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  • 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


  • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 1:57 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Self storage lien processes are coming under scrutiny by several cities. CSSA is working closely with SSA in monitoring several of these proposed ordinances, which are in various stages of draft moratoriums for occupants who are delinquent in paying rent, charging late fees, and other lien proceedings, including grace periods for pay back.

    Currently CSSA and SSA are actively working on draft moratoriums in the cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Livermore.  

    If you own storage facilities in these cities please reach out to CSSA office to let us know if you would like to help. Please do not send anything to these city councils yet as some of these are proposals only. For those where we need help, we would like to coordinate the response and ensure that everyone is communicating to the right person(s) and using the same talking points. 

    CSSA and SSA are continuing to monitor these activities on your behalf.


  • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 1:55 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Tuesday, May 12th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held his daily briefing to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, Newsom kicked off his comments by stating that adequate testing is "foundational" as California proceeds on its roadmap to recovery.  Testing capacity is one of the six indicators the state is tracking as far as reopening.

    He also offered a progress report regarding testing: "Today, we have surpassed 1 million tests conducted.   We're now testing north of 41,000 people per day… Our commitment is 152 tests per 100,000 people, which is north of 61,000 tests each and every day.  We're confident we can achieve that goal."  Newsom also said OptumServe and Verily have made good progress in opening testing sites in underserved communities.  OptumServe is actually adding an additional six sites to “go deeper into rural California”— this is on top of the 80 it is already launching.  He also stressed those test sites are free, regardless of your status.

    In order to advance California’s testing capacity, Newsom said he put forth an executive order (EO) that directs the Department of Consumer Affairs and Board of Pharmacies to expand points of contact for testing into pharmacies.  Regarding this EO, Newsom stated, "That does not mean each one will test, but they have the ability to do so now. Pharmacists currently test for Hepatitis C, HIV, etc.  We're now increasing additional sites with pharmacies across the state.  We hope to see those popping up very soon."

    Additionally, Newsom announced new guidance for industries allowed to open statewide with modifications and some new guidance only for counties that will meet the State’s requirements to move further into Stage 2.  See the guidance for these counties and the statewide guidance

    The newly issued statewide guidelines address offices (that cannot telework); malls and strip malls (for curbside / outdoor pickup); and outdoor museums, among other sectors.  For counties approved to move further into Stage 2, the county guidance addresses dine-in restaurants.  Please see this dine-in restaurant guidance here.   Also, on the issue of regional variance, Newsom said some counties can be more restrictive.  Specifically , he stated, “what I mean by statewide is… it affords the opportunity for local government to conform with those guidelines.  But one can choose, like the Bay Area and parts of Southern California, to be a little bit more restrictive.  Not everyone is compelled into that phase."

    Butte County and El Dorado County are the first localities to be able to move deeper into Stage 2.  There are two more counties expected to be announced later today.  Newsom said, “They've met the thresholds and worked collaboratively with us.  We've been in contact with 27 counties and four are having deep technical assistance calls today."  He also hinted at “flexibility” for some counties if they don't hit every benchmark to reopen: “There are some unique characteristics within counties” such as having a  state/federal prison or a skilled nursing home.  As an example, Kern County is asking for exceptions from the statewide guidelines, which his administration is considering.

    Regarding "Project Room Key"— Newsom says 15,000 hotel rooms have been secured and 7,000 homeless people housed in them as part of this effort.

    As he does regularly, Newsom provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He reported hospitalization rates increased by 1.1 percent and ICU rates decreased by 1.4 percent.  Specifically, there are 3,284 hospitalization cases and of those 1,078 are ICU cases. 

    Just prior to opening up the briefing to Q&A, Newsom reiterated it is important that people continue taking steps to avoid spreading the coronavirus, including by wearing masks.  He stressed, “It's still virulent, it's still deeply, deeply deadly.  This disease is still ubiquitous."

    During the Q&A, Newsom was asked about testing in nursing homes.  He said the state is considering mandating universal testing at nursing homes for staff and patients, but that right now, California does not have the testing capacity to do that.

    Following yesterday’s daily briefing, the Governor’s Press office issued a news release regarding the Western States Pact letter requesting $1 trillion in federal relief aid.  The letter can be read here.  A copy of the Governor’s Office news release can be found here.

    Also on May 11th, the Assembly Budget Committee issued an update.  The update states, “The Assembly anticipates needing to adopt a budget that will include sizable reductions to services, including in areas that have traditionally been priorities for investment over the last decade. We will also be considering all other options, including increased revenue.”  A copy of the update can be found here.

