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COVID-19 State Policy Update 03.25.20

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March 25, 2020

Late yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference that started at around 5:35 PM to provide an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  He spoke for approximately 15 minutes and then opened it up for questions from the public (no credentialed press questions.)  

  • During the press conference, the Governor announced an Executive Order (EO) 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.  Additionally, the EO directs the Board of Parole Hearings to develop a process to conduct all scheduled parole suitability hearings through videoconferencing starting no later than April 13, 2020, and for the next 60 days.  A copy of the EO can be found here.  A copy of the press release can be found here.
  • The Governor said this latest EO was issued to protect the health, safety and welfare of state inmates, youth, and staff following the recent confirmed COVID-19 cases in four separate state prisons affecting five correctional officers and one inmate.  Please see CDCR’s COVID-19 Status page here.  Also, here is a link to CDCR’s “COVID-19 Preparedness” page: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/covid19/.

Additionally, earlier in the day, California’s Department of Finance (DOF) sent a letter to both the Assembly and Senate Budget Committees noting that there will be no Spring Finance Letters (policy changes) to Governor's January Budget. 

In a separate policy guidance memo to state agencies, the DOF said it will now reevaluate all budget changes within the context of a workload budget.   Further, the memo specified, “agencies and departments should have no expectation of full funding for either new or existing proposals and adjustments. The only exception to this new evaluation criteria will be proposals or adjustments necessary to support the emergency response to COVID-19. New requests which fall outside these parameters will not be reviewed.”  A copy of the memo can be found here.

Elsewhere, on Monday, the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) announced COVID-19 emergency homelessness funding grant allocations.  Specifically, California’s 13 largest cities, or cities that are also a county, will receive $42,968,750, while the state’s 58 counties will receive $27,343,750 and California’s 44 Continuums of Care will receive $29,687,500.  Allocations can be found here.  A copy of the press release can be found here.

For current information on COVID-19 cases in California, please see https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR20-32.aspx