State and Federal Legislation
State Legislation & Executive Action:
CA State Coronavirus updates: https://covid19.ca.gov
The State of California’s emergency legislative package provides $500 million General Fund to help California fight COVID-19 and authorizes increases up to $1 billion. The funding will:
Increase hospital bed capacity and purchase medical equipment to combat the coming surge in COVID-19 patients;
Protect hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities most vulnerable to COVID-19 spread;
Provide lifesaving services to Californians isolating at home;
Support local government to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in homeless populations and provide safe beds for people experiencing homelessness; and provide funding to clean child care facilities that remain open.
The package also provides $100 million Proposition 98 General Fund for personal protective equipment and cleaning for schools that remain open. It also allows schools to maintain funding despite service disruptions.
Executive Order N-28-20: Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that authorizes local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slows foreclosures, and protects against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19.
The Executive Order comes as Californians are experiencing substantial loss of hours or wages, or layoffs related to COVID-19, affecting their ability to keep up with their rents, mortgages, and utility bills.
The protections are in effect through May 31, 2020, unless extended. The order also requests banks and other financial institutions to halt foreclosures and related evictions during this time period.
The Governor’s Executive Order asks the California Public Utilities Commission to monitor measures undertaken by public and private utility providers to implement customer service protections for critical utilities, including electric, gas, water, internet, landline telephone, and cell phone service on a weekly basis.
Executive Order N-29-20: Taking action to ensure that California’s most vulnerable residents can continue to receive health care, food assistance and in-home supportive services in a timely manner during the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order today to extend the eligibility period for important safety net services. “These social safety net programs are so important for families — especially during this crisis,” said Governor Newsom. “We don’t want Californians who rely on these services to lose them.”
The order waives eligibility re-determinations for 90 days for Californians who participate in:
- Medi-Cal health coverage
- CalFresh food assistance
- Cash Assistance for Immigrants; and
- In-Home Supportive Services
The change will allow current recipients of these safety net programs to continue receiving them without interruption.
Executive Order N-31-20: Timely Delivery of Timely Delivery of Vital Services. Taking action to ensure that key commodities can be delivered to California retailers in a timely manner during the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order to ease restrictions on commercial drivers engaged in support of emergency relief efforts. The change comes in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s emergency waiver announced last week to ensure the free flow of critical supplies and equipment.
Executive Order N-33-20 Stay at Home order: The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to follow the federal critical infrastructure sectors. This goes into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The order is in place until further notice.
State Executive order on Prisons N-36-20: To reduce the risks of COVID-19 in correctional settings, Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order directing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary to temporarily halt the intake and/or transfer of inmates and youth into the state’s 35 prisons and four youth correctional facilities. Those inmates and youth will remain in county custody for the next 30 days. This period can be extended if needed. This action builds on the state and local correctional and public safety leaders’ longstanding partnership, to protect public health and safety in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The emergency authority is granted to the Governor under the Emergency Services Act and to the CDCR Secretary under Cal Penal Code section 2900(b).
On March 14, by a vote of 363-40, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a second, bipartisan coronavirus aid package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). The U.S. Senate is expected to consider the House-passed package, with potential amendments, the week of March 16.
The bill includes five main provisions meant to respond to the deepening economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Free Coronavirus testing: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act ensures that all individuals, including those with private insurance, Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, FEHBP and TRICARE, as well as the uninsured, will have access to tests at no cost.
Food assistance: The U.S. House bill includes more than $1 billion to provide nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women and mothers with young children, help food banks and provide meals to seniors.
Medicaid FMAP Rates: The U.S. House bill increases by 6.2 percent the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) that the federal government provides to state and territorial Medicaid programs.
Unemployment Aid: H.R. 6201 gives states the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off and furloughed workers, as well as to those workers who exhaust their allotted paid leave. It provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, under certain conditions.
Paid Sick and Medical Leave: The bill establishes an Emergency Paid Leave Program that replaces a significant share of lost wages so that those who take leave to avoid spreading the virus or due to illness or caregiving responsibilities can pay their bills.