This past week Govenror Newsom signed 6 new executive, ranging from juvenile justice to the establishment of a new task force on economic recovery.
- Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery: Bringing together leaders across California’s diverse, innovative economic and social sectors to chart a path forward on recovery in the wake of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the formation of a state Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Governor Newsom’s Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary and philanthropist, environmentalist and businessman Tom Steyer, who was also appointed Chief Advisor to the Governor on Business and Jobs Recovery. He will receive no compensation for his service.
- Members of the Task Force include Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove, Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Bob Iger, former head of the Small Business Administration Aida Álvarez and dozens of prominent leaders in business, labor, health care, academia and philanthropy.
Read the full list of Task Force members here.
“This pandemic has forced millions of Californians out of jobs – with the most vulnerable hit the hardest,” said Governor Newsom. “While we have made significant progress in flattening the curve and increased preparedness of our health care delivery system, the actions taken have also impacted the economy, poverty and overall health care in California. We will use a gradual, science-based and data-driven framework to guide our re-opening timing while planning our economic recovery. I am honored that dozens of leaders in business, labor, health and philanthropy are stepping up to meet this moment by committing their time and talent to lift up all Californians. Through their leadership, and the leadership of California’s 40 million residents, I have no doubt we will emerge stronger from this crisis.”
The Task Force will work to develop actions government and businesses can take to help Californians recover as fast as safely possible from the COVID-19 induced recession and to shape a fair, green, and prosperous future. They will meet twice a month throughout 2020 to develop options that would work for all Californians, with a particular focus on those hardest hit by the pandemic.
“Governor Newsom has been a steady hand and shining example of how to lead during a crisis, and I am thrilled to help in this critical way,” said Tom Steyer. “In the coming weeks and months, we will bring together the public and private sectors, outside experts, organized labor, environmental groups, and activists to develop recommendations for a recovery plan that works for all Californians, with an emphasis on those communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Our goal is to present Governor Newsom with tangible actions that leverage the task force’s expertise to rebuild California, emphasize smart, green technologies and provide a model for just economic development for our country.”
The Task Force will craft ideas for short, medium, and long-term solutions that reflect communities across the state, and emphasize a fair and equitable recovery. There will be significant emphasis of the state’s strengths, including diversity and innovation. The Task Force will not only focus on our immediate recovery, but on actions to support a cleaner, more equitable and prosperous future for all Californians. It will build on the important work of other groups including the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, the Higher Education Council and the Commission on the Future of Work. Both co-chairs of the Future of Work Commission, President of SEIU Mary Kay Henry and Senior Partner of McKinsey & Company James Manyika, will serve on the new Task Force.
The Governor formed the Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force just days after he announced a multi-state Task Force with Oregon and Washington to coordinate the reopening of our regional economy. Governor Newsom outlined a road map to recovery with six indicators that should be met before California’s stay-at-home orders are modified.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on California’s economy. The state has seen more than 2.8 million unemployment claims since March 12, 2020 – not including undocumented residents or independent contractors. The impact has been particularly devastating for California’s small businesses.
- Foster Youth Services: This executive order will allow for temporary waivers to certain foster youth programs to ensure continuity of care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The executive order will allow county child welfare agencies and probation departments to perform necessary functions using alternative processes other than face-to-face interactions. This includes allowance for a 60-day waiver to allow for flexibility in the emergency placement of foster youth and ensures that foster youth have access to critical programs and technology by verifying foster care status for foster youth and wards of the juvenile court whose cases are pending.
- Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers: Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to support California workers from large employers in the food sector industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with two weeks of paid sick leave, filling a gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.
Workers in the food sector, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers, are part of the state’s essential infrastructure workforce, and have continued to work to serve Californians.
“These workers on the front lines of this crisis are our unsung heroes for continuing to work to ensure that Californians have food on their tables during these challenging times, and we must do everything in our power to make sure they are taken care of at home and in the workplace. Making sure they have paid sick leave and added protections in their place of work is critical,” said Governor Newsom.
Additionally, the Executive Order provides health and safety standards to increase worker and customer protection by permitting workers at food facilities to wash their hands every 30 minutes, or as needed, to increase proper sanitation measures.
The Administration has taken several actions to ensure food worker protections, including recently issued guidance by Cal/OSHA for the grocery industry on best practices on physical distancing, disinfecting, and the use of reusable bags. Also, the Governor released $100 million to support child care for essential infrastructure workers, including grocery workers, and vulnerable populations last week.
- Variety of Issues: Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order addressing a variety of issues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including adjusting admissions requirements for the California State University system and providing flexibility for 60 days on background checks for critical infrastructure sectors.
