Weideman Group COVID-19 Update
June 26, 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 and mask wearing 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 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

The Legislature and the Governor reach a budget deal. After passing a placeholder budget to meet the June 15th constitutional deadline, Legislative leadership and the Governor announced a budget deal on Monday. The budget preserves critical safety net programs for Californians as they face intense financial pressures from the pandemic induced recession – while some programs have been scaled back, they have found new ways to bring in revenue and maintained a number of trigger cuts that will take effect if California does not receive additional federal assistance. 

The Legislature is poised to pass the new budget agreement tonight.  The California Assembly returned to work today from their summer recess to vote on the new spending plan that closes the state’s estimated $54.3 billion deficit. Today’s votes comes after the state Senate approved the $202.1 billion spending plan late Thursday night, hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a “budget emergency” for the first time. The move gives the Legislature permission to take nearly $8 billion from the state’s primary savings account to avoid even deeper spending cuts amid an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus and a subsequent stay-at-home order that has caused more than 6.7 million Californians to file for unemployment benefits. A detailed look into the final budget deal can be found in the Assembly’s Floor Report.  In addition to passing the budget bill jr., which amends the budget previously passed to implement the new agreement, the Assembly is voting on almost 20 trailer bills that expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to undocumented individuals, temporarily suspend tax credits related to net operating losses and business tax credits, and implement cuts in funding to the public higher education systems. With the tax filing deadline on July 15, we expect additional budget action will take place in the last few weeks of the legislative session. 

Numerous constitutional amendments qualify for the November ballot. Facing a June 25th deadline to pass legislative measures that will place a bill on the November General Election ballot, the Legislature passed a number of constitutional amendments. These measures include ACA 5 and ACA 6, which would repeal the Prop 209 ban on affirmative action and grant voting rights to felons on parole if passed by the voters in November. Even though the deadline to qualify legislative measures was yesterday, the Legislature is hoping to buy themselves an extra few days by passing SB 300, which will allow ACA 4ACA 11 and ACA 25 to be on the ballot if they are passed on or before July 1st. The Legislature is winding down for a short summer recess and will reconvene on July 13th. 

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.

Senate Public Safety Committee to hold an informational hearing on COVID-19 in California state prisons. As COVID-19 has been spreading in state prisons, most notably at San Quentin state prison where there are currently 497 known cases, the Senate Public Safety Committee, chaired by Senator Nancy Skinner, will hold an informational hearing on Wednesday July 1 at 10AM. The hearing will delve into the state’s efforts to protect inmates as they are held in high capacity facilities with little ability to socially distance. 

Newsom Administration

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

  • Safely Making CA - Governor Newsom announced the launch of SafelyMakingCA.org, an online platform designed to encourage California based manufacturing and purchasing of protective gear. This site came to fruition thanks to a partnership between the Governor’s Office, Go-Biz, CalOES, CMTA, Weideman Group client Autodesk, and others. Autodesk, not only played a pivotal role in the roll out of the site but is granting free licenses for its cloud-based collaboration software so manufacturers can upload designs and specifications directly to the portal.
  • CalCAT - Governor Newsom announced that the state is making available to the public the model the state has been using to project COVID-19 numbers. The Governor encouraged mathematicians, those familiar with AI, and all people in the state to use the model and have even made the source code available.
  • Budget Emergency - Governor Newsom declared a budget emergency which allows the state to draw down additional monies from the Rainy Day Fund to round out the budget as well as assist in the state’s COVID-19 response efforts. The text of the proclamation can be found here
  • Imperial County – Governor Newsom announced that he is advising Imperial County to reinstate their stay-at-home order. Imperial County is one of the hardest hit counties where positivity rates continue to increase, their resources are limited, and their hospital capacity is at a max.
  • Summer of Service - First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday announced the Summer of Service this week. The initiative allows young Californians the opportunity to support organizations providing essential services and to receive recognition for their commitment.
  • Advanced SEL in California - Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond, and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom launched an initiative to have parents, students, and educators engage in stronger Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). 
  • Retail Executive Order - Governor Newsom issued an executive order that allows retailers to temporarily pause in-store redemption of beverage containers and temporarily suspends the requirement for recycling centers to hold a minimum number of hours of operation. The text of the order can be found here

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 and respirators for industries across the state. The Legislature will be approving an additional $716 million for COVID spending in the budget. 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:

  • Clean Truck Rules - The California Air Resources Board issued new rules Thursday that will encourage the increased sale of electric trucks and delivery vans. 
  • Driving Tests - The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it would resume behind the wheel driving tests today with new safety protocols. 
  • 100,000 Masks Cleaned - The California Office of Emergency Services announced that over 10,000 masks have been successfully decontaminated with a state of the art cleaning system developed by Battelle.
  • $33.5 Billion Distributed - The California Employment Development Department announced that they have issued more than $33.5 billion in unemployment benefits and have processed over 6.7 million claims. 
  • UC San Diego Classes - The University of California, San Diego announced plans to partially resume in-person classes this fall and will offer free COVID testing to students and faculty. 

Federal Government

Congressional Leadership continues to show no signs of advancing additional coronavirus aid. Weeks after the Democratic led house passed the HEROES Act, a $3 trillion relief package, it sits stalled in the Republican controlled Senate that has not shown interest in moving any additional forms of aid at this time. With funds and programs authorized by the CARES Act set to expire at the end of the month, many anxiously look to Capitol Hill for additional relief. Here is a recap of recent federal actions and announcements:

  • Trump Considering Ending Emergency - The Trump Administration is considering significantly scaling back the national emergency declaration for the virus, including ending funding to several federally ran testing sites. 
  • Affordable Care Act - The Trump Administration has filed a legal brief urging the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. 
  • Democrats to Block Reform Bill - Congressional Democrats have signaled their intention to block a Republican authored bill on police reform, calling the bill provisions weak. 

Local Action

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

  • Santa Cruz Beaches Open - The County of Santa Cruz will lift some of its closures restrictions, known to be some of the strictest in the state, and reopen their beaches for public use. 
  • School Masks - School leaders in Orange County discuss plans to reopen schools without facemask requirements and little social distancing. 
  • Garcetti Urges Stay-At-Home - As cases continue to spark in Los Angeles County, the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti pleaded with Angelenos to stay at home to help curb the rising numbers. 

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