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  • Friday, May 29, 2020 2:02 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Friday, May 29th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing to provide an update today on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Newsom began by speaking about race relations and policing in the wake of the news from Minneapolis.  He told a story about his 10-year old daughter who somehow saw on TikTok the video of George Floyd's arrest and the police officer's knee on his neck.  She wanted to make sure that her dad had seen the image.  Newsom also mentioned that Assemblymember Shirley Weber reminded him earlier today that it’s been a year since the Assembly passed her landmark police use of force legislation. 

    Tying his opening remarks to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Newsom said racism is connected with public health efforts and noted that there are "disparities that came into this crisis and that persist through this crisis."  He then presented slides with data on Testing; COVID-19 by Race/Ethnicity; Contact Tracing; the State’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Inventory; and Vulnerable Populations.  More specifically, the slides showed:

    • On testing – The positivity rate in the last 14 days is about 4.1 percent.  One key point, he noted, is that additional testing means additional cases.  But the percentage of positives, Newsom insisted, remains steady. 
    • On COVID-19 by race/ethnicity – Newsom’s slide notes the disparities in COVID-19 cases when race and ethnicity are considered.  Latinos, for example, make up about 40 percent of the population but 55 percent of the cases.  The black community makes up 6 percent of the population but 10 percent of the deaths in California. 
    • On contact tracing – There were about 3,000 contact tracers in the state before COVID-19. The state plans to increase that to 10,000 by July 1.  Newsom said 3,000 county employees have been "redirected" to do this work.  Hundreds of people are being trained every day as part of the "tracing corps".
    • On state PPE inventory –  85.9 million procedure masks, 8 million face shields, 5.6 million gloves.  
    • On vulnerable populations – Newsom said the state has secured 15,678  hotel rooms as part of Project Roomkey for unhoused people, with a 60 percent occupancy rate.

    As he does regularly, Newsom also provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He reported that there are 3,091 positive COVID-19 hospital patients.  This figure represents a 0.7 percent decrease over the previous day.   Of those patients, 1,092 are in the ICU.  The ICU figure represents a 0.3  percent decrease over the previous day.   Newsom said there have been trend lines for weeks showing slight declines in hospitalizations.  This stability has given his administration "confidence" to hand more control to counties who want to reopen their economies.  

    Today, Newsom stressed he does not intend to mandate a statewide pace for reopening – repeating multiple times “localism is determinative”.  The state has put out guidelines for HOW to reopen but the counties get to decide WHEN to reopen. 

    As an update, Newsom said that 48 of 58 California counties have provided "self-attestation" plans to reopen.  Recall, the Governor’s administration outlined a process where counties who met specific criteria can move further ahead in the resilience roadmap.  On May 18th, the CDPH revised the COVID-19 County Variance Attestation Form.  The revision has allowed more and more counties to meet the necessary thresholds.  A list of these counties is available here Today,  Newsom announced these counties can gradually move into Stage 3 of the resilience roadmap, but not Stage 4.

    California Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Dr.  Mark Ghaly was also present at the briefing.   He highlighted county variation trends. "Each county has a little bit of a different story," Ghaly said.

    During the Q&A portion of the press briefing, Newsom was asked about Los Angeles County loosening its stay-at-home restrictions. In response, he doubled down, by saying it’s the local public health official's call.

    Yesterday, May 28th, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) publicized that in the last 14 days alone, they has distributed 40.7 million surgical masks.  Cal OES also announced they now has more than 90.4 million surgical masks staged and ready to be distributed.  The Cal OES press release can be found here.

