Archive for the ‘State of California’ Category

Gov. Newsom issues statewide curfew beginning Saturday, Nov. 21 to slow spread of COVID-19

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

For counties in Purple Tier like Contra Costa, non-essential businesses and personal gatherings are prohibited between 10 PM and 5 AM

Unless you’re eating dinner with the governor at a fancy restaurant. Just kidding! – The Herald

SACRAMENTO – In light of an unprecedented, rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across California, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced a limited Stay at Home Order requiring generally that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 PM and 5 AM in counties in the purple tier. The order will take effect at 10 PM Saturday, November 21 and remain in effect until 5 AM December 21. This is the same as the March Stay at Home Order, but applied only between 10 PM and 5 AM and only in purple tier counties that are seeing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” said Governor Newsom. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”

This limited Stay at Home Order is designed to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. Activities conducted during 10 PM to 5 AM are often non-essential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood for adherence to safety measures like wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance.

“We know from our stay at home order this spring, which flattened the curve in California, that reducing the movement and mixing of individuals dramatically decreases COVID-19 spread, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “We may need to take more stringent actions if we are unable to flatten the curve quickly. Taking these hard, temporary actions now could help prevent future shutdowns.”

“We are asking Californians to change their personal behaviors to stop the surge. We must be strong together and make tough decisions to stay socially connected but physically distanced during this critical time. Letting our guard down could put thousands of lives in danger and cripple our health care system,” said Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting Public Health Officer. “It is especially important that we band together to protect those most vulnerable around us as well as essential workers who are continuing their critical work amidst this next wave of widespread community transmission across the state. Together we prevented a public health crisis in the spring and together we can do it again.”

COVID-19 case rates increased by approximately 50 percent in California during the first week of November. As a result, Governor Newsom and California’s public health officials have announced a list of measures to protect Californians and the state’s health care system, which could experience an unprecedented surge if cases continue their steep climb.

On Monday, the state pulled an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy putting more than 94 percent of California’s population in the most restrictive tier. The state will reassess data continuously and move more counties back into a more restrictive tier, if necessary. California is also strengthening its face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.

Late last week, the state issued a travel advisory, along with Oregon and Washington, urging people entering the state or returning home from travel outside the state to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. The travel advisory urges against non-essential out-of-state travel, asks people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country, and encourages residents to stay local.

 

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Governor Newsom signs bills ending police chokeholds, implementing other reforms

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

Main graphic by Carotid Restraint Training Institute.

Requiring independent investigations of officer-involved shootings; reforming juvenile justice and probation systems to aid in rehabilitation and reentry

SACRAMENTO – In the wake of nationwide demonstrations against structural racism and systemic injustice, Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed a series of bills into law initiating critical criminal justice, juvenile justice and policing reforms in California. Delivering on his promise this summer to sign a bill ending the use of the carotid restraint, Governor Newsom signed AB 1196 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) which bans the practice statewide. The maneuver known as a chokehold, was banned by District Attorney Diana Becton for her Investigative Unit in June. (See related article).

Newsom also signed AB 1506 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) requiring the California Attorney General to conduct investigations into officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals that result in death. He also took action on legislation that reforms the juvenile justice system to put more emphasis on rehabilitation and education, as well as creating a more just probation system.

“Americans across the country took to the streets this summer rightfully demanding more and better of our criminal justice system – and of ourselves,” said Governor Newsom. “We heard those calls for action loud and clear and today are advancing reforms to improve policing practices by ending the carotid hold and requiring independent investigations in officer-involved shootings. We are also taking important steps to break the school-to-prison pipeline. Still, we can and must do more. Working with our youth, faith and community leaders, law enforcement, the Legislature and countless others demanding change, my Administration remains committed to the important work ahead to make our criminal and juvenile justice systems fairer and safer for all Californians.”

Today’s action builds on Governor Newsom’s record enacting major change on criminal justice reform during his first years in office – from enacting one of the nation’s strongest police use-of-force standards, to putting a moratorium on the death penalty and shutting down California’s execution chamber, to closing prisons. The Administration will continue to work with the Legislature on additional reforms, including efforts to increase transparency in peace officer records and broader decertification measures to create accountability for officers with a history of misconduct.

Governor Newsom also took action today on important juvenile justice reforms. Building on the Governor’s commitment to end juvenile imprisonment as we know it, he signed several bills to support young people coming out of the criminal justice system and to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. SB 823 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review takes the first, formal step of closing the Division of Juvenile Justice, which will help to provide youth rehabilitative services closer to home.

