2021-22 Legislative Session Begins, new members sworn in

Members of the Legislature are using the interim recess to hold numerous hearings on timely issues affecting Californians. Below is a brief recap:
 

  • Monday, November 9 – The Assembly Natural Resources Committee held an informational hearing on expanding the use of prescribed fire including cultural burning to reduce California’s wildfire risk. Representatives from the department of Forestry and Fire, members of California’s Native Tribes, and academic specialists in forest policy were on hand to testify to the committee. 
  • Tuesday, November 10 – The Assembly Committee on Health held an informational hearing on health information exchange. Representatives from the Department of Health Care Services, academics, health care consultants and thought leaders from other states were on hand to provide testimony. Discussion centered around the benefits of a statewide approach versus a network of networks, coordination with public health, leveraging data sharing mandates to increase participation and the experience of other states, including Maryland. Weideman Group clients Blue Shield of California, SEIU and Manifest Medex provided testimony. 
  • Tuesday, November 10 – The Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6 and Assembly Governmental Organization Committee held a joint oversight hearing to provide an update on the state’s COVID-19 response. On hand to testify were representatives from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the Department of Finance, the Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of General Services. 
  • Thursday, November 12 – The Assembly Committee on Higher Education and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 2 on Education Finance held an informational hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on Postsecondary Education. On hand to testify were representatives from the University of California Office of the President, the California State University Chancellor’s Office, the Community College Chancellor’s Office, various community college districts, the University of Southern California, and the UC Student Association.  

Upcoming legislative hearings. The Assembly and Senate have several additional legislative hearings scheduled during the interim. Below are some of the hearings scheduled:

  • Tuesday, November 17 – The Assembly Health Committee will hold an informational hearing on health care industry consolidation and its impact on California’s health care prices
  • Tuesday, November 17 – The Assembly Labor and Employment Committee will hold an informational hearing on safeguarding our frontline workers during COVID-19
  • Tuesday, November 17 – The Senate Human Services Committee will hold an informational hearing on food assistance for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Wednesday, November 18 – The Assembly Agriculture Committee will hold an informational hearing on the impacts of wildfires on agriculture
  • Monday, November 23 – The Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing on the role of private insurance in COVID care.

 Regulatory Agencies and Department Actions

Multiple departments provide updates on their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the wildfires. Here are some highlights:

  • UCSD Tents - The University of San Diego will put up tents for classes and study spaces to curb the spread of COVID-19 on the campus. 
  • UC Expands Math - With class availability short due to COVID-19, the UC system has expanded its list of courses for the math requirements for admission. 
  • Wildfire Cleanup - California has started the process of safely removing residential wildfire debris from over 5,600 properties across the state after more than 8,000 climate-induced wildfires burned 4.1 million acres in recent months.
  • Victim Food Benefits - The California Department of Social Services announced that individuals and families impacted by wildfires in Fresno, Madera, San Bernardino, San Diego, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Siskiyou, Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties may be eligible to receive Disaster CalFresh food benefits as part of continuing disaster recovery efforts.
  • Wildfire Aid Deadline - Individuals and households with losses due to August and September wildfires in Butte, Lake, Lassen, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Tulare, and Yolo counties have two weeks left to apply for grants from FEMA or low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The deadline is November 21. 

Federal Government

Senate returns with no signs of deal on next COVID-19 relief package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that passing a stimulus bill would be his top priority when the senate returns, but a deal has not yet been made.  Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer stated they have no intention of changing their starting point of $2 trillion for a package to provide relief to local governments as well as additional stimulus checks. While leaders in both parties continue to acknowledge the necessity of an additional stimulus, there is no consensus on the amount and they have signaled that there may not be an agreement on a package until the next congress convenes. Below is a recap of additional federal actions:

  • Spending Plan - To head off a government shutdown, Senate Republicans have introduced a $1.4 trillion spending plan. The plan does not contain COVID-19 relief. The deadline to avoid a shutdown is December 11. 
  • CDC Mask Update - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated its face covering recommendations, and now state that masks don’t just protect the public, but the individual wearer as well. The guidance can be found here
  • COVID Transition Advisors - President Elect Joe Biden has named 13 experts to advise his transmission team on their COVID-19 pandemic response. 
  • CDC Thanksgiving Guidelines - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for the upcoming Thanksgiving day holiday. The guidance can be found here
  • Daily Case Record - Thursday, the US broke its daily case record by recording more than 152,000 new COVID-19 cases. 
  • Federal Deficit - The Federal Deficit has hit $284 billion in the first months of the fiscal year.

Local Action

Local governments continue to take actions they deem appropriate given their unique circumstances. Here are some highlights:

  • Bay Area Travel - Bay area counties have issued guidance for travel and gatherings for the upcoming holiday. 
  • Golden Gate Tolls - The Golden Gate Bridge District will consider raising tolls to avoid layoffs as they feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic induced recession. 
  • San Francisco Delays School Return - The San Francisco School Board pushed back plans for students to return to in-person class to January 25. 
  • San Francisco Pauses Reopening - As cases begin to spike in California, San Francisco is pausing its plans for indoor dining.  
  • Public Health Councils - Los Angeles County has approved a program to allow workers to form public health councils to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Resources

  • 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