    The press briefing concluded around 1:10 PM PDT.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 101,697 (+2.7 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 3,093 deaths (+2.3 percent increase) in California.  As of May 27th, 1,790,559 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the CDPH.  This represents an increase of 53,665 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 27th, local health departments have reported 9,647 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 56 deaths statewide.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.   A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com



  • Tuesday, May 26, 2020 1:13 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Monday, May 26th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing to provide an update today on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Newsom opened by stating we are very close to reaching a milestone in this country – 100,000 lives lost to COVID-19.  Additionally, California is coming close to 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.  “And while we've fared better than other states in terms of mortality, in no way have we been immune.  More than 3,800 individuals have died,” he said.  As the state begins to relax the statewide restrictions,  Newsom stressed that individual responsibility is key and further highlighted the importance of wearing masks when appropriate and practicing physical distancing.  "It's incumbent upon all of us to continue to take seriously.  The reality is – We're not even out of the first wave of this pandemic."

    Newsom also noted that California can begin to re-open houses of worship and in-store shopping for retail.  Yesterday, May 25th, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced specifics related to the the statewide reopening of places of worship for religious services and in-store retail shopping.  Under new guidance for religious services and cultural ceremonies, places of worship can hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25 percent of a building's capacity – or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower – upon approval by the county department of public health.  Additionally, the existing guidance for retailers, previously allowed for counties approved to advance in the reopening process, now applies statewide. Retail can now open for in-store shopping statewide.  Finally, CDPH also released guidelines for in-person protests and events designed for political expression.  The guidance limits attendance to 25 percent of an area's maximum occupancy – or up to 100 attendees.  A copy of the CDPH press release can be found here.

    As an update, Newsom said that 47 of 58 California counties have provided "self-attestation" plans to reopen.  Recall, the Governor’s administration outlined a process where counties who met specific criteria can move further ahead in Stage 2 of the resilience roadmap.  On May 18th, the CDPH revised the COVID-19 County Variance Attestation Form.  The revision has allowed more and more counties to meet the necessary thresholds.  A list of these counties is available here.   Today,  Newsom announced, in these counties, barber shops and hair salons can resume services with appropriate safety precautions.  As a personal anecdote, he shared that he had his own hair cut a few days ago by his kids because his wife said his hair had grown into a "mullet" that needed to be fixed.

    Additionally, more guidance and directives are coming.  Newsom said guidelines will be issued tomorrow for summer camps, child care facilities, and schools.  He also reported working with entertainment (film and TV) industry on guidance.  Finally, he said his Administration is working with the Legislature to put out guidelines for nail salons and personal care services.    However, as it relates to ending the stay at home order which is Stage Four on the Resilience Roadmap, Newsom stated, “We're not there yet.  And the state will hold the line in terms of large venues, but begin to push down the responsibility to counties as we move into Stage 3 in a thoughtful, phased approach."  As a reminder, Stage 4  includes the gradual opening of larger gathering venues, such as nightclubs, concert venues, and live audience sports.   

    As he does regularly, Newsom provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He reported that there are 3,015 positive COVID-19 hospital patients.  This figure represents a 1.2 percent increase over the previous day.   Of those patients, 1,062 are in the ICU.  The ICU figure represents a 0.8  percent decrease.   

    On personal protective equipment (PPE),  Newsom said California has distributed over 41.2 million masks in the last 14 days.  As it relates to testing, Newsom reported, “Testing has taken off.  Over the weekend, we averaged north of 50,000 tests every day.  The positivity rate holds strong at around 4 percent.  We're seeing an increase in the number of people testing positive, but a huge increase in the number of tests.”

    During the Q&A portion of the press briefing, Newsom was asked whether he was worried about directives/warnings from the US Department of Justice.  In response, he said, “I don't lose sleep over that.  This is California, we're involved in over 70 lawsuits with this administration.''   Newsom also rebuffed Trump's claim that voting by mail will result in fraud.  “There’s no evidence of that," he replied.  "Quite the contrary”

    When asked whether his administration is allowing enough time in between each loosening of the restrictions to measure their impact, and make sure it's safe to proceed with further modifications—  Newsom insisted that all decisions are being made based on metrics, such as PPE, testing, tracing etc.

    The press briefing concluded around 12:45 PM PDT.