Other bills the Governor signed today that support youth include AB 901 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), which will end the practice of referring youth who are having problems at school to probation programs. Additionally, SB 203 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) requires that children under age 17 have an opportunity to consult with legal counsel before interrogation, and SB 1290 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) will cancel certain fees assessed on juvenile offenders and their families.

Finally, Governor Newsom signed AB 1950 by Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), which caps probation terms to a maximum of one year for misdemeanor offenses and two years for felonies.

Governor Newsom also signed:

  • AB 646 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) – Elections: voter eligibility.
  • AB 732 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) – County jails: prisons: incarcerated pregnant persons.
  • AB 846 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) – Public employment: public officers or employees declared by law to be peace officers.
  • AB 1304 by Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) – California MAT Re-Entry Incentive Program. A signing message can be found here.
  • AB 1775 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – False reports and harassment.
  • AB 2321 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – Juvenile court records: access.
  • AB 2425 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) – Juvenile police records.
  • AB 2512 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) – Death penalty: person with an intellectual disability.
  • AB 2606 by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside) – Criminal justice: supervised release file.
  • AB 3043 by Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) – Corrections: confidential calls.
  • AB 3234 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) – Public Safety. A signing message can be found here.
  • SB 480 by Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) – Law enforcement uniforms.
  • SB 1126 by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) – Juvenile court records.
  • SB 1196 by Senator Thomas Umberg (D-Santa Ana) – Price gouging.

 

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Glazer votes for, Newsom signs bill requiring California to house inmates based on gender identity

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Frazier doesn’t vote, again; SB 132 requires Dep’t. of Corrections to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people based on their choice.

State Senator Steve Glazer. (D-7-Orinda)

By Allen Payton

Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, Sept. 26 signed a package of pro-LGBTQ+ bills, including SB132 requiring the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex (TGI) individuals in a manner that matches their gender identity while supporting health and safety.

SB 132 also requires CDCR to house people according to their own sense of where they will be safest and to record the individual’s self-reported gender identity, gender pronouns and honorifics throughout an inmate’s term.

State Senators Steve Glazer (D-7, Orinda) and Nancy Skinner (D-9, Oakland) were joined by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-16, San Ramon), who all represent portions of Contra Costa County, in voting for the bill. Assemblymembers Jim Frazier (D-11, Discovery Bay), Tim Grayson (D-14, Concord), and Buffy Wicks (D-15, Oakland) who also represent portions of the county, did not vote.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Scott Weiner (D-11, San Francisco) who also authored the controversial SB145 regarding non-regular sexual intercourse between youth ages 14-17 and those as much as 10 years older. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Wicks voted for that bill, as well. While Frazier and Grayson didn’t vote on that bill, either. (See related article)

Newsom also signed other LGBTQ+ related legislation including a measure to track the effects of COVID-19 on the community, and a bill establishing the Transgender and Wellness Equity Fund.

Included in the package of bills signed into law on Sunday is SB 932 also by Wiener, which aligns with emergency regulations announced by the California Department of Public Health in July requiring better and more timely collection and reporting of communicable disease data from providers and laboratories on a patient’s gender identity and sexual orientation. This legislation will provide public health officials with more information on patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, which is essential to addressing health inequities and designing public health interventions that help California’s diverse communities. Glazer, Skinner Bauer-Kahan and Grayson vote for the bill. Frazier and Wicks didn’t cast votes.

AB 2218 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-53, Los Angeles) establishes the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund. The Fund will assist organizations serving people that identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, or intersex (TGI), and help create or fund TGI-specific housing programs and partnerships with hospitals, health care clinics and other medical providers to provide TGI-focused health care. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Grayson voted for the bill, while Frazier and Wicks didn’t cast votes.

The Governor also signed SB 1255 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-33, Long Beach) and the Senate Committee on Insurance requiring insurance companies not decline policies for individuals because of their HIV status. Glazer, Skinner, Bauer-Kahan and Grayson voted for the bill. Frazier and Wicks, again didn’t vote

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Gov. Newsom signs exec order phasing out gas-powered cars, passenger trucks sold in state by 2035

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

To “drastically reduce demand for fossil fuel in California’s fight against climate change”

Transportation currently accounts for more than 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions   

Zero-emission vehicles are a key part of California’s clean, innovation economy – already California’s second largest global export market  

Order also directs state to take more actions to tackle the dirtiest oil extraction and support workers and job retention and creation as we make a just transition away from fossil fuels  

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels while retaining and creating jobs and spurring economic growth – he issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. (The text of today’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.)

The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions – all while communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. In addition, the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks. To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.

California will be leading the nation in this effort – joining 15 countries that have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered cars and using our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone.

By the time the new rule goes into effect, zero-emission vehicles will almost certainly be cheaper and better than the traditional fossil fuel powered cars. The upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car – both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile – is far less than a fossil fuel burning vehicle.

The executive order sets clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction. It supports companies who transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives. It also directs the state to make sure taxpayers are not stuck with the bill to safely close and remediate former oil fields. To protect the health and safety of our communities and workers, the Governor is also asking the Legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

The executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This action continues the Governor’s commitment to strengthening California’s resilience while lowering carbon emissions – essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals. In the last six months alone, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024 and the Governor signed an MOU with 14 other states to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Last fall, California led a multi-state coalition in filing a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to revoke portions of a 2013 waiver that allows the state to implement its Advanced Clean Car Standards.

Last September, Governor Newsom took action to leverage the state’s transportation systems and purchasing power to strengthen climate mitigation and resiliency and to measure and manage climate risks across the state’s $700 billion pension investments. To mitigate climate threats to our communities and increase carbon sequestration, the Governor invested in forest health and fuel reduction and held utilities accountable for building resiliency. The Governor also directed state agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system and made a historic investment to develop the workforce for California’s future carbon-neutral economy.

 

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Kelly-Moore Paint agrees to $1.43 million settlement with 10 DA’s for illegal dumping of hazardous waste

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Violated state environmental protection laws

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney

Martinez, Calif. – Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced Monday, a $1.43 million settlement against Kelly-Moore Paint Company (Kelly-Moore) to resolve allegations that the company violated California state laws governing hazardous waste by routinely and illegally disposing of paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes into company waste bins destined for municipal landfills not authorized to accept hazardous waste. The lawsuit also resolves allegations that Kelly-Moore failed to shred customer records containing confidential information before disposal.

“My office will always strive to protect the environment and public health by holding companies accountable for violating our environmental laws. This settlement not only acts as a deterrent against other potential violators but more importantly contains injunctive provisions to ensure Kelly Moore will maintain environmental compliance into the foreseeable future.,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.

Kelly-Moore is a retail paint company in North America. In California the company owns or operates approximately 106 retail stores, including nine stores in Contra Costa County as part of this settlement.

The investigation of Kelly-Moore was initiated by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC). From March 2016 through December 2018, inspectors from the DTSC, and investigators from other district attorney offices statewide, conducted a series of undercover inspections of waste bins originating at 29 separate Kelly-Moore locations. These inspections found numerous instances of unlawful disposal of hazardous waste paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes. Kelly-Moore also violated laws meant to protect vulnerable confidential consumer information by unlawfully disposing of customer records without having rendered personal information unreadable.

When Kelly-Moore officials were notified by the prosecutors of the unlawful disposals, they immediately agreed to cooperate with the People and promptly implemented measures and dedicated additional resources towards environmental compliance at its stores. Stores are required to properly manage hazardous waste and to retain their waste in segregated, labeled containers to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. Hazardous waste produced by Kelly-Moore stores through damage, spills, and returns is being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities, and properly documented and accounted for.

The settlement requires a monetary payment of $1.43 million. This consists of $825,000 for civil penalties, $178,750 for supplemental environmental projects, and $425,000 for reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. Kelly-Moore gets a credit of $125,000 against the penalties if it undertakes at least $250,000 in environmental enhancement work not required by law. In addition, the settlement includes provisions requiring Kelly-Moore to employ a California-based compliance employee to oversee Kelly-Moore’s hazardous waste compliance program and to undergo a trash receptacle audit to ensure hazardous wastes and confidential consumer information is properly disposed of at all stores. The results of the audit must be shared with the public. The company must also comply with 28 injunctive requirements pertaining to environmental and confidential consumer information protection laws.

Joining District Attorney Becton in this lawsuit are the District Attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, Placer, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and Yolo Counties.

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Los Angeles church, pastor win in court Friday, can continue indoor services judge rules

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Temporary order defies L.A. County COVID-19 orders; full hearing on September 4; only applies to that church, for now

On Thursday, August 13, Thomas More Society Special Counsel Jenna Ellis and attorney Charles LiMandri filed suit in the Superior Court of the State of California County of Los Angeles on behalf of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church against Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other California and Los Angeles County public health officials. (See complaint)

On Friday, the California Court vindicated Pastor MacArthur and the church’s stance that church is essential by recognizing the constitutionally protected right of churches to remain open and hold indoor services in their sanctuary.

Hours after Grace Community Church filed suit to invalidate Los Angeles County’s unconstitutional restrictions on churches, the County filed for a temporary restraining order to force the church to stop holding indoor services and comply with every unreasonable and over-broad demand. At hearing today (Friday, August 14, 2020) in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Chalfant denied almost all of the County’s requests, agreeing with Pastor MacArthur and the Church that it is the County’s burden to show why it should be permitted to infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of churches to freely exercise religion. The judge did also express concern for some safety protocols.

To address those concerns and after explaining that the County was being unreasonable in its demands, counsel for Grace Community Church offered to comply with mask wearing and social distancing indoors until the matter could be fully heard, rather than the County simply rushing to shut down the Church. The judge agreed this was reasonable, set the full hearing for September 4, 2020, and ordered the Church to have congregants wear masks and social distance between family groups indoors.

Pastor John MacArthur said of the ruling, “I am very grateful the Court has allowed us to meet inside and we are happy for a few weeks to comply and respect what the judge has asked of us because he is allowing us to meet. This vindicates our desire to stay open and serve our people. This also gives us an opportunity to show that we are not trying to be rebellious or unreasonable, but that we will stand firm to protect our church against unreasonable, unconstitutional restrictions.”

Attorney Ellis said, “This is a huge vindication for Pastor John and the Board of Elders at Grace Community Church, who have simply asked for their right to worship the Lord together in church to be acknowledged and protected. When I spoke with Pastor John after the hearing, he expressed sincere gratitude to the California Court and Judge Chalfant and said his congregation will be happy to comply with the judge’s temporary order. This is why John MacArthur is so deeply loved and respected by his congregation and all over the world. He is a gracious and firm leader, and his biblical stand for church being essential has now been rightly validated. We look forward to continuing to advocate on his behalf in asking the Court to protect the fundamental rights of churches.”

Legal counsel LiMandri said, “This result is indeed a great victory for all citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of religion. Pastor MacArthur’s love of God and country motivated him and all the GCC church elders to resist the unjust government shut-down orders targeting people of faith. Their devotion and patriotism has brought about a result that respects the legitimate interests of both the church and state. This result makes it possible for the thousands of congregants of GCC to continue to gather together in their church to worship, while at the same time honoring the court’s requirement that reasonable and temporary safety measures be observed. This court ruling should stay in effect at least until there can be a full court hearing in this case on September 4, 2020. Please continue to pray that the courts allow this enlightened judge’s decision to stand so that all Californians can soon resume the worship of God in their respective churches.”

“We are simply continuing to do today what we have done for the past 63 years, that Grace Community Church has been open to welcome the Los Angeles community and serve their spiritual needs,” the pastor said in a statement. “We will remain open and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who decide they want to come worship with us.”

The suit seeks to prohibit California from enforcing its unconstitutional and onerous coronavirus pandemic regulations against Grace Community Church and seeks a judgment that the health orders violate the California Constitution.

“Having irreparably damaged the confidence of Americans—and Californians especially—who now realize that the pandemic restrictions are neither necessary nor good, on Sunday, July 26, 2020, Grace Community Church decided to resume worship services—joining millions of Americans in deciding that enough is enough. With deaths from the ‘COVID-19 suicide pandemic’ exceeding those from the actual coronavirus pandemic, Grace Community Church decided that it would no longer sit by and watch its congregants and their children suffer from an absence of religious worship and instruction. Perhaps unsurprisingly—perhaps not—this led the County of Los Angeles to submit a demand letter to Grace Community Church, ordering it to comply with the restrictions that Los Angeles County deems unnecessary to enforce against so many others. Grace Community Church does not intend to comply.”

According to attorneys for the church, it is time for California to recognize that Christians are not second-class citizens, and the court must step in to do its job in applying the protections that the U.S. and California State constitutions provide to every individual equally and to churches in particular.

Pastor MacArthur opened the Sunday morning service on August 9, welcoming worshippers to “the Grace Community Church peaceful protest.” He was met with a standing ovation and extended applause from the congregation. Pastor MacArthur said of the lawsuit, “We are simply continuing to do today what we have done for the past 63 years, that Grace Community Church has been open to welcome the Los Angeles community and serve their spiritual needs. We will remain open and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all who decide they want to come worship with us.”