Specifically, the CSU system will be able to waive hearing requirements to be able to make adjustments to admissions criteria for students applying this coming fall to enter as freshmen in the fall of 2021.
Additionally, the order will allow the California Department of Justice to develop procedures to perform name-based background checks to protect health and safety and avoid delays in processing employment for critical sectors, such as health care services and care and support for vulnerable populations.
The executive order also will allow federal stimulus checks to flow directly to custodial parents owed back child support payments and will additionally allow for commercially licensed food trucks to be able to temporarily operate in roadside rest areas for a period of 60 days, to ensure essential infrastructure workers have access to food. Caltrans will be charged with developing and implementing a process to administer the temporary permits.
- California Workers: Governor Gavin Newsom announced new initiatives to support the millions of California workers who have lost jobs or wages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Governor’s direction, the Employment Development Department (EDD) will launch a new call center on Monday that will operate 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Unemployment Insurance Branch will be upstaffed with 1,340 employees, including 740 EDD employees and 600 employees from across state government. The Governor also directs EDD to expedite access to the Work Share program to avert layoffs.
The EDD will also stand up a one-stop shop for individuals applying for unemployment insurance and the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program starting April 28. The PUA will provide federally funded benefits distinct from UI program for certain individuals out of work or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. This includes the self-employed, individuals who may be employees but who lack sufficient work history and independent contractors. Federal guidelines include gig workers and California’s gig workers will continue to be protected by our strong laws against misclassification in the administration of PUA. PUA benefits will be issued within 24-48 hours – not the traditional 21 days for regular UI claims.
“Many Californians are one paycheck away from losing their homes or from being able to put food on their tables, and COVID-19 has only made these challenges worse,” said Governor Newsom. “California is focused on getting relief dollars and unemployment assistance in the hands of those who need it as quickly as possible.”
The Governor also announced an unprecedented $125 million in disaster relief assistance for working Californians. This first in the nation, statewide public-private partnership will provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by COVID-19. California will provide $75 million in disaster relief assistance and philanthropic partners have committed to raising an additional $50 million.
“California is the most diverse state in the nation. Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient. Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together,” said Governor Newsom.
California’s $75 million Disaster Relief Fund will support undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19 who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief, including the CARES Act, due to their immigration status. Approximately 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 per adult with a cap of $1,000 per household to deal with the specific needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can apply for support beginning next month.
The state’s Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities.
In addition to the $75 million in state funding, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), a network of foundations focused on immigration issues, has committed to raising $50 million to support direct financial assistance to families of undocumented immigrants through the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, with initial lead investments of $5.5 million from Emerson Collective, Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, The James Irvine Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and an anonymous donor, among others. Those interested in supporting this fund can donate at www.immigrantfundCA.org.
“During this moment of national crisis, undocumented immigrants are risking their own health on behalf of the rest of us, saving lives as health care workers; caring for our loved ones; and growing much of the food we depend on,” said Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and President of Emerson Collective. “With the federal government and so many states failing to provide undocumented immigrants the economic and health supports all Americans deserve, I hope that corporations, foundations and individuals across the country will join us in providing the emergency relief these members of our community need to weather this challenging time.”
California has developed an immigrant resource guide to provide information about COVID-19 related assistance, including public benefits, that are available to immigrant Californians.
Last week, Governor Newsom announced that California is seeking to take appropriate steps to ensure care and treatment for COVID-19 for its residents, regardless of immigration status. Given the current public health emergency, COVID-19 testing, evaluation and treatment services are being deemed as emergency services under Medi-Cal, regardless of the location where it is received. Deeming COVID-19 testing and related treatment services as an emergency will entitle all Medi-Cal beneficiaries, regardless of their scope of coverage under Medi-Cal or their documentation status, to receive all medically necessary inpatient or outpatient services related to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Juvenile Justice: Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that addresses the release and reentry process at the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so that eligible youth serving time at DJJ can be discharged safely and expeditiously.
The executive order calls for all discharge and reentry hearings to be held via videoconference to minimize the youth’s and other participants’ exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, notification given to county probation departments, the court in the county of commitment, and the youth’s legal counsel will be shortened from 60 days to 30 days before holding a discharge consideration hearing. The discharge hearing is conducted by the Board of Juvenile Hearings.
The order also allows for reentry consideration hearings—which are held in the court of commitment after approval of discharge consideration hearings—to take place at the DJJ facility where the youth are housed, instead of transferring youth to a county jail to await these hearings.
This new timeframe does not impact victim notification, as they already receive a 30-day notice. Victims and victim representatives will be able to participate in the videoconference hearings.
On March 24, Governor Newsom signed an executive order temporarily halting the intake of youth offenders into DJJ in response to COVID-19 efforts.