How long will Newsom’s Covid emergency last? – POLITICO

THE BUZZ — HIGH ALERT: California’s coronavirus emergency will continue until … well, we shall see.

Senate Democrats predictably rebuffed a Republican effort on Tuesday to terminate Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s state of emergency, a nearly two-year-old invocation of the Emergency Services Act that has allowed Newsom to issue scores of executive orders. Republicans argued that as infections and deaths decreased (Tuesday’s infection rate was 1.5 percent) and Newsom himself outlines a new phase of living with the virus, it’s time to move on and restore some balance of power with the Legislature.

Not so fast, say health care players and Democrats. Representatives of the California Professional Firefighters and the California Hospital Association said they still need the staffing, space and emergency response flexibility to respond nimbly to new variants. Newsom made that same argument last month when he discarded a bevy of outstanding orders but kept a core few, writing of the need to maintain “robust testing and vaccination programs and protecting hospital capacity” and warning ending some provisions would “compound the effects of the emergency and impede the state’s recovery.”

The outcome effectively functioned as a vote of confidence for Newsom’s Covid record. Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk said the governor had fumbled the response and cited the need to make sure “we don’t make the same mistakes again” when the inevitable next pandemic arrives. Democratic Sen. Bill Dodd countered that the “governor got it right” and “continues to get it right.” Arrayed against the resolution to end Newsom’s order was a heavyweight coalition of organized labor and local government representatives.

But that doesn’t mean the matter is closed. Democratic Sen. Ben Allen said nixing the emergency declaration “would hinder our ability” to control Covid but allowed that “it’s important that this be ended at some point.” When Allen pressed California Professional Firefighters President brian rice on when the emergency should conclude, Rice deferred to the Newsom administration, saying we “need to rely on the leaders who have led us so far.” Allen ultimately held off rather than join his colleagues in voting against the resolution, as did Sen. Steve Glazer.

Republicans argued that legislative inaction will leave the door open to an indefinite emergency. “What metric, what goalpost, what data set is going to be used to determine when this ends?” Sen. Melissa Melendez asked. “No one can give us that answer.”

The longer Newsom’s coronavirus powers have enduredthe more they have been met with resistance from California Republicans. Two GOP assembly members sued the governor to try and stymie some of his executive actions. It’s worth noting that some states of emergency have lasted for years, including a few that Newsom inherited from his predecessor. But Tuesday’s hearing hinted that the Legislature’s appetite for some sort of concrete endpoint could transcend party divides.

BUENOS DÍAS, good Wednesday morning. Sen. Alex Padilla will join POLITICO Live this morning at 11:30 PST for a discussion with tech activist Timnit Gebru as part of POLITICO’s inaugural Power List series, with the Recast author Brakkton Booker moderating. RSVP here to watch live.

Got a tip or story idea for California Playbook? hit [email protected] or follow me on Twitter @jeremybwhite. “,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:””,”_id”:”0000017f-9302-d137-ad7f-f7b25e3b0006″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”0000017f-9302-d137-ad7f-f7b25e3b0007″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>@jeremybwhite.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “If today was Festivus, I could list the governor’s missteps, his overreach and his secret deals, but it’s not Festivus, so I’m not going to do that. To me this is all about restoring the constitutional balance between the three branches of government.” Wilk makes his case for ending the state of emergency.

TWEET OF THE DAY: Rep. @tedlieu“,”link”:{“target”:”NEW”,”attributes”:[],”url”:”″,”_id”:”0000017f-9302-d137-ad7f-f7b25e3b0008″,”_type”:”33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df”},”_id”:”0000017f-9302-d137-ad7f-f7b25e3b0009″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>@tedlieu on a GOP Senate candidate questioning evolution: “Herschel Walker has aa good point: Science said tangelos came from tangerines and pomelos. If that is true, why are there still tangerines and pomelos? think about it (Also, not to get technical, but Homo sapiens did not directly descend from apes. We are a separate lineage).”

WHERE’S GAVIN? Nothing officially announced

— “LAFD chief deputy allegedly drunk during a major fire gets no discipline, $1.4-million payout,” by the LA Times’ Paul Pringle: “A private law firm hired by the city to investigate the May 18 episode found that [Fred] Mathis was likely intoxicated at the department’s headquarters at City Hall East.”

WHAT A HEADLINE — “Russian oligarch induced in campaign finance scheme had ties to Sacramento pot businessman,” by the Sac Bee’s Ryan Sabalow, Dale Kasler and Theresa Clift.

SO MUCH FOR THAT: Republican state Sen. Melissa Melendez has abruptly abandoned her plan to challenge GOP Rep. Ken Calvert for a redrawn seat, just days after she opened a committee and cited “a clear indication to me it’s time for fresh ideas when it comes to representing Riverside County in our nation’s capital.” No-party-preference assembly members Chad Mayes also weighed running but opted out. That leaves Democrat Shrina Kurani.

ON YOUR LEFT — “Karen Bass is running for mayor as a progressive. But some LA leftists are frustrated,” by the LA Times’ David Zahniser and Julia Wick: “Even some of Bass’ longtime supporters have begun warning publicly that her more moderate stances put her at risk of dampening enthusiasm among the city’s progressive voters.”

