Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
January 22, 2021
The spread of COVID-19 across California and the country is impacting everyone’s personal and professional lives. To ensure you are receiving the most up to date and pertinent information, Weideman Group is closely monitoring actions being taken by the state (Governor, Legislature, regulatory agencies) and the federal government. We will be sharing the most significant COVID-19 and other important information with you on a periodic basis. Below is a summary of relevant news from this past week.
This Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. Kamala Harris, former U.S. Senator for California and California Attorney General, was sworn in as the first female, first African American, and first Asian American to serve as Vice President. Later in the day, former California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was sworn in to succeed VP Harris becoming the first Latino US Senator from California. Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber has been selected by Governor Gavin Newsom to replace Padilla as Secretary of State and will be the first African American woman to hold that position. Dr. Weber will be considered by the Special Committee on the Office of the Secretary of State on Tuesday, January 26th at 3:00 pm and must be confirmed by both the California Assembly and Senate. We expect this confirmation to go smoothly.
Also headed to Washington as part of the new Biden Administration are several notable figures from California. Xavier Bacerra, California Attorney General is awaiting confirmation to become Biden’s HHS Secretary, Steve Cliff, former Deputy Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board will be joining the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the Deputy Administrator. Janea Scott, Vice Chair of the California Energy Commission will be joining the Department of the Interior as Counselor to the Secretary. Philip Fine of the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California will be joining the Environmental Protection Agency as the Principal Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy. Weideman Group enjoys strong relationships with these new appointees and looks forward to working with them.
Biden Unveils COVID-19 Plan
President Biden unveiled his plan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and signed executive orders designed to help slow the spread of the disease. The orders include requiring masks to be worn at federal buildings and on airplanes, requiring international travelers to quarantine, establishing federal testing, ramping up production of personal protective equipment, and using the Defense Production Act to increase the production of COVID-19 vaccines. Details on the President’s plan can be found here.
In the coming days, the President is expected to sign numerous executive orders associated with Medicaid, Pell Grants, SNAP, unemployment insurance, collective bargaining rights for federal employees, procuring goods and services from sources that will support U.S. businesses and workers, climate change, national security, and immigration policy.
California Senate Republican Leadership Change
The California Senate Republican Caucus unanimously elected a new Republican Leader, Senator Scott Wilk, who recently won his reelection bid in a highly contested purple seat. This change comes on the heels of Senate Republicans losing two seats in November under the leadership of Senator Shannon Grove. Senator Wilk is considered a moderate that is known for being effective and has demonstrated a willingness to cross party lines on issues. Weideman Group enjoys a strong relationship with Senator Wilk and looks forward to working with him in his new leadership position.
As we previously reported, due to the demand on large committee rooms necessary for members of the Legislature to appropriately socially distance themselves during official business, budgetary subcommittees will conduct work in a different manner this year. The committees will be meeting much earlier than normal and are aiming to get the bulk of their work completed during February and March. The Assembly Budget schedule can be found here and the Senate Budget schedule can be found here.
Pandemic Showing Modest Signs of Slowing
California continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic with the state deploying 3,456 surge staff to relieve stress on the system. The 7-day positivity rate has come down to 9.3%, though the state is still seeing a 7-day average of 479 deaths. 3,989,850 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been shipped to California. The state has announced COVID vaccinations will be made available to all individuals 65 years and older, in line with recent CDC recommendations designed to ramp up vaccination efforts. It is recommended that individuals check in with their local public health officials to verify the availability of the vaccine for this new population as vaccine protocols vary by county. The state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan noted in a recent call that it could take until June to vaccinate those over 65 at the state’s current pace. Today, the Administration did a soft launch of MYTURN.CA.GOV, a website designed so people can find out if/when they’re eligible for the vaccine and schedule appointments. The website is live in LA County now, and will go statewide next week.
- 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