    This morning, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), along with Senators Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), and Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), unveiled the Senate Democratic Caucus’ proposal for the state budget and California’s economic recovery.  Their first proposal, which focuses on renter and landlord stabilization, would create a program enabling agreements between renters, landlords, and the state to resolve unpaid rents over a limited time period.  The program would allow renters to receive immediate relief for unpaid rent and protection from eviction, and repay past rents, without interest, to the state over a 10-year period, beginning in 2024.  Landlords would provide rent relief and commitment not to evict tenants in exchange for tax credits from the state equal to the value of the lost rents, spread equally over tax years 2024 through 2033.   Their second proposal would create a $25 billion Economic Recovery Fund through establishment of prepaid future tax vouchers from 2024 through 2033.  The funds could be used to create jobs and provide a myriad of services and resources, from small business and worker assistance and retraining to wildfire prevention response and schools most harmed by campus closures.  A copy of the 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 67,939 confirmed positive cases and 2,770 deaths in California.  As of May 10th, 991,987 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  This represents an increase of 36,233 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 10th, local health departments have reported 7,211 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 40 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.  

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 8:46 AM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    FREE! The Three R’s to Getting Back to Work During COVID-19

    May 13, 2020,12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Join us for this FREE webinar! Let CEA help you prepare to get employees back to work when operations can resume during the COVID-19 pandemic. We'll cover the 3 R's of how to plan and successfully bring your employees back to work –...  Register Now

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  • Friday, May 08, 2020 1:30 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Friday, May 8th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held his daily briefing to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, the Governor’s press office issued a news release prior to the briefing which stated, “as the state moves into Stage 2 of modifying the stay-at-home order, Newsom will meet with a small business owner in Sacramento to discuss how businesses are adapting to reopen while continuing to preserve public health.”

    Newsom kicked off his remarks from Twiggs Floral Design Gallery, a local florist in Sacramento.  This specific shop is ramping up to deliver arrangements and offer curbside pickup in advance of Mother’s Day.  Newsom said this small business serves as an example of what he hopes will be replicated throughout California as the state enters into Stage 2.   Newsom also conveyed that roughly 70 percent of California's economy can open with modifications during this next phase.  He did however acknowledge that for those businesses reopening this “doesn’t mean customers are comfortable and confident yet, doesn’t mean we’re operating with the number of employees we once were or the kind of revenue and receipts.”

    Additionally, Newsom mentioned that approximately two dozen counties have reached out since he unveiled yesterday the criteria they would have to meet for reopening quicker than the statewide order.  More specific guidance, he reiterated, is coming next Tuesday, May 12th.   He also said that many across California may be "chomping at the bit" to get back to normal, but said there were 81 deaths and 1,898 new COVID-19 cases reported yesterday.   Specifically, he stated, “Vigilance, data driven vigilance will determine our next steps.”

    Newsom reported that 33 salons that had reopened ahead of state approval shuttered again after public health officials called them and advised them to close back down.  “It's really important that we work together as business leaders and as a broader community,” he said.

    Shifting focus, Newsom announced that an hour prior to the briefing he signed an executive order (EO) to provide all registered voters in California a mail-in ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election.  However, he noted that it remains important for the state to provide safe physical voting locations for people who can't easily vote by mail or do not want to.  The text of the Governor’s EO can be found here and a copy can be found here.  A copy of the Governor’s Press office news release can be found here.

    Secretary of State of California Alex Padilla offered some remarks regarding the EO remotely.  Padilla said California is the first state to take this action.   “It's great for public health, it's great for voting rights, it's great for voter turnout,” he stated, continuing that this election will be the most consequential “of our lifetime.”

    As he does regularly, Newsom provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He reported both hospitalization and ICU rates decreased modestly.  Specifically, there are 3,250 hospitalization cases and of those 1,118 are ICU cases.  Regarding this data, Newsom said the state can move into "this deeper phase of Stage 2" in weeks if people continue to follow social distancing rules and avoid spreading the virus.

    Ahead of the weekend, Newsom wished a happy Mother's Day to all moms, but especially the essential and frontline workers.  He also urged people to go to local businesses, not big chains, as they shop for flowers and other Mother’s Day gifts.  Small businesses, he noted, have been at a particular disadvantage.