    Following Friday’s briefing, the Governor’s office issued a news release on Saturday noting that Newsom issued a proclamation declaring May 25, 2020, as “Memorial Day” in the State of California.  The release also highlighted the state’s efforts to protect vulnerable residents in California’s veterans homes.  The text of the Governor’s proclamation can be found here and a copy can be found here.  A copy of the news release can be found here.  

    Also on Friday, May 22nd, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) has released its Evaluation of Cost Impact of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on Rebuttable Presumption for California COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Claims.  The WCIRB estimates the cost of COVID-19 claims filed by workers subject to the Executive Order ranges from $0.6 billion to $2.0 billion with a mid-range estimate of $1.2 billion.  This mid-range estimate comprises 7 percent of the $18.3 billion estimated annual cost of workers’ compensation claims in the system prior to the pandemic.  A copy of the WCIRB new release can be found here.

    The CDPH announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 94,558 (+2.0 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 3,795 deaths (+0.6 percent increase) in California.  As of May 24th, 1,644,102 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the CDPH.  This represents an increase of 61,357 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 24th, local health departments have reported 9,328 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 50 deaths statewide.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.   A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Tuesday, May 26, 2020 12:17 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Presentation materials now available

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    Shifting Self Storage Fundamentals due to COVID-19.

    In case you missed any of the data discussed, a recording of the webinar and the accompanying slides are now available.

    View the recording



  • Friday, May 22, 2020 1:18 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Friday, May 22nd, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing at the Veterans Home of California-Yountville (VHC-Yountville).  With Memorial Day coming, his opening remarks were focused on those who served and veterans affairs programs.  Newsom also shared a personal story.  His grandfather was a prisoner of war for nearly five years who eventually took his own life after returning home.  

    Vito Imbasciani MD, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), joined Newsom at the briefing.  He highlighted that there has been a robust plan in place to contain the spread of the virus at veterans homes.  More specifically, Dr. Imbasciani stated, “There are eight veterans homes throughout the state.  They all shut down visits about two weeks before the state declared a shelter-in-place emergency.  I'm delighted that we've had such success in protecting the wonderful men and women who are our connection to our past."

    Shifting gears, Newsom said that 43 of 58 California counties have provided "self-attestation" plans to reopen.  Recall, the Governor’s administration outlined a process where counties who met specific criteria can move further ahead in Stage 2 of the resilience roadmap.  On May 18th, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) revised the COVID-19 County Variance Attestation Form.  The revision has allowed more counties to meet the necessary thresholds.  A list of these counties is available here.

    Also, Newsom has been working with the interfaith community to find ways to keep parishioners safe.  He said the state is "days away" from putting out guidelines on churches, likely on Monday.  Notably, California has been under pressure from the U.S. Justice Department to allow religious services to resume.

    As he does regularly, Newsom provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He reported that there are 3,048 positive COVID-19 hospital patients.  This figure remained stable over the previous day.   Of those patients, 1,051 are in the ICU.  The ICU figure represents a 1.6 percent decrease.   On these trendlines, Newsom said it's not just stability anymore— "We are actually seeing declines."   Over seven days, there has been an 8 percent decrease in overall hospitalizations, with a 6 percent decrease in ICU patients.

    Additionally, Newsom spoke about California’s tracing efforts.  This morning, just prior to Newsom’s press briefing, his office issued a news release announcing the launch of California Connected, the state’s comprehensive contact tracing program and public awareness campaign.  Specifically, the release states, “As part of California Connected, public health workers from communities across the state will connect with individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and work with them, and people they have been in close contact with, to ensure they have access to confidential testing, as well as medical care and other services to help prevent the spread of the virus.” A copy of the release can be found here.

    On personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution, Newsom noted that over 86 million surgical masks have come into the state. The masks are going to nursing homes, grocery stores, and other sectors that are reopening.

