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.
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).
Executive Order N-37-20 Statewide Moratorium on Evictions: Governor Gavin Newsom today (3/27/20) issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts. It also requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19. The tenant would be required to retain documentation but not required to submit it to the landlord in advance. And the tenant would remain obligated to repay full rent in a timely manner and could still face eviction after the enforcement moratorium is lifted. The order takes effect immediately, and provides immediate relief to tenants for whom rent is due on April 1st. Today’s action builds on Governor Newsom’s previous executive order authorizing local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the pandemic.
N-38-20 Judicial Council Emergency Authority: This order empowers the Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of CA to take necessary action to be able to conduct the business and continue to operate the courts during the pandemic.
N-39-20- Health Corps: Governor Gavin Newsom today launched a major new initiative to expand California’s health care workforce and recruit health care professionals to address the COVID-19 surge. Health care professionals with an active license, public health professionals, medical retirees, medical and nursing students, or members of medical disaster response teams in California are all encouraged to join the new California Health Corps. Interested medical and health care professionals are encouraged to visit healthcorps.ca.gov for more information and to register for the California Health Corps. Medical doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, behavioral health scientists, pharmacists, EMTs, medical and administrative assistants, as well as certified nursing assistants are encouraged to step up and meet this moment to help California respond to the outbreak.
Schools at home framework: Governor Newsom announced a framework for at home instruction that was approved by the teachers unions among others.
N-40-20: Small Business: Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will provide tax, regulatory and licensing extensions for businesses. The executive order allows the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to offer a 90-day extension for tax returns and tax payments for all businesses filing a return for less than $1 million in taxes. That means small businesses will have until the end of July to file their first-quarter returns. Additionally, the order extends the statute of limitations to file a claim for refund by 60 days to accommodate tax and fee payers.
The executive order also includes extensions that impact state government workers, as well as consumers. For instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles will limit in-person transactions for the next 60 days, allowing instead for mail-in renewals. Additionally, the Department of Consumer Affairs will waive continuing education requirements for several professions, also for the next 60 days. Further, the order will extend the Office of Administrative Law’s deadlines to review regular department proposed regulations. The order also extends by 60 days the time period to complete investigation of public safety officers based on allegations of misconduct. Finally, deadlines for trainings, investigations, and adverse actions for state workers will also be extended.
N-45-20: Childcare Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will facilitate child care for children of essential critical infrastructure workers by allowing the California Department of Education and California Department of Social Services the flexibility to waive certain programmatic and administrative requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The waivers will focus on current eligibility and enrollment priorities that prevent child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential infrastructure workers. The waiver will allow eligibility for child care to prioritize essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers.
N-47- 20: IHSS The order will allow for a 60-day waiver for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue their work and be able to care for older adults, as well as individuals with disabilities.
- The Secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency shall take necessary actions to ensure staffing sufficient to process unemployment insurance benefits on a timely basis to ensure eligible individuals receive payments efficiently, including through staffing call centers at least during the hours of 8:00 am through 8:00 pm.
- The Employment Development Department shall take necessary actions to streamline the application for PUA to ensure that eligible individuals timely receive the assistance made available to them under the federal CARES Act.
- The Employment Development Department shall establish an efficient electronic means of expediting access to the Work Share program for lay-off aversion.
- The Employment Development Department shall not permit an individual to establish a claim for regular unemployment insurance benefits using the same base period income that was used to qualify for PUA benefits.
N-51-20: Food Service: Food Service 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.
N-53-20: Foster Youth Waivers: Signed an executive order that allows for temporary waivers to certain foster youth programs to ensure continuity of care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
N-55-20: Deadline Flexibility to DHCS & Medi-Cal Providers: Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that will give flexibility to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Medi-Cal providers on a variety of deadlines and requirements to ensure continuity of service to patients and customers is not impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
N-57-20: Private Student Loan Servicers: Gavin Newsom announced that most private student loan servicers have agreed to provide payment and other relief to borrowers, including more than 1.1 million Californians with privately held student loans. He also signed an executive order to stop debt collectors from garnishing COVID-19-related financial assistance.
State Agency response – Franchise tax board
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related health and economic impacts of this crisis, the California State Controller has temporarily suspended the collection of all debts to government agencies until July 15, 2020, or a date to be determined based on the evolving nature of this unprecedented event.
Effective March 27, 2020, the Franchise Tax Board will suspend the following types of collection actions
- Intercepts of tax refunds, lottery winnings, or unclaimed property payments, pursuant to the Interagency Intercept Collection (IIC) Program.
- Wage garnishments and bank liens pursuant to the Court-Ordered Debt (COD) Collection Program.
- Liens on real and personal property to satisfy tax debt.
- Automatic payments related to pre-COVID19 payment plans.
The suspension on collections will apply to all* types of government, including:
- Bail, fines, fees, penalties and assessments imposed and collected by the juvenile and criminal systems
- Court-ordered reimbursement for court-related services
- Overdue taxes
- Welfare or unemployment program overpayments
- Parking tickets
- Vehicle, including toll, violations
- Unpaid vehicle registration fees
- Debts owed to agencies in states outside California
- Suspensions will not apply to child support orders or arrears.
Nothing in this action will prevent an interest from accruing on a court ordered debt, which in California is 10%, nor does this action prevent someone from choosing to pay the debt voluntarily. This suspension is temporary and will not reduce the base amount owed.
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.
President Trump approved the Declaration of Emergency in California. The President’s action makes Federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas in the State of California.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Today, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to help provide additional public health resources, support working people, and protect the economy. Some of the ways this legislation will help our communities during this pandemic include:
- $1,200 direct rebates to individuals making $75,000 a year or less, with smaller amounts to those with higher incomes;
- $2,400 direct rebates to couples filing taxes jointly making $150,000 or less, with smaller amounts to those with higher incomes;
- $500 direct rebates for each child in a household;
- $100 billion for hospitals;
- Suspends federal student loan payments and interest accrual until September 30, 2020;
- $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants to provide relief for small business operating costs;
- Makes rent, mortgage, and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness;
- $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state and local governments and nonprofits providing critical and essential services;
- Extends unemployment insurance to 4 months instead of 3 months;
- $600 per week increase in unemployment benefits;
- $400 million to help states make their elections more secure; and
- $150 billion coronavirus relief fund for state and local governments.
$484 Billion Interim Coronavirus Relief Package:
Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act
President Trump signed a $484 billion interim coronavirus relief bill on Friday, April 25th that will add another $310 billion to the small-business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as provide billions in aid to hospitals and for testing.
- $321 billion in additional funding for a small-business loan program that quickly reached its earlier $349 billion cap. This includes $60 billion to be set aside for small lenders.
- $60 billion for small-business disaster loans and grants.
- $75 billion for hospitals.
- $25 billion for coronavirus testing.