    During the Q&A, Newsom was asked about the dire projected state budget deficit.  He said he is working with the Legislature to declare a fiscal emergency that would allow California to tap into its rainy-day fund.  “Suffice it to say we will have to pull from our reserves.”  As a reminder, Newsom is set to release his revised budget on May 14th.

    Recall, yesterday, the Department of Finance (DOF) issued a Fiscal Update reflecting updated economic and revenue forecasts, as well projected budget deficit resulting from COVID-19 pandemic.   DOF projects an overall budget deficit of approximately $54.3 billion, of which $13.4 billion occurs in the current year and $40.9 billion is in the budget year. The update and the associated PowerPoint can be found here.  

    Today, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO’s) issued its report, The 2020-21 Budget: California's Spring Fiscal Outlook, and projected that California’s deficit will be smaller.  The LAO’s outlook presents two potential scenarios—a somewhat optimistic “U-shaped” recession and a somewhat pessimistic “L-shaped” recession—and assumes a baseline level of expenditures.  Under these two scenarios, the state would have to address an $18 billion or $31 billion budget problem.  The LAO report can be found here.

    Also, on May 7th, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) issued a news release indicating that the data illustrates historic demand for unemployment benefits in California.  More specifically, the news release states, “In total, since the week ending March 14th, the EDD processed a total of 4.1 million claims for benefits and paid a total of $8.9 billion in benefit payments including both first benefit payments and ongoing bi-weekly benefits once workers have a claim established.  Those claims include both Unemployment Insurance (UI) and the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which launched on April 28th.”  A copy of the EDD news release can be found here.

    Following up on the state’s announcement that it will begin modifying the statewide stay-at-home order today (Friday, May 8th), the Governor’s press office issued a news release with updated industry guidance – including for retail, manufacturing and logistics – to begin reopening with adaptations.  A copy of the news release can be found here.  A copy of the updated guidance 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 60,614 confirmed positive cases and 2,504 deaths in California.  As of May 6th, 842,874 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  This represents an increase of 33,838  tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 6th, local health departments have reported 6,625 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 35 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.  

    Naomi Padron

    Legislative Advocate

    McHugh Koepke & Associates

    1121 L Street, Suite 103

    Sacramento, CA 95814

    (916) 930-1993

    www.mchughgr.com


  • Thursday, May 07, 2020 1:32 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Thursday, May 7th, at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held his daily briefing to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, Newsom kicked off his comments by speaking about the state’s budget.  Specifically, he offered a contrast, “One year ago, we were debating how to balance a budget with a $21.4 billion operating surplus.  We are effective in balancing last year's budget, so much so that our bond rating increased and we were able to pay down the wall of debt.”  Now, he stated, we are projecting tens of billions of dollars of shortfall all related to COVID-19. 

    This morning, the Department of Finance (DOF) issued a Fiscal Update reflecting updated economic and revenue forecasts, as well projected budget deficit resulting from COVID-19 pandemic.   DOF projects an overall budget deficit of approximately $54.3 billion, of which $13.4 billion occurs in the current year and $40.9 billion is in the budget year. The update and the associated PowerPoint can be found here.   

    Despite these devastating figures, Newsom offered a sense of some optimism – noting that the state is "better positioned" than in recessions of years past, particularly during 2003 and 2009.   However, his optimism he said is conditioned on more federal support.   Specifically, “this requires a historic level of partnership between states and federal government.  We are grateful for aid we have already received.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) has been profoundly beneficial.  But sadly, the enormity of this moment, requires even more support for the state, cities, and counties.”  Further, he was clear that this budget situation is directly related to COVID-19, not mismanagement.

    Newsom also issued new reopening guidance that extends opportunities in retail, manufacturing, and logistic sectors – “all with adaptations and an eye to moving into a new phase of our economic recovery.”  Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly joined Newsom at the briefing to provide more specifics about this second phase.  

    The guidelines specify that before reopening, all facilities must:

    1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
    2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
    3. Implement individual control measures and screenings
    4. Implement disinfecting protocols
    5. Implement physical distancing guidelines

    Additional information, including specific sector guidance, can be found here.

    Dr. Ghaly also addressed regional variance criteria with the slide below.  He noted some communities may move through Stage 2 faster if they are able to show greater progress.  On this Newsom stated, “some may see the guidelines as impediments, but we see them as common sense.  We don't have all the ideas, solutions and answers, and are humbled by that.  We look forward to working with local partners to move in deeper.”  Further, Newsom said that next Tuesday he'll offer information on how locals can "self-certify" their local COVID-19 conditions in terms of further reopening efforts.

