Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
February 19th, 2021
$9.6 Billion Stimulus Deal Reached
This week legislative leaders reached a deal with Governor Newsom. The new $9.6 billion package includes small business and nonprofit relief grants, tax and fee relief focused on small businesses, payments for low-income workers, CalWORKs eligibility expansion, additional aid for food and diaper banks, child care stipends, and more. This package was made possible through federal funds and a one-time state budget windfall. This week, the Department of Finance released their February finance bulletin that notes that January cash receipts were $7.453 billion above projections in the budget forecast. While this is welcome news, these numbers are still well below the pre-pandemic projections and a multi-year budget shortfall is still expected. The full bulletin can be found here.
Today is the last day members of the Legislature can introduce bills for this first year of the legislative session. Proposals on items such as healthcare affordability, renewable energy, police decertification, broadband and climate change have already been introduced but we expect hundreds of additional bills to be introduced today and become publicly available over the weekend. In order to begin processing the legislative workload in a challenging COVID environment, legislative leaders from both parties have reached an agreement to suspend the 30-day in print rule. In a typical year, a bill must be in print for 30 days before it can be amended or acted upon in a policy hearing. Suspending this rule will allow the legislature to expedite legislative activity and hopefully avoid a backlog as we approach the policy bill deadline at the end of April.
Newsom Recall Efforts Underway
The group Rescue California is inching closer to securing the necessary signatures required to trigger a recall election for Governor Newsom. The group has until March 17th to submit the necessary 1,495,709 valid signatures. The Secretary of State then has until April 29th to verify the signatures are valid and accounted for. If the Secretary of State determines there are sufficient signatures for the recall to move forward, the Department of Finance will provide a cost estimate for the recall election and the legislative budget committees will have 30 days to review and comment on the estimate. Following that 30 day period, the Secretary of State will certify the recall and the Lieutenant Governor will be required to set a date for the recall election to be held between 60 and 80 days after the certification of the signatures. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer has already declared his candidacy for governor, assuming there will be a recall election. President Biden has publicly come out against the recall of Governor Newsom.
Governor Newsom continued his tour of vaccination sites in the state this week with stops in the Coachella Valley, the federal mass vaccination site at CSULA, and a mobile clinic in Alameda County prioritizing educators. Beginning March 1, the state will be setting aside 10% of its allocated vaccines to prioritize vaccinating educators and childcare staff starting with a baseline of 75,000 doses.
Vaccination transmission rates in California are greatly improving, though vaccine supply coming into the state continues to be the number one bottleneck California faces. Positivity rates over the last month have dropped from 11% to 3%, positive cases have dropped from 42,000 to just over 4,000. There has been a 38% reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past 14 days, with a 33% reduction in ICU admissions. The R-effective rate of spread is down to 0.65, a figure not seen in California in months. The state has vaccinated over 6.9 million people and is averaging 200,000 vaccinations a day. Almost 1.4 million vaccines have been administered in California just in the last week. The Governor has stated that California must continue to address equity issues in the vaccine distribution.
This morning the Governor announced new guidelines that will allow for outdoor contact sports including football. Counties with less than 14 cases per 100,000 individuals will be able to resume these activities starting February 26. 19 counties are currently eligible to resume youth sports under the updated guidance.
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
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 updates can be found here
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