Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
June 19, 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. THESE are the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.

Newsom Administration Issues Mandatory Mask Order

Statewide Face Mask Order - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued guidance on Thursday, June 18 requiring Californians wear face coverings when out in public.  This order comes on the heels of rising COVID caseloads and a rash of resignations by public health officers, including California’s second-in-command at the Department of Public Health and co-chair of the Testing Task Force, Dr. Charity Dean.  

California Legislature

Important Dates:

  • June 19 – Assembly House of Origin Deadline
  • June 19 – July 13 -  Assembly Summer Recess
  • June 25 – Last Day for Legislative Measures to Qualify for the Ballot
  • June 26 – Senate House of Origin Deadline
  • July 2 – July 13 -  Senate Summer Recess
  • August 31 – Last Day of Session

Legislature votes on a placeholder budget while negotiations with the Governor continue.  With the California Constitution requiring the Legislature pass a balanced budget bill by midnight on June 15, the Senate and the Assembly passed a placeholder budget on Monday. The Legislature also passed budget trailer bills to temporarily suspend tax credits related to net operating loss and business tax credits, which is estimated to raise $4.4 billion. The Governor has not taken action on any of the budget bills the Legislature approved on Monday.

Legislature expected to vote next week on a budget deal and on bills to place a measure on the November ballot. As we have previously communicated, legislative leadership and the Governor are working to reach an agreement before the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1st.  Reports indicate it could come as early as today. Although the Assembly began their summer recess, they are expected to come back on June 25 to vote on a budget deal with the Governor. The Assembly Budget Committee will also hold a hearing on the potential budget agreement next week. Over the next week, the Legislature is expected to vote on a number of bills seeking to place measures on the November ballot–June 25 is the last day to pass these bills. The high profile constitutional amendments include ACA 5ACA 6ACA 25, and SCA6

Budget process moving forward. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis it caused resulted in a non-traditional budget process. Once the Legislature and Governor have reached full consensus on a budget we should expect a “budget bill Jr.” next week, but budget actions will likely last through the end of August. 

Assembly Education Committee holds informational hearing on reopening schools. The Assembly Education Committee held an informational hearing on Tuesday, June 16  regarding reopening schools in the fall. On hand to testify were representatives from the California Department of Education, representatives from local school districts, and parents and teachers. The CDE guidance includes enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures, social distancing protocols, mandated facial coverings, and flexibility for both in person classroom teaching and distance learning. The Committee also discussed the digital divide and the fact that while progress has been made, there are still too many students that lack access to equipment and internet access. 

Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response. The Senate Special Committee will be holding a joint hearing with the Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had in California’s border region. This hearing will take place on Tuesday, June 30 at 10AM.

Newsom Administration

Governor Newsom provides updates and takes additional steps that will assist with the State’s COVID response. Here is a recap of recent actions and announcements:

  • Statewide Vote By Mail - Governor Newsom signed AB 860 (Berman), which codifies the Governor’s executive order ensuring every eligible California voter receives a vote-by-mail ballot for the November General Election. 
  • Omnibus Executive Order - Governor Newsom signed an executive order temporarily extending waivers broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into CalWORKs, extends permission for commercially-licensed food trucks to operate in roadside rest areas to ensure essential infrastructure workers have access to food, suspends face-to-face visits for eligibility for extended foster care, and extends deadlines related to the payment of real estate license applications and renewals. The text of the executive order can be found here.
  • Task Force Letter on Economic Justice - Governor Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery issued an open letter calling out the insidious effect of structural racism across society, including the economy, and urging business and civic leaders to take a stand against injustice as the state and nation works to rebuild, for a more inclusive and resilient economy.  A copy of the letter can be found here. 
  • Summer Reading Challenge - First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom launched a 5 week summer reading program to encourage families to support their local libraries. 

COVID-19 Spending 

In early March, the Legislature authorized $1 billion in general funds for the Governor to fight COVID-19. To date, the Administration has spent $826.8 million of the monies on pandemic response and $1.4 billion from the Disaster Response-Emergency Operations Account (DREOA), mostly on a contract to procure masks for industries across the state. The Department of Finance issued a letter on June 17 informing the Joint Legislative Budget Committee that the Administration is allocating $16 million to assist counties in housing prisoners that were not transferred to state prisons in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A full breakdown of the state’s COVID-19 spending can be found here

Regulatory Agencies and Department Actions

Numerous departments navigate the reopening. Here are some highlights:

  • Online Classes - Three additional campuses of the University of California announced they plan to offer most of their fall classes online. 
  • Capitol Protests - The California Highway Patrol will resume issuing permits at the Capitol, allowing protests and assemblies to take place on Capitol grounds.
  • Unemployment Tops $30 billion - The Employment Development Department announced that unemployment benefits distributed in the state have topped $30 billion. 

Federal Government

House Democrats introduce a new measure, the Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a sweeping $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that included $25 billion for drinking water, $100 billion for broadband, $70 billion for clean energy projects, $100 billion for low income schools, $30 billion to upgrade hospitals, $100 billion in funding for public housing, and $25 billion for the postal service. Like the HEROES Act, it is very unlikely that the Senate will take this bill up for a vote unless there’s a deal between the two houses. Here is a recap of recent federal actions and announcements:

  • Police Reform Executive Order - President Trump signed an executive order aimed at guiding police reform. Congress is working on a measure seeking to enact some police reforms. 
  • National Parks - The Senate passed a bipartisan bill approving billions in new funding for infrastructure in the nation’s national parks. 

Local Action

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

  • Ventura Mask Ordinance - The city of Ventura will require residents to wear masks in public, following similar orders as cases in the state continue to rise. 
  • Sacramento Business Loans - The City of Sacramento is offering small business forgivable loans of up to $25,000 to help the city’s struggling small business community. 
  • San Diego Hits Trigger - With cases on the rise, San Diego has hit a trigger which requires officials to reexamine their reopening plans and scale back. 

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