    Also, during the Q&A portion of the press briefing, Newsom was asked about casinos and card rooms reopening.  He said anticipate guidance around June 8th.  He also acknowledged that Tribes are working collaboratively with the state on these efforts.  

    Newsom was also asked about Republican congressional candidate Darrell Issa suing to block the state’s move to an all-mail November election.  In response, he said California is on “firm legal ground” as it relates to this issue.

    On the state budget and Assembly Budget Chairman Phil Ting’s comments regarding the need for oversight – Newsom insisted he has been engaging lawmakers and looks forward to continuing to do so.  It should be noted that earlier today, Ting kicked off his budget subcommittee hearing by echoing the Legislature's concerns that Newsom's administration is not collaborating with them as it should on COVID-19 response.  

    On summer school/camps, Newsom conveyed guidelines are coming for this also. This updated guidance should be released within “a week or so.”  He is working "aggressively" to deliver on this one, as his own kids have also asked this question.

    The press briefing concluded at 1:02 PM PDT.

    Yesterday, May 21st, the Employment Development Department (EDD) announced that $3.9 billion in unemployment benefits was paid to California workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic last week.  This brings the total to $16.1 billion since a surge in demand for unemployment assistance began during the week ending on March 14th.  According to the latest data from EDD, a total of 5.1 million claims have been processed over that same timeframe.  A copy of the EDD news release can be found here.

    Earlier this week, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has posted a Question and Answer page regarding Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20, which provides that under certain circumstances it is presumed that workers who contract a COVID-19-related illness between March 19 and July 5, 2020 have done so at work and are thus eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.  A copy of the Q&A can be found here.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 86,197 (+2.5 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 3,542 deaths (+3.1 percent increase) in California.  As of May 20th, 1,421,127 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the CDPH.  This represents an increase of 41,007 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 20th, local health departments have reported 8,793 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 47 deaths statewide.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.   A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Thursday, May 21, 2020 10:45 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Are you looking to open up your entire self storage facility? Here are some great articles and a FREE webinar to help:

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    A Starter Kit from FEMA to Help Reopen Your Business

    Open Support Local Business

    FEMA's Exercise Starter Kit has sample documents your organization can use to conduct your own planning workshop to navigate the complexities of returning to full operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Read more >>

    The Top "What if" COVID-19 Questions From Employers

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    What do I do if my employees don't want to come back to work? What if my employee doesn't want to return to work because they are earning more money on Unemployment Insurance? Get the answers to these and more of employer's top questions.

    Read more >>

    Plan Now for When Employees Return to Work

    Mask and hand sanitizer at computer

    Starting today, May 8, California has partially entered Stage 2 of California's "Pandemic Roadmap" for reopening the economy. Governor Newsom announced limited business sectors can begin reopening if they meet set industry guidelines.

    Read more >>

    Featured Webinar:

    COVID-19 & Safety at Work

    06.02.2020 | 12 - 1 pm

    Governor Newsom has recently allowed many industries to begin opening, with restrictions in place. Before reopening, all facilities must be in compliance with a strict set of guidelines.

    Safety expert James Boretti will lead you through these and more, including:

     Recording cases, reporting to Cal/OSHA

    • The importance of accident investigation
    • Prevention measures: things to consider when opening for business
    • What to include in your safety and social distancing plan

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    June 6, 2020

    12 - 1 pm

    California Employers Association
    1451 River Park Drive, #116
    Sacramento, California 95815
    (800) 399-5331   employers.org

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  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020 1:52 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, May 20th, Governor Gavin Newsom is not scheduled to hold a press briefing.  Instead,  Newsom will continue the Economic Recovery & Reinvention Listening Tour by hosting a digital roundtable today with Californians who work in the film and television industry.   The livestream can be found on the Governor’s YouTube page.