LICCARDO’S LOOKING TO RUN — “San Jose mayor eyeing run for Congress, sources say,” by the San Jose Spotlight’s Ramona Giwargis and Tran Nguyen: “While speculation has circulated about [Sam] Liccardo’s ambitions for higher office—including the congressional seat held by Rep. Zoe Lofgren—this is the first time the mayor has publicly confirmed possible plans to run for Congress.”

CHA CHING! — “California single-payer plan would have cost up to $552B a year, LAO estimatesby POLITICO’s Victoria Necklace: The analysis could throw cold water on future progressive efforts to push for a system that effectively does away with private health insurance and replaces it with a centralized state-run financing system.

DAILY PHOTO OP — “gov. Newsom packs emergency supplies for Ukraine relief efforts,” via KGO.

— “AG says Pasadena ordinance violates California housing law,” by the AP’s Don Thompson: “Pasadena … passed an ordinance that among other restrictions allows officials to exempt eligible areas by declaring them ‘landmark districts.’ But no such exemption exists under the law, [Rob] Bonta said.”

CRAMING — “Inside the mad scramble in the California Capitol to come to UC Berkeley’s rescue,” by the SF Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli: “When was the last time that state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, saw the Legislature move this swiftly and unanimously on something? ‘I’m speechless, which is unusual,’ Atkins told The Chronicle.”

PLAY BALL — “California legislation aims to limit minor league contracts,” via the AP: “Democratic State Sen. Josh Becker introduced a Minor League Baseball Players’ Bill of Rights on Tuesday and said Advocates for Minor Leaguers partnered on it.”

— “Californians are using more water, despite Newsom’s call for conservation,” by the SF Chronicle’s Kurtis Alexander.

— “Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate Pleads Guilty To Federal Firearm Charges In Death Of Kate Steinle,” from the office of the US Attorney for the Northern District of California.

— “Former San Jose State athletics trainer accused of sexual misconduct pleads not guilty,” by the LA Times’ Gregory Yee: “Court records show he faces six counts of misdemeanor deprivation of rights under the color of law.”

— “Here comes the sun: Senate agrees on permanent daylight saving time,” by POLITICO’s Anthony Adragna, Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris: “But the drama isn’t over yet. Whitehouse said he has not received an assurance from Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the permanent-DST bill’s future in the House.”

DAYLIGHT REFRESHERS: California voters gave the Legislature power over Daylight Savings Time back in 2018 by passing Prop 7. The following year, legislation to make DST permanent passed the Assembly but stalled in the Senate; a bill before lawmakers this year would authorize year-round saving if Congress first lets California do so.

— “Biden giving millions to battle the opioid epidemic. How will it help California?” by McClatchy’s Gillian Brassil: “The grants aim to make medication-assisted treatment more widely available for opioid-use disorder and prescription drug misuse.”

— “Second gentleman Doug Emhoff tests positive for Covid-19,” by CNN’s Jasmine Wright.

KHANNA AND KUSHNERUK — “Silicon Valley congressman meets with Ukrainian official,” by the San Jose Spotlight’s Kate Bradshaw.

SEE YOU IN COURT — Instagram, TikTok could get sued for addicting kids under California proposalby POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi: Significantly, the legislation is retroactive, which would put the companies at legal risk for any past damage to their products caused for teens and younger children.

SECRET POLICE—”How California Is Building the Nation’s First Privacy Police,” by NYT’s David McCabe: “State capitals and foreign countries are increasingly taking a hands-on approach to limiting online data collection, curtailing the tech giants’ power and moderating extreme content on social media.”

SF TO SÃO PAULO? — “A worker objected to Google’s Israel military contract. Google told her to move to Brazil,” by the LA Times’ Suhauna Hussain.

— “New fuel charge to hit Bay Area Uber rides this week amid gas price surge,” by the Mercury News’ Eliyahu Kamisher.

PUSH — “Disney LGBTQ employees plan walkout over Florida bill,” by the LA Times’ Ryan Faughnder: “A group of Walt Disney Co. employees has organized a series of walkouts to protest the Burbank Entertainment giant’s response to Florida’s controversial bill limiting classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

PULL — “Newsom asks Disney to relocate jobs back to California over Florida LGBTQ bill,” by the LA Times’ Nathan Solis.

— “This 8-year-old’s plan to sell Girl Scout cookies turned into a hard lesson on ‘Silicon Valley ethos’ of business,” by the SF Chronicle’s Janelle Bitker.

— “Two-thirds of LA County Asian Americans fear racial attacks, survey finds,” by the LA Times’ Jeong Park.

— “‘We’re broken’: Body found in Merced home identified as missing 8-year-old girl from Hayward,” by the Mercury News’ Maggie Fear.

COLD—”Russian lawmaker demands return of Alaska, California fort and reparations amid US-led sanctions,” by Fox News’ Louis Casiano.

— “People Deserve to Know Their Houses Are Going to Burn,” by Emma Marris for the Atlantic.

— “SF City Attorney Chiu leads crackdown on rogue COVID testing sites,” by the SF Chronicle’s Sam Whiting.

— “Revised California math proposal: Despite pushback, little change,” by CalMatters’ Joe Hong.

TechNet’s Carl Holshouser
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