Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
June 12, 2020

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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 information with you on a periodic basis. Here is a summary of important information from this past week. 

California Statistics

California cases continue to rise as California moves further into reopening. The 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 the surge in positive COVID-19 cases. CLICK HERE for the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.

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 to vote on a bare bones budget Monday while negotiations with the Governor continue.  The California Constitution requires the Legislature to pass a balanced budget bill by midnight on June 15. The Senate Pro Tempore and Speaker of the Assembly announced they will meet this constitutional deadline by voting on the Legislature’s Budget Plan, which does not have the full support of the Governor, on Monday. They will also vote on several other budget bills where the Legislature and the Governor have reached consensus, and they will continue negotiations with the Governor on outstanding items post-June 15. There are a number of significant disagreements between the Governor and Legislature — county realignment, education spending, and timing of trigger cuts — but they are hopeful that an agreement can be reached before the new fiscal year starts on July 1. The Senate Budget Committee met today and the Assembly Budget Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday morning to provide the members and the public an opportunity to view and comment on budget bills that will be passed Monday afternoon. Earlier today, the Assembly released an updated report on the budget. 

Budget process moving forward. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downfall it caused created a non-traditional budget process. Given there is not full alignment on the budget at this time, there will be significant budgetary activity after June 15. Once the Legislature and Governor have reached full consensus on a budget we should expect a Budget Bill Jr. and additional budget trailer bill activity that will continue to amend the budget passed on the 15th and will likely last through the end of August. 

Legislature holds hearings on the impact of COVID on skilled nursing facilities. The Assembly Health and the Aging and Long Term Care Committees held a joint hearing on the impact COVID has had on skilled nursing facility residents and staff. The Senate Special Committee on Pandemic and Emergency Response held a similar meeting on the topic. Skilled nursing facilities have been hot spots for COVID-19 outbreaks and have faced some of the highest numbers of deaths and infections. The committees heard panelists such as the Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County, industry, and patient advocates. Panelists provided details on the challenges they face, steps they’ve taken to minimize the spread, and made recommendations to the Legislature on what the state can do to assist in these efforts. Panelists highlighted that the lack of PPE and testing were significant problems and still continue to face challenges in these two areas. Others called for additional support from the state (e.g. funding, staff, PPE) and called for more stringent standards (e.g. require minimum staffing levels, and enhance enforcement). 

Assembly Education Committee to hold an informational hearing on reopening schools. The Assembly Education Committee will be holding an informational hearing on Tuesday where they will discuss the pathway to safely reopening schools. The California Department of Education recently released guidance for the safe reopening of schools and this will likely be discussed at length during the informational hearing.

Newsom Administration

Governor Newsom continued toward reopening the state and addressed community concerns surrounding long-standing systematic racial injustices. Here is a recap of recent actions and announcements:

  • COVID-19 Manufacturing - Governor Newsom issued an executive order that allows the temporary manufacture of over-the-counter drugs and medical devices (e.g. ventilators) by firms not currently licensed by the California Department of Public Health. The goal is that there will be an increase in the supply chain for items such as hand sanitizer and other medical devices during the pandemic. Text of the order can be found here
  • Statutory Deadlines Extended - Governor Newsom issued an executive order that extends statutory deadlines related to the time frame of when a petition for reconsideration is deemed to have been denied by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, and for the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to act on decisions by the Workers’ Compensation judges. Text of the order can be found here.
  • N95 Masks - Governor Newsom announced that the N95 masks produced by BYD, who has already delivered tens millions of surgical masks to California, have received the necessary federal certification and the state will be dispersing them immediately. 
  • Anticipation in Increase of COVID+ Cases - Governor Newsom noted that as the state responsibly reopens the economy, there will be an increase in positive cases, but made it clear that we are better positioned to address an increase now that the state has increased testing ability, hospital capacity, and a supply of ventilators. The state metrics continue to inform the decision for moving forward with reopening.
  • Oakland Leaders - Governor Newsom met with community and business leaders in Oakland where they discussed racism, systemic injustice and how the demonstrations across the state are fueling reforms.

Regulatory Agencies and Department Actions

Numerous departments navigate the reopening. Here are some highlights:

  • CDE Guidelines - The California Department of Education released guidelines for safely reopening schools for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. The guidance document can be found here
  • Judicial Council - The State Judicial Council voted to end zero bail for low level offenses but continue to block eviction and foreclosure cases from going forward. 
  • DMV Reopening - The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it will open the remaining field offices that had been closed during the state’s shutdown. 

Federal Government

Congressional leaders have not made progress on another relief package, but discussions around police reform are moving forward. After two weeks of sustained protests nationwide, congressional Democrats have turned their attention to banning chokeholds nationwide and addressing use of force by police around the nation by introducing sweeping police reform legislation. Here is a recap of recent federal actions and announcements:

  • Potential Second Stimulus Package - Treasury Secretary Mnuchin hints that the Trump Administration is seriously considering a second round of stimulus checks as people are still reeling from the pandemic impact. 
  • Long Road to Recovery - The Congressional Budget Office released a report stating it could take the United States nine years to recover from the recession caused by COVID-19. 
  • Security Funds - Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he may ease the rules for $17 billion set aside from $2 trillion stimulus for national security companies. 

Local Action

With stay-at-home requirements continuing to ease, local governments continue on their journey of reopening. Here are some highlights:

  • Sacramento Area Opens - The counties of Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and El Dorado have concurred that they all should move forward with reopening. The counties will allow schools, movie theaters, bars, campsites, casinos, gyms, museums, hotels, day camps, and zoos to reopen starting today. 
  • Santa Clara Testing - Santa Clara County announced they are ordering hospitals and labs to increase COVID-19 testing. 
  • No Masks in Orange County - Orange County has rescinded their previous action of requiring face coverings in public. This comes after the resignation of the County’s local public health officer who received numerous threats for her recommendation to require masks.
  • Los Angeles County - Los Angeles County officials stated COVID transmission continues to worsen as they move forward with reopening.

 

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