    Additionally, yesterday evening the Governor’s press office announced, that Newsom issued an executive order addressing a variety of issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   According to the news release, “The order helps ease the strain on domestic violence service providers by waiving the 10 percent cash or in-kind matching requirements for state grants awarded to these organizations.  The order also waives the deadline to verify grade point average and waives certain certification requirements and selective service registration verification for Cal Grant applicants.  The order suspends programmatic deadlines for entities that receive funding from the Energy Commission for the development and deployment of new technologies that support the state’s clean energy and decarbonization goals.  In addition, the order extends the timeframe for local governments to submit claims for reimbursement to the State Controller’s Office.”  The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.

    Also yesterday, members of  Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them pass $1 trillion in direct relief for state and local governments.  The letter, signed by 91 California leaders outlines the budgetary challenges facing state, local and tribal governments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  A copy of the Task Force’s letter can be found here.  A copy of the Governor’s press release can be found here.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 81,795 (+1.7 percent increase) confirmed positive cases and 3,334 deaths (+1.0 percent increase) in California.  As of May 18th, 1,339,316 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the CDPH.  This represents an increase of 46,644 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 18th, local health departments have reported 8,405 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 46 deaths statewide.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.   A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com




  • Monday, May 18, 2020 2:58 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Monday, May 18th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press briefing at Mustard’s Grill in Napa to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, he announced 24 counties have self-attested, certified, with containment and protection plans, for regional variation to the statewide stay-at-home order.  A list of counties that have met the criteria is available here.

    As he does regularly, Newsom provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He reported that over the last 14 days, the state has seen a hospitalization decline of over 7 percent and an ICU decline of 8.7 percent.   Additionally, Newsom said the state has also seen an unprecedented number of masks be delivered, “tens of millions of masks.”  Also, he highlighted the state’s improved testing and tracing capabilities.  

    Given the positive trendlines, Newsom announced new county criteria to move ahead in Stage Two.  Specifically, he said, “We are moving forward to allow some of the larger counties to continue to make progress deeper into Phase Two.  And to do so effective immediately -- but on their own pace.''  Newsom estimates 53 of the state’s 58 counties would be eligible to move into this phase.   He also said the state is starting to focus in on the hotspots within counties.

    Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly joined Newsom at the briefing and offered additional details regarding county variance.  Specifically, the new criteria counties must meet to move ahead includes the following:

    Stable or down trending hospitalizations

    • Stable hospitalizations of COVID individuals on a 7-day average of daily percent change of less than 5% OR no more than 20 COVID hospitalizations on any single day in the past 14 days 

    Cases per population count and Test positivity rate

    • Less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days OR less than 8% testing positive in the past 7 days

    Additional information can be found here.

    If the current trendlines hold, Newsom said expected additional statewide modifications to the stay-at-home order.  He projected that professional sporting events, without spectators, could occur in the first week of June.  Additionally, he said hair salons and in-store retail could reopen in the next few weeks statewide.  When asked, Newsom said, he expects the same for houses of worship.  Faith-based leaders and the administration are working on guidelines, he reported.

    Also, during the Q&A, Newsom was asked about spilt-roll initiative.  He largely punted on the question and did not offer his position on the ballot measure.

    Earlier today, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Sacramento Kings announced the lease for the Sleep Train Arena and practice facility which housed Alternate Care Facilities have been amended by reducing the rental rate from $500,000 per month to no cost.  View a copy of the amended lease agreement here.  A copy of the Cal OES news release can be found here.

    On Friday, May 18th,  Newsom issued a statement following the House’s vote on the HEROES Act.  A copy of the statement can be found here.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 78,839 confirmed positive cases and 3,261 deaths in California.  As of May 16th, 1,235,243 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the CDPH.  This represents an increase of 56,117 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 16th, local health departments have reported 8,248 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 46 deaths statewide.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously.   A complete list of the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com



  • Thursday, May 14, 2020 3:31 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    The Top "What if" COVID-19 Questions From Employers

    Cafe Owner by Open Sign

    What do I do if my employees don't want to come back to work? What if my employee doesn't want to return to work because they are earning more money on Unemployment Insurance? Get the answers to these and more of employer's top questions.

