COVID-19 News: May 19, 2020

  • This morning President Trump tweeted that the SF Bay Area will receive over $700 million in federal funds to assist continued operations and support workers at SFO, Muni, and BART. Bay Area transit officials are unsure exactly of the timing of the tweet, as the money he cited is evidently coming from the $1.3 billion set aside for transit agencies included in the CARES Act package passed by Congress in March. Of that $1.3 billion, $254 million is expected to be allocated to SFO. This morning President Trump also posted similar tweets regarding transit funding for DCPortland, and Seattle area agencies.
    • The SF Chronicle reported on the president’s announcement – you can read the article here.
  • Labor, business, and civic leaders joined the governor and state legislators’ call for the federal government to provide relieve to states and cities (via passage of the HEROES Act). The organizations partnering with the administration and state leaders include the: California Professional Firefighters; CalNonprofits; California Labor Federation; California Medical Association; California State Association of Counties; League of Cities; Building the California Dream Alliance; & the California Travel & Tourism Coalition. You can read the statements from each group here.
  • This past weekend, new health orders went into effect in San FranciscoMarin County, and San Mateo County. The more restrictive orders issued on April 29th by Alameda County and the City of Berkeley remain in place.
  • On May 14th Governor Newsom submitted his 2020-21 May Revision budget proposal to the Legislature – a plan to attempt to close a budget gap of “more than $54 billion brought on swiftly by the COVID-19 recession.”
    • Governor Newsom explained that the budget reflects the emergency that Californians are facing and which funds the “most essential priorities,” which include public health, public safety, and public education, as well as support to workers and small businesses as we restart our economy.
    • The revision proposes cancellations of new initiatives proposed in the Governor’s Budget, reductions in spending included in the 2019 Budget Act, the use of reserves, borrowing from special funds, temporarily increasing revenues, and increasing government efficiency.
    • The governor made it clear that because of the size of the challenge, there is no responsible way to avoid reductions.
    • Governor Newsom announced that the most painful cuts will only be triggered if the federal government does not pass an aid package that helps states and local governments.
    • Because of the increased demand for social safety net services increasing state costs (and the decrease in tax revenue), the $54.3 billion deficit is more than three times the $16 billion set aside in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
    • You can read the full press release here. Additional details on the May Revision are available here.
  • On May 12th the governor announced that more than 1 million diagnostic tests for COVID-19 have been processed in California. Testing has averaged more than 35,000 per day in the past week. The governor also announced that the CA 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. The press release is available here.
  • On May 11th, governors and legislative leaders from five western states (the Western States Pact) penned a letter to Congressional leadership requesting $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments in in order to preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education, and help get people back to work. The letter is attached here.
  • The National Association of Counties (NACo) has organized resources for County and public agency employees by topic (i.e. County Finances & Administration vs. Community Health vs. Technology, etc). You can access the resources here.
    • NACo is hosting a number of free webinars for employees and contractors who work for Counties and other public agencies. You can view and register for their upcoming webinars here.
  • Law360 is providing free access to their articles and shared wisdom during the COVID-19 crisis. A few recent articles that may be of interest:

For more information about COVID-19’s impact on California’s political and administrative landscape, visit our coronavirus webpage.

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2020-05-19T22:15:17-07:00May 19th, 2020|