Ellis said, “We hoped that Los Angeles County would see its error on its own, but after attempted negotiations with their counsel, California is still intent on targeting churches—specifically, Grace Community Church. Pastor MacArthur and the Board of Elders will stand firm in their leadership and resolve that church is essential, and California has no legitimate power to enforce such onerous and unconstitutional restrictions against the fundamentally protected right to freely participate in church. After Grace Community Church voluntarily complied with state orders for nearly six months, California’s edicts demanding an indefinite shut down have gone now far past rational or reasonable and are firmly in the territory of tyranny and discrimination. This isn’t about health. It’s about blatantly targeting churches.”

LiMandri stated, “It is unconstitutional for Governor Newsom and the State of California to discriminate against churches by treating them less favorably than other organizations and activities that are not protected by the First Amendment. Pastor MacArthur and his church, as well as all churches, are entitled to practice their religion without government interference. This is especially the case when the government has given free rein to protestors, and is not similarly restricting marijuana dispensaries, large retail outlets and factories, or abortion providers. The government orders are also unconstitutional because there is no compelling need for the onerous restrictions on the churches at this time. The hospitals are not overwhelmed and the percentage death rate from COVID-19 is now extremely small. It is time for Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti to recognize what President Trump has already proclaimed: churches are providing an ‘essential’ service to the people. Therefore, they must be allowed to serve the people in the manner in which God has called them.”

Read the Thomas More Society’s Complaint filed with the Superior Court for the State of California County of Los Angeles – in Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur v. Gavin Newsome et al., on August 12, 2020, here.

Read the Demand Letter sent to Pastor John MacArthur by attorney Jason Tokoro, representing the County of Los Angeles in California, on July 29, 2020, here.

 

 

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Gov. Newsom allows public schools to reopen if county is not on state monitoring list for 14 days

Friday, July 17th, 2020

Screenshot of Gov. Newsom’s press conference from his official Facebook page.

By Allen Payton

During an announcement, today Governor Gavin Newsom said schools in counties not on the state’s monitoring list can reopen for in-person. But schools in counties on the monitor list must be off the list for 14 consecutive days before being able to reopen. According to a slide he shared, a total of 32 of the state’s 58 counties have been on the state’s monitoring list for 3+ days. Contra Costa continues to be on the state’s monitoring list of counties. The order includes both public and private schools.

Governor Gavin Newsom announces #COVID19 guidance for schools and provide an update on the state’s response to the pandemic.

Posted by California Governor on Friday, July 17, 2020

“It’s very personal to me as a father of four, 10 years of age or younger, to the 6.15 million kids who are part of the public school education system and the 625,000 adults…who are looking forward to getting back to school…and us parents getting back to work…and to so many other responsibilities as parents and caregivers,” Newsom started off.

He spoke of and provided slides explaining the specific recommendations and guidance.

“Schools must provide meaningful instruction during this pandemic whether they are open…or not,” Newsom said.

He spoke of the health of school staff. “We have to have their backs, as well,” he stated. “Safety is foundational.”

Newsom then shared his Five Principles:

  1. Safe in-person school based on local data
  2. Mask requirements
  3. Physical distancing + other adaptations
  4. Regular testing + dedicated contact tracing
  5. Rigorous distance learning

“Schools can physically open when the county they are operating in are off the state’s monitoring list for 14 consecutive days,” Newsom announced. ‘However, schools that don’t meet this requirement, they must begin the school year, this fall with distance learning.”

He then spoke of the other four principles.

“All school staff and students third grade and above must wear masks,” he stated. “Students second grade and below we encourage to wear masks or face shields.”

“On the physical distancing side, it’s incumbent upon staff to physically distance at least six feet,” Newsom said.

“The school day should start with symptom checks, temperature checks,” he continued.

Newsom spoke of requirements to test staff regularly, with the state contact tracing workforce of 10,000 people who will prioritize schools, according to one of the slides.

“Distance learning…access to devices. We have put up money for districts to purchase devices…to address this yawning gap in technology and connectivity,” he shared.

“We want to create a challenging environment where assignments are equivalent to what they would get in a classroom environment,” Newsom added.

He spoke of challenges with a breakout of the virus. If the school has cases of more than 5% positive, then we mandate that school close. If 25% of the schools in a district have 5% positive cases, the district must close all schools for 14 days, he explained.

“Learning remains non-negotiable. But neither is safety of all of our cohorts of support staff as well as our children,” Newsom said before sharing the latest statewide COVID-19 statistics.

“None of us want to see education virtualized, at least I don’t,” he said. “The one thing we have the power to do to get our kids back into school is, look at this list, again. Wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands, minimize the mixing.”