    Read more >>

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  • Thursday, May 14, 2020 1:49 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Thursday, May 14th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom released his revised 2020-21 state budget proposal in lieu of holding his regularly scheduled COVID-19 press briefing.   

    Today, Newsom did not mince words regarding the devasting fiscal impacts of COVID-19.  Amid the ongoing pandemic, California’s state budget has gone from surplus to shortfall.  Recall in January – just four months ago – when Newsom released his initial 2020-21 proposal, that plan called for a record-high $222.2 billion in spending.  At the time, the budget included a $5.6 billion surplus and specifically contained 3.5 percent more spending than lawmakers enacted for the current fiscal year which ends June 30th

    "These are not ordinary times,” Newsom acknowledged.  His revised budget reflects the latest, more grim, economic forecasts.  He took the podium with no notes and his presentation included  just four slides.  But Newsom also said the state had built up reserves in preparation.  Nevertheless, in spite of those reserves, California is still facing a projected deficit. 

    Specifically,  Newsom’s revised budget proposal projects a revenue decline of 22.3 percent compared to January projections; $133.9 billion general fund, which is a 9.4 percent decrease from the Budget Act of 2019; $203.3 billion overall budget, 5.4 percent decrease from 2019.

    Overall, the Governor’s press office stated, “The May Revision proposes to cancel new initiatives proposed in the Governor’s Budget, cancel and reduce spending included in the 2019 Budget Act, draw down reserves, borrow from special funds, temporarily increase revenues and make government more efficient.”

    In taking a balanced approach to closing the budget gap, the May Revise specifically proposes to:

    • Cancel $6.1 billion in program expansions and spending increases.
    • Draw down $16.2 billion in the Budget Stabilization Account (Rainy Day Fund) over three years.
    • Borrow and transfer $4.1 billion from special funds.
    • Temporarily suspend net operating losses and temporarily limit to $5 million the amount of credits a taxpayer can use in any given tax year.
    • Reflect the Administration’s nationwide request of $1 trillion in flexible federal funds to support all 50 states and local governments, and identifies reductions to base programs and employee compensation that will be necessary if sufficient federal funding does not materialize. 

    The Governor’s office press release highlights the following:

    • Protecting Public Health, Public Safety, and Public Education – $44.9 billion in General Fund support for schools and community colleges and $6 billion in additional federal funds to supplement state funding.
    • Supporting Californians Facing the Greatest Hardships – Maintains the newly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and maintains grant levels for families and individuals supported by the CalWORKs and SSI/SSP programs.  Prioritizes funding to maintain current eligibility for critical health care services in both Medi-Cal and the expanded subsidies offered through the Covered California marketplace.  Estimates unemployment insurance benefits in 2020-21 will be $43.8 billion – 650 percent higher than the $5.8 billion previously estimated.
    • State Government Savings and Efficiency – Negotiations will commence or continue with the state’s collective bargaining units to achieve reduced pay of approximately 10 percent.
    • Supporting Job Creation, Economic Recovery, and Opportunity – Proposes an augmentation of $50 million for a total increase of $100 million to the small business loan guarantee program to fill gaps in available federal assistance.

    Some additional key points (from the summary document) of revised budget proposal include:

    • Wildfire Mitigation Efforts – Overall, the Governor’s Budget and May Revision together contain 106 new positions and $30 million for the Commission to address issues related to utility-caused wildfires.
    • Broadband Expansion – To identify which areas of the state lack sufficient access to broadband, the May Revision includes $2.8 million and 3 positions in additional resources from the Public Utilities Commission Utilities Reimbursement Account for the Commission to enhance its broadband mapping activities.
    • AB 5 Enforcement –The May Revision maintains the Governor's Budget proposal to enforce compliance with AB 5, including $17.5 million for the Department of Industrial Relations, $3.4 million for the Employment Development Department, and $780,000 for the Department of Justice.
    • California Consumer Financial Protection – The May Revision sustains the Governor’s Budget proposal for $10.2 million Financial Protection Fund and 44 positions in 2020-21, growing to $19.3 million and 90 positions ongoing in 2022-23, to revamp the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) as the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
    • Department of Toxic Substances Control Reform – The May Revision maintains the Administration’s commitment to governance and fiscal reform for the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
    • Climate Resilience – Governor is withdrawing the $250 million General Fund Climate Catalyst Fund proposal.
    • Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment – Governor is withdrawing Evaluating Unassessed Chemicals Using Precision Prevention Methodologies $6 million General Fund Proposal.
    • Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – The May Revision proposes total funding of $13.4 billion ($13.1 billion General Fund and $311 million other funds) for the Department in 2020-21.  The May Revision proposes the closure of two adult institutions—one beginning in 2021-22 and a second beginning in 2022-23.  The closures are estimated to result in savings of $100 million in 2021-22, $300 million in 2022-23 and $400 million ongoing.  When asked, Newsom said the specific facilities have not been determined and this is still being negotiated.
    • Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan – The May Revision maintains the Governor's Budget Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan, and establishes a “pay-as-you-go” budget mechanism to authorize budget act expenditures based on actual proceeds received at each quarterly auction.
    • Department of Public Health – The May Revision maintains and increases the Department’s disease surveillance and identification workforce. Specifically, the May Revision proposes $5.9 million General Fund for 2020-21 and $4.8 million General Fund ongoing, to support laboratory staff to increase the laboratories’ testing capacity, and to purchase equipment and laboratory supplies that are specifically utilized for COVID-19 testing as well as other diseases.
    • Caltrans Investments – While fuel tax revenues used to fund transportation projects are expected to drop by a total of $1.8 billion through 2024-25, the May Revision maintains current planning and engineering staffing levels to continue developing and designing previously programmed projects.
    • State Support for Renters and Homeowners – The May Revision proposes to expend $331 million in National Mortgage Settlement funds for housing counseling, mortgage assistance and renter legal aid services.
    • State Funding For Housing – The May Revision maintains the $500 million in low-income housing state tax credits in the Governor's Budget.
    • Capitol Annex Projects – To reduce costs, the May Revision also proposes a transfer of $754.2 million from the State Project Infrastructure Fund to the General Fund. These funds were previously earmarked for the design and construction of a series of projects necessary for the renovation or reconstruction of the Capitol Annex.

    The May Revise marks the start of what will be a month of negotiations with legislators.  The budget, with any legislative adjustments, must be finalized by June 15th in time for the Governor to sign the package and the new fiscal year to begin on July 1st.  

    For more information, please see  http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/FullBudgetSummary.pdf.

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Wednesday, May 13, 2020 2:23 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, May 13th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held his daily briefing to provide update on state's wildfire preparedness amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, the briefing was held at Cameron Park Fire Department in El Dorado County.  Newsom kicked off his remarks by stating that the budget plan, which he will issue tomorrow, includes “enhancements” to the state's wildfire preparation approach.  Additionally, he said, “We are entering a fire season.  We just got out of one, some have argued there are no longer seasons – it's a year-round challenge.  But we're mindful of the threats, of the understandable anxiety this time of year presents to people in addition to COVID-19.  We have been preparing… and we're not stepping back our efforts.”

    Framing the issue, Newsom reported that 1,135 wildfires blazed in California this year from January through May 10th, which represents a 60 percent increase from the previous year.   He said this surge was not a surprise to experts considering it's been a below-average precipitation year.  This data has only "reinforced" the state's desire to be better prepared.  “We're not going to step back despite economic headwinds,” Newsom said.