    During the Q&A, Newsom was asked about in-person dining at restaurants.  His response: “The likelihood of some counties meeting the guidelines for dine-in restaurants that we'll put out Tuesday is high in some parts of the state.  We can see that happening in the next week or so."

    The first community spread of the virus in California started in a nail salon, Newsom said in describing why salons are in the third phase, rather than the second phase, of reopening.

    When asked how tomorrow will be different, given that many have retailers have already been offering curbside pickup, Newsom said, “We put out 17 sectoral guideline augmentations today.  You'll see that will increase activity and appetite for people to move cautiously into this next phase.”

    Additionally, the Governor’s press office also announced that in continuing with the Economic Recovery & Reinvention Listening Tour, Newsom will host a virtual roundtable later in the afternoon with restaurant owners and workers.  They will discuss their experiences and insights for what recovery can and should look like in a new economic landscape coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The digital roundtable will happen at 2:00 PM PDT and the livestream is available on the Governor’s YouTube page.

    Following yesterday’s briefing, the Governor’s press office issued a news release regarding Newsom’s  workers’ compensation Executive Order (EO), which creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ compensation benefits applicable to Californians who must work outside of their homes during the stay at home order.  As noted in the news release, “Those eligible will have the rebuttable presumption if they tested positive for COVID-19 or were diagnosed with COVID-19 and confirmed by a positive test within 14 days of performing a labor or service at a place of work after the stay at home order was issued on March 19, 2020.  The presumption will stay in place for 60 days after issuance of the executive order.”  A copy of the news release can be found here.  The text of the EO can be found here and a copy can be found here.

    Newsom also signed another EO that waives penalties for property taxes paid after April 10th for taxpayers who demonstrate they have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through May 6, 2021.  This will apply to residential properties and small businesses.  Additionally, the EO will extend the deadline for certain businesses to file Business Personal Property Statements from tomorrow to May 31, 2020, to avoid penalties.  The text of this EO can be found here and  a copy can be found here.

    On the legislative front, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) announced a revised calendar for the remainder of the 2020 Legislative session.  A copy of the joint statement can be found here

    The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced it will reopen select field offices across the state on Friday, May 8th, to assist customers with appointments and with transactions that require an in-person visit to a field office during the COVID-19 pandemic.   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 58,815 confirmed positive cases and 2,412 deaths in California.  As of May 5th, 809,036 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  This represents an increase of 29,134  tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 5th, local health departments have reported 6,368 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 36 deaths statewide.  More information regarding the most recent COVID-19 statistics can be found here.

    The CDPH also issued a release regarding the launch of an interactive website to help Californians find COVID-19 community testing sites near them.  The testing locator website features community testing locations, including sites operated by Verily and OptumServe, which are open to Californians who meet current testing guidelines.  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


  • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 3:25 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, May 6th,  at noon PDT, Governor Gavin Newsom held his daily briefing to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today, Newsom kicked off his remarks by announcing a new tool for individuals to find a COVID-19 testing site near them.  Additional information can be found here.

    On testing –  Newsom reported that the state has tested more than 800,000 people for coronavirus.  California  is now averaging 30,000 tests per day. "The work of our testing task force has been very, very successful," Newsom said. 

    Newsom also announced that he signed an Executive Order (EO) regarding Workers’ Compensation.   The EO would extend workers’ compensation eligibility for workers who contract COVID-19 when working outside the home.  It will be a rebuttable presumption meaning it will be assumed that employees are infected on the job, unless an employer can show otherwise.  Specifically, Newsom said, “If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a physician, you're eligible for workers' comp.  It can be rebutted by your employer, but under strict guidelines.  This is critical to meet the needs of people today, and essential to deliver on the services we want to expand.”  Additionally,  the EO has retroactivity from March 19th and will continue for the next 60 days.  California’s Director of Industrial Relations (DIR) Victoria Hassid joined Newsom at the briefing and offered additional remarks regarding the EO.   She said DIR will be issuing guidance on the EO in the coming days. 

    Separately, another Executive Order (EO) regarding property tax relief was announced.  Newsom said the EO extends the penalty waiver on fees and fines for property owners.  For residential property, the extension is a year.  For commercial property, the extension is through the end of the month, May 31st.

    As it pertains to reopening the economy – Newsom reiterated that tomorrow guidelines will be issued for the industries that are allowed reopen with modifications starting Friday.   