“The more we do on this list and we do it on scale the quicker all those counties will get off the monitoring list…and those kids are back in school,” Newsom stated. “It’s incumbent upon us to practice…what we preach as individuals…to model the behavior that can actually extinguish this virus,”

“I saw one study…if every American wore a mask in just a number of weeks, we’ll have dramatically bent the curve,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s too much to ask.”

“Go to that covid19.ca.gov website…to learn more about these continuity plans, Local Continuity Attendance Plans (LCAP),” Newsom concluded before opening up for a question and answer session.

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Governor Newsom uses “dimmer switch” to shut down most of California, again

Monday, July 13th, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom provides an update on the state’s response to #COVID19.

Posted by California Governor on Monday, July 13, 2020

“We’re turning back into a modification mode of our stay-at-home order.” – Gov. Newsom

Order affects some activities, businesses in Contra Costa County

By Allen Payton

“Looking at the conditions…based on the trend lines, based on the science…increased positivity rates…increased hospitalizations,” California Governor Gavin Newsom announced today he is using a “dimmer switch” for statewide actions.

“We are requiring all counties to close their indoor activities, including restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, card rooms and the shuttering of all bars,” he stated.

It applies to all counties, not just those on the monitoring list. However, all of those activities have already been closed in Contra Costa County, so that part of Newsom’s order doesn’t affect those in our county.

The governor called for the expansion of “opportunities for outdoor operations,” but didn’t elaborate.

He shared additional sectors that must be shuttered in the counties on the monitoring list, of which Contra Costa County is one.

“For all the counties on the monitoring list we are directing they close indoor operations in additional sectors: fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, that includes hair salons and barber shops, and indoor malls” Newsom stated.

“It’s a dynamic list. Counties come on, counties come off,” he said.

Newsome spoke of the increasing number of cases, positivity rate, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

“As of yesterday, in the latest reporting periods, we had 8,358 cases. For the seven-day average there were 8,211 new cases per day,” he shared. “So, you see that seven-day average trending up.”

“The positivity rate has settled in and…over a 14-day period is 7.4%, over a 7-day period it’s 7.7%,” he explained. “This represents a 21% increase in positivity rate over a seven-day period.”

He also spoke of an increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

“We’re seeing a modest reduction in the rate of growth…in the total number of people hospitalized,” Newsom stated.

“That represents a 20% increase over a two-week period, last week it was a 39% increase over a two-week period,” he said.

Newsom then reiterated the wearing of masks, and said, “we’ll get through this” and thanked everyone “from the bottom of my heart for your perseverance, for your patience” and called on Californians to “our need to maintain our vigilance” and “continue to do the good work we’ve done as a state…so we can work through this, get to the other side more resilient, more capable than ever.”

Newsom then held a question and answer session.

According to a County Health Services press release, California COVID-19 closures affect some Contra Costa businesses.

Due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 activity, California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the temporary closure of several types of indoor businesses and activities.

Effective immediately, all counties must close dine-in restaurants, bars, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers such as bowling alleys and arcades, zoos and museums, and cardrooms.

None of these types of businesses had previously reopened under Contra Costa County’s social distancing ordinance and must remain closed under the state order.

Breweries, brewpubs and pubs must “close all operations indoor and outdoor statewide,” according to the state’s COVID-19 web page.

Additionally, Gov. Newsom required counties that have remained on the California Department of Public Health’s county monitoring list for three or more consecutive days to close additional businesses and activities, effective immediately.

Contra Costa does meet the criteria, so this part of the governor’s order does apply to the county. Some businesses and activities that had previously been permitted in the county are affected:

  • Offices for “non-essential” business sectors, as determined by the state – visit ca.govfor more information when it becomes available.
  • Hair salons and barber shops
  • Indoor malls

All of these businesses and activities are required by the state to close today unless their operation can be modified to be outside or by pickup.

Other businesses and activities required by the state to close in watch-list counties include indoor worship services and indoor protests, which Contra Costa also suspended with its own local order effective today.

Fitness centers and personal care services, such as nail salons and tattoo parlors, were also named in the state order but had not previously reopened in the county.

For more information about today’s order from California, visit covid19.ca.gov.

Contra Costa Health Services urges everyone to continue taking simple steps to protect themselves from COVID-19: Follow the social distancing order, and wear a face covering when you leave home or when you are near other people. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and always stay home from work or school if you are not feeling well.

Visit cchealth.org/coronavirus for local information about Contra Costa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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