    Newsom also announced the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is building a Wildfire Safety Division to oversee utility efforts.  Offering more of a preview into tomorrow’s May Revision, Newsom said the budget will include an additional $127 million for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to help monitor wildfires and all hazards – including earthquakes and Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).  Specifically, this will include $17 million for the earthquake early warning system and $50 million for grants to local counties to help with PSPSs.   Separate from $127 million, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) will get an additional $85.7 million to improve surge capacity and to hire more personnel.  Chef Tom Porter, Director of Director of CAL FIRE, joined Newsom at the briefing and offered some additional comments regarding preparing for the upcoming fire season.  He directed Californians to visit the following website: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/.

    As he does regularly, Newsom provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He reported hospitalization rates increased 0.5 by percent and ICU rates decreased by 0.3 percent.  Specifically, there are 3,301 hospitalization cases and of those 1,075 are ICU cases. 

    On reopening efforts – Newsom said several counties have filed an “Attestation” that they have met the readiness criteria for reopening.  These counties can move more quickly through Stage 2 opening sectors once state guidance is posted for that sector.  The counties include:

    During the Q&A, Newsom was asked what is going to give in terms of spending, considering the projected budget deficit and the announcements made today regarding increased emergency preparedness spending.   In response, Newsom reiterated that he will release the May Revise specifics tomorrow – “The good news is in 24 hours you'll get very detailed answers.  Our values will not change, but the numbers have radically changed.”

    Regarding early release of prisoners and firefighting efforts –  Newsom said, “We are currently down about 44 fire crews with our prison fire crews and camps.  We project being down about 80 crews.  But this precedes people being released early due to COVID-19.  As a consequence, we're providing a consideration to Legislature to increase firefighting personnel."

    Asked if he is concerned about people traveling to countries that are authorized to begin reopening ahead of the state, Newsom said, “We maintain as an advisory that people not travel for nonessential purposes.  Going in and out of the counties would defeat the point of having county variations. But a lot of counties are moving together as regions.  So less significant in this respect.  But it's a big challenge.”

    Once again, Newsom was asked about Elon Musk and Telsa’s decision to remain open despite county restrictions.  And, once again, he punted on the question by stating it’s a county issue and that the state currently allows for manufacturing.

    Following yesterday’s daily briefing, the Governor’s Press office issued a news release regarding the state’s testing capacity and highlighted that thus far more than 1 million diagnostic tests for the coronavirus have been conducted statewide. Additionally, the news release states, “Governor Newsom also announced today that the California Department of Consumer Affairs and State Board of Pharmacy will allow pharmacists to collect specimens for COVID-19 tests and order tests for consumers.  The specimens will be delivered to and processed at public health, university or commercial labs.”  A copy of the Governor’s office news release can be found here.

    Additionally, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is expanding the DMV Virtual Field Office at virtual.dmv.ca.gov to create more digital options for transactions that previously required an in-person office visit.  A copy of the DMV news release can be found here.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 69,382 confirmed positive cases and 2,847 deaths in California.  As of May 11th, 1,033,370 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the CDPH.  This represents an increase of 41,473 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 11th, local health departments have reported 7,274 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 39 deaths statewide.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.

    The CDPH and State Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell also issued a news release regarding additional sectors that can open statewide as part of Stage 2.  These include office workspaces where teleworking is not possible, outdoor museums and limited personal services — such as car washes, dog-grooming and landscaping — with protections to limit the spread of COVID-19 as the state continues to modify its stay-at-home order.  Statewide guidance for these sectors is available here.   The CDPH news release also reiterates, “The state as a whole is in early Stage 2 of the Pandemic Resilience Roadmap to reopening. Counties with more restrictive Stay at Home orders may move more slowly than the state as a whole at this stage.”   Additionally, the news release notes that the state’s first two counties, Butte and El Dorado, have attested that they have met certain criteria necessary to move further into Stage 2.  These counties can begin reopening dine-in restaurants and shopping malls, with modifications.  Additional information regarding “Local Variance Attestations” can be found here.   A copy of the CDPH news release can be found here.

    The https://www.covid19.ca.gov/ website is being updated continuously. 

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


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