Weideman Group Update
August 7, 2020

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California Statistics

California cases continue to rise at a slower pace and the state sees a leveling off of deaths and hospitalizations. State officials continue to urge residents to abide by the physical distancing and mask order to minimize the spread as California tops 10,000 COVID-19 deaths. CLICK HERE for the most recent facts released by the Department of Public Health.

California Legislature 

Important Dates:

  • August 31 – Last Day of Session
  • September 30 – Last Day for the Governor to Sign or Veto Bills
  • November 3 – General Election
  • December 7 – 2021-22 Legislative Session Begins

Assembly passes a resolution that will allow proxy voting. The Assembly approved HR 100, which authorizes the Assembly to proxy vote for bills on the Assembly Floor. Under HR 100, members would need to submit a request for each legislative day they want to be represented by a proxy. HR 100 only allows Speaker Rendon, Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, and Assembly Minority Floor Leader Heath Flora to act as the proxies. Members in support of the resolution argued this resolution was needed given the current public health crisis and the need to protect those legislators who are in a higher risk group. The members in opposition argued that proxy voting is a violation of the Constitution and is contrary to representative government. 

Legislators send Governor a letter demanding he fix EDD.  Following last week’s intense Assembly Budget oversight hearing on the Employment Development Department, a partisan group of 61 legislators led by Assemblymember David Chiu sent Governor Newsom a letter arguing that the Governor’s EDD Strike Team does not go far enough in efforts to deal with the magnitude of issues EDD is facing. The letter also calls on the Governor to commit to eliminating the nearly 1 million backlog cases earlier than his end of September target date. This issue will be a continuous challenge the Administration and Legislature will be dealing with for the months to come.

 Budget committees hold informational hearings on pending trailer bills. The Assembly Budget Subcommittee 5 on Public Safety held an informational hearing on the realignment proposal for the Division of Juvenile Justice. Experts were on hand to discuss policies that would divert youth to counties, counties would receive a payment of $125,000 a year per youth, provide ongoing grants for the establishment of evidence based approaches that are trauma-informed, and promote public safety best practices. The Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6 on Budget Process and Oversight and the Assembly Banking Committee held a joint informational hearing on the proposal for the Consumer Financial Protection and Innovation. The California Department of Business Oversight was on hand to testify along with representatives from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and the Department of Finance. If enacted, DBO would be renamed CFPI and would authorize the department to take enforcement actions against financial service providers for unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices. 

Newsom Administration

Governor Newsom provides updates and takes additional steps that will assist with the State’s COVID-19 response. Here is a recap of recent actions and announcements:

  • CalREDIE Technical Issues - Governor Newsom’s Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, announced this week that the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE), the system the state uses to collect and aggregate data on COVID-19 positive cases, has been experiencing  severe technical issues that have led to the underreporting of positive cases and has hampered the ability for the state system to pass along information to local public health departments. The Secretary announced that the system is being completely overhauled to give it the capability to handle the large volume of data coming in. This overhaul is CHHS’s top priority.
  • November Election - Governor Newsom signed SB 423 (Umberg), which allows counties to open up a limited number of in-person voting sites as long as they are opening several days before Election Day and they conduct voter outreach informing them of the in-person options.
  • Central Valley Help - Governor Newsom’s Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, stated that the state’s $52 million Central Valley COVID-19 intervention efforts will follow the model used in Imperial County. Similarly, a strike team has been sent to the Central Valley and the expectation is to reduce the COVID-19 positive cases and train local leaders about mitigation efforts that will contain the spread.
  • Elementary School Waivers - Governor Newsom announced the release of the long anticipated waiver process for K-6 schools. The guidance for the waiver process outlines what criteria the school district/county must satisfy before the state approves their safe reopening for in-person classroom instruction.  More information about the waiver process can be found here
  • Youth Sports Guidance - Governor Newsom’s  Department of Public Health continues to release new and updated guidance. CDPH recently released their guidance for youth sports in the state. The guidance can be found here.
  • Federal Assistance for Wildfire - Governor Newsom announced that California has secured a Fire Management Assistance grant from FEMA to assist in fighting the Apple Fire in Riverside County. The fire has been burning for nearly a week, is 30% contained, and has burned 30,000 acres. More information about the fire can be found here.
  • Tribal Compacts Signed - Governor Newsom announced that he signed a compact with Weideman Group client Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians. The Governor also signed compacts with the following tribes: Ione Band of Miwok Indians, Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and the Tule River Indian Tribe of California. 

 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 procuring masks and respirators for industries across the state. The Budget includes $750 million to provide support for counties experiencing revenue losses for realigned programs as a result of COVID-19.  The Governor also declared a budget emergency in June, 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 budget sets aside $716 million for the Governor to allocate to COVID response in the same manner as the $1 billion the legislature authorized in March.  A full breakdown of the state’s COVID-19 spending can be found here.

Regulatory Agencies and Department Actions

Numerous departments provide updates on their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Here are some highlights:

  • Higher Education - The California Department of Public Health issued interim guidance on higher education institutions. The guidance can be found here
  • Distance Learning Devices  – Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a partnership with Apple and T-Mobile that will help close the digital divide gap. The state needs nearly 1 million digital devices to ensure all students have access  to distance learning. 
  • DMV Extends Learners Permits - The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it is extending expiring learners permits through November.
  • Mask Distribution - The Office of Emergency Services released the latest numbers on mask distribution. Cal OES  has distributed over 95 million surgical and N95 masks. 
  • Turlock Lake Closed - The California Department of Parks and Recreation announced that it is closing the Turlock Lake State Recreation Area campground to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Federal Government

Continued stalemate in negotiations for a relief package. Another week has passed with no agreement among congressional leaders on a final stimulus package. The White House and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders have met nearly a dozen times but have not made significant advancements in reaching a deal. President Trump has stated that he is considering signing an executive order over the weekend if no deal is reached as CARES Act benefits are set to expire. Among sticking points are extending the $600 of additional unemployment benefits, eviction protection, and liability protections for businesses. Here is a recap of additional federal actions: 

  • Sanders Introduces Pandemic Tax - Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to tax billionaires that have seen significant increases in income during the pandemic. 
  • Proxy Voting - A federal judge has thrown out a challenge by House Republicans on the democratic led proxy voting rules designed to protect members and staff from COVID-19 exposure. 
  • Supreme Court Blocks Protections - The Supreme Court of the United States has blocked an order requiring Orange County provide additional protections to county jail inmates. 
  • Census Ends Early - The Census Bureau announced that it will be ending field data collection a month earlier than it had originally planned to. The enumeration will end on September 30th.

Local Action

Local governments continue to take actions they deem appropriate given their unique circumstances. Here are some highlights:

  • Alameda Pays to Stay Home - Alameda County is offering workers, who do not have paid sick leave or benefits, $1,250 to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. 
  • L.A. Will Shut Down Parties - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that the Department of Water and Power will shut down utility services to houses hosting parties with large attendance. 
  • Orange County Deaths - Orange County, which showed early resistance to state health orders, has seen its highest daily death toll of 32.

 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