Comments on Newsom’s state of emergency backfire

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Hello, California. It’s Monday June 7th.

State of emergency to stay

Governor Gavin Newsom randomly selects the first vaccine lottery cash prize winners at the California Lottery Building in Sacramento on June 4, 2021. Photo by Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters

Friday was not a lucky day for Governor Gavin Newsom.

The stage was set – literally – for a positive announcement. Newsom, standing in front of shimmering gold and red curtains and a Wheel of Fortune-style gadget in the randomly selected California Lottery Building in Sacramento the first 15 winners a cash prize of $ 50,000 from the state vaccine lottery program. Confetti rained down on the Governor as he waved an oversized check emblazoned with “Vax for the Win” and “FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS”.

But then the tough questions from reporters started pouring in, and the state’s grand reopening on June 15 started looking a bit hazy.

First, Newsom suggested it would take no executive action to overturn rules passed Thursday night by the California Workplace Safety Agency requiring many employees to continue wearing masks after June 15. Then, in response to a question from Laurel Rosenhall of CalMatters, he said he would not end the state of emergency in California on June 15.

  • New: “This disease is not extinct. He did not disappear. It’s not about taking time off in the summer months.

Maintaining emergency status allows California to bypass certain rules and expedite federal funding even when businesses reopen, which the Newsom administration says is necessary to manage the lingering effects of the pandemic. But it also provides fodder for Newsom’s critics, who accused it on Friday of wanting to retain the emergency powers that allowed it to unilaterally affect more than 400 laws and regulations.

Just like that, the main takeaway from Friday’s event changed from “cash prizes for getting the vaccine” to “Newsom doesn’t plan to end the state of emergency.” The rapidly evolving narrative underscores how the outcome of the almost certain recall election can depend on the timing. As Laurel reports, some leading Democrats appear to be pushing for elections to be held as early as mid-September – a move that could capitalize on promising polls and narrow the window of political traps.

Meanwhile, Newsom continues to collect donations, according to a CalMatters tracker, and endorsements. California Teachers Association Saturday said he would support Newsom against the recall, the latest influential union to do so.


The net result of the coronavirus: Sunday California had 3,689,994 confirmed cases (+ 0.03% compared to the day before) and 62,470 deaths (+ 0.4% compared to the day before), according to a CalMatters tracker.

California administered 38 429 927 vaccine doses, and 52.9% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated.

More: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline by tracking the state’s daily actions. We are also tracking state-by-county coronavirus hospitalizations and lawsuits against COVID-19 restrictions.


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1. Judge blocks ban on assault weapons

Rows of guns for sale in a store in Dublin, California.

California’s three-decade ban on assault weapons is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Friday evening – upsetting the political leaders of the state, who had made statements a few hours earlier recognition of the National Armed Violence Awareness Day. In his ruling against the state, US District Judge Roger Benitez likened the AR-15 rifle to a “Swiss Army Knife”, describing both “the perfect combination of an internal defense weapon and ‘national defense equipment’. Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta criticized Benitez for the analogy and said the state would challenge the ruling, that Benitez himself stayed for 30 days to allow an appeal. As CalMatters’ Ben Christopher reports, California has already appealed two other decisions by Benitez: one overