Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
June 5, 2020

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California Statistics

California cases continue to stabilize as the state moves further into reopening. Compliance with the stay at home order has given the Governor and public health authorities the confidence to continue reopening the state, but they urge compliance with physical distancing to minimize a potential surge in positive COVID-19 cases. THESE are the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.

Newsom Administration

Governor Newsom navigates reopening and addresses demonstrations happening across the state. The Governor spent the week addressing community concerns following the death of George Floyd while continuing to lead the state’s efforts against COVID-19. Here is a recap of recent actions and announcements:

  • Tribal-State Testing Roundtable - Governor Newsom’s Tribal Advisor Christina Snider, Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the CA Health and Human Services Agency, and Dr. Charity Dean, Co-Chair of the Governor’s Testing Task Force, held a roundtable with tribal leaders and tribal health experts to discuss the challenges and solutions to improve COVID-19 testing in tribal communities and enterprises. 
  • Additional Opening Guidance - The California Department of Public Health released additional guidance to allow bars, gyms, casinos, and more to begin opening.
  • Policing and Criminal Justice Reforms - Governor Newsom announced he will work toward a statewide standard for policing peaceful protests and ending the carotid chokehold in California. 
  • Election Executive Order - Governor Newsom issued an executive order to ensure adequate in-person voting options in the upcoming November General Election. The order ensures that in-person voting is available in sufficient numbers to maintain physical distancing, requires counties to provide three days of early voting if they are unable to comply with mail in ballots, and requires ballot drop-box locations be available between October 6 and November 3. The text of the order can be found here.
  • Eviction Halt Extended - Governor Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through July 28, 2020.
  • DMV Services -  Governor Newsom issued an executive order extending the waiver permitting the Department of Motor Vehicles to allow for mail-in renewals of driver’s licenses and identification cards. 
  • Child Care - Governor Newsom issued an executive order waiving certain programmatic and administrative requirements that restrict child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential workers. The text of the order can be found here.
  • Newsom Cleans Up - Governor Newsom joined community members in Sacramento to help clean up some of the damage following the protests.
  • Stockton Community Leaders - Governor Newsom met with Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and community and youth leaders to discuss racism, systemic injustice and how we move forward as a state.
  • Los Angeles Community Leaders - Governor Newsom met with community and elected leaders in Los Angeles following demonstrations resulting from the death of George Floyd.

Regulatory Agencies and Department Actions

Numerous departments navigate the reopening. Here are some highlights:

  • DMV Encourages Online Services - The Department of Motor Vehicles is encouraging people to utilize their new online renewal system following an executive order from the Governor waiving the requirement to renew in person. 
  • State Parking Lots Reopen - The California State Parks announced they have reopened all state park parking lots allowing Californians to once again enjoy the outdoors. 
  • $2.2 Billion Paid - The Employment Development Department reports that over $2.2 billion in unemployment benefits have been paid to Californians since March 15th. They have received more than 5.6 million unemployment insurance claims since the beginning of the pandemic. 
  • By the Numbers - CalOES released a graphic of the numbers as of June 1 detailing the use of services the state set up to battle COVID-19 including PPE distribution, hotel rooms secured, and meals served. 
  • Thurmond  Addresses Implicit Bias and Racism - Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that the California Department of Education has received a $500,000 philanthropic grant to train all of the Department’s employees in implicit bias and to create guidance for school districts across California to help them accelerate their efforts to dismantle systemic racism in education.