    Also, Newsom provided an update on personal protective equipment (PPE) and mask distribution.  He admitted some earlier challenges in this space – "On the issue of PPE, we all took off on a plane as we were building it.”  However, he said progress on this front has been made – “We have now distributed over 15 million procedure masks.  A few weeks ago, it was less than 4 million.  We have 19.9 million masks in our possession we're in the process of distributing.”  Newsom also acknowledged that his Administration has been slow to release COVID-19 contracts to the Legislature and the public, but that he looking to expedite releasing them.

    During the Q&A, Newsom was asked the Legislature pushing bills that are non-COVID-19 related.  His response, “I will on May 14th present a vaping tax to the Legislature for their consideration.  I look forward to engaging with them in robust deliberation.  They should be afforded the right to make the determination of what bills are important on behalf of their constituency.”

    Regarding the Western States Pact –  Newsom said, “It's opened up the door to PPE more broadly, and we've been talking to governors about sharing best practices. We think this pact has been a good one.”

    Newsom was also asked if he has received a haircut since the statewide stay-at-home order was issued.  “I think it's pretty obvious to you that I haven't had a haircut.   I'm embarrassed to be having this conversation publicly,” he responded.

    Yesterday, the California State Senate, who is scheduled to return on May 11th, released a proposed/tentative schedule for committee hearings.  The schedule is attached.  Please note that these committee hearings have not been officially noticed in the Senate’s Daily File.  Additionally, at this point, it remains unclear whether or not Senators will be allowed to participate remotely versus in-person at the Capitol.

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the most recent statistics on COVID-19.  There are now a total of 56,212 confirmed positive cases and 2,317 deaths in California.  As of May 4th, 779,902 tests have been conducted in California and reported to the California Department of Public Health.  This represents an increase of 32,028 tests over the prior 24-hour reporting period.  Also, as of May 4th, local health departments have reported 6,167 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 33 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



  • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 3:20 PM | Ross Hutchings (Administrator)

    Office of the Governor

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Contact: Governor's Press Office

    Wednesday, May 6, 2020

    (916) 445-4571

    Governor Newsom Announces Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Workers who Contract COVID-19 During Stay at Home Order

    Benefit will be available for diagnosed workers working outside their homes

    Presumption will be workers contracted the virus at work; employers will have chance to rebut

    Governor also signed executive order waiving penalties on property taxes for residents and small businesses experiencing economic hardship based on COVID-19; order also extends deadline for filing property tax statements

    SACRAMENTO – As California prepares to enter Stage 2 of the gradual reopening of the state this Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. The Governor signed an executive order that creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ compensation benefits applicable to Californians who must work outside of their homes during the stay at home order.

    “We are removing a burden for workers on the front lines, who risk their own health and safety to deliver critical services to our fellow Californians, so that they can access benefits, and be able to focus on their recovery,” said Governor Newsom. “Workers’ compensation is a critical piece to reopening the state and it will help workers get the care they need to get healthy, and in turn, protect public health.”

    Those eligible will have the rebuttable presumption if they tested positive for COVID-19 or were diagnosed with COVID-19 and confirmed by a positive test within 14 days of performing a labor or service at a place of work after the stay at home order was issued on March 19, 2020. The presumption will stay in place for 60 days after issuance of the executive order.

    The Governor also signed an executive order that waives penalties for property taxes paid after April 10 for taxpayers who demonstrate they have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through May 6, 2021. This will apply to residential properties and small businesses. Additionally, the executive order will extend the deadline for certain businesses to file Business Personal Property Statements from tomorrow to May 31, 2020, to avoid penalties.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives and livelihoods of many, and as we look toward opening our local communities and economies, we want to make sure that those that have been most impacted have the ability to get back on their feet,” said Governor Newsom.

    Since declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19 on March 4, 2020, Governor Newsom has taken several actions to benefit workers on the front lines, including paid sick leave benefits for food sector workers that are subject to a quarantine or isolation order; critical child support services for essential workers and vulnerable populations; additional weekly unemployment benefits; and needed assistance in the form of loans for small businesses and job opportunities in critical industries for workers that have been displaced by the pandemic.

    The text of today’s executive orders can be found here and here and copies can be found here and here.

    Learn more about the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts here. Visit covid19.ca.gov for critical steps Californians can take to stay healthy, and resources available to those impacted by the outbreak.

    ###

    Governor Gavin Newsom
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814


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