California Legislature

Important Dates:

  • June 15 – Budget Must Be Passed
  • June 19 – Assembly House of Origin Deadline
  • June 19 – July 13 -  Assembly Summer Recess
  • June 26 – Senate House of Origin Deadline
  • July 2 – July 13 -  Senate Summer Recess
  • August 31 – Last Day of Session

Legislature introduces joint budget agreement. The Assembly and Senate announced and released their joint budget plan. The Legislature’s plan rejects the Governor’s cuts to education and vital health/social services. Using deferrals and cost shifts, a greater allocation of the rainy day fund, the legislative package allows for increased funding of vital services while ending the fiscal year with $1 billion more in reserves than the Governor’s May Revise. Unlike the Governor’s May revision, the legislative package assumes that federal aid will be provided to the state and sets back the date of trigger cuts to October 1st — the Governor’s plan sets the trigger date to July 1st. If California does receive additional federal aid, there is little difference between the Governor’s May revision and the legislative proposal as it restores funding for programs that would otherwise be cut. 

Budget Process Moving Forward. Now that the Legislature has an agreed upon budget plan, leadership and the Governor will move forward in negotiations to resolve disagreements. There are a number of significant disagreements between the Governor and Legislature — county realignment, education spending and timing of triggers — but it is expected that there will be a balanced budget passed by the June 15 deadline. In his press conference Friday, the Governor made clear he will not budge on allowing the Legislature to redistribute $4.4 billion from his plan intended for concentration funding for black and brown communities, those that are former foster youths, low income, and English as second language learners.

Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6  held an informational hearing on the package. Members of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6 on Budget Oversight and Process provided an overview of the Legislative’s budget plan and took the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind some of their actions that differ from the Governor’s budget proposal.  A significant point of discussion was the Cap and Trade program. Several members expressed concerns over a proposal to allow the California Air Resources Board to conduct a new rulemaking for the Cap and Trade program as revenues from the most recent auction were below projections. Members stated that such an allocation to allow the rule change should be done through the regular legislative process and not via the budget.

Senate Budget Fiscal Review Committee to hold a hearing on June 12. The full membership of the Senate Budget Committee is set to meet on June 12 to hear and vote out the budget bills containing the final agreed upon Legislative budget deal. These bills might be slightly different than the current Legislative plan because they will reflect progress in the negotiations with the Governor. Once these budget bills are voted out of committee, they will move to the Senate and Assembly Floors for a full vote of the houses. 

Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response to hold their second hearing.  This Special Committee is set to hold a hearing Wednesday at 9AM to discuss the COVID-19 impact on skilled nursing facilities and discuss solutions. Communal living facilities have been hotspots for outbreaks of COVID-19. Seniors in skilled nursing facilities are especially high risk with a 73% death rate among seniors that contract the virus. The state sent strike teams to Imperial County and others because of the extreme outbreaks in these facilities and has trained staff through healthcorps.ca.gov to be deployed to these facilities should they be needed. 

Federal Government

Congressional leaders resume talks. After weeks of Republicans signaling a reluctance to pass further aid, congressional leaders have entered talks for a new package that will extend the paycheck protection program and $600 unemployment benefits set to expire on July 1st. Here are highlights of federal actions:

Paycheck Protection Program - After a troubled roll out and having to extend funds for a program to allow small business owners to keep staff on payroll, Congress has passed a fix to a program small business owners around the country are calling vital. 

No New Checks -  As talks of a further aid bill continue to dominate capitol hill, Congressional Republicans have signaled they are not open to authorizing another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. 

Jobless Rate Drops - The May jobs report showed the national unemployment rate of 13.3% as businesses start to reopen and slowly hire. 

Federal Testing Guidelines - The US Department of Health and Human Services released new guidelines for reporting of demographic data for COVID-19 testing. 

Local Action

With stay-at-home requirements continuing to ease, local governments continue reopening. Here are some highlights at the local level:

  • San Diego Continues to prevent Evictions - As the state still battles the economic difficulties of COVID-19, San Diego County has extended its moratorium on evictions for commercial and residential renters. 
  • Placer County Cases Increase - Placer County COVID-19 cases have increased by 33% since the county has begun the reopening process. 
  • Closed Sites - Closed testing sites in Los Angeles following protests are worrying health officials as cases top 120,00 statewide and social distance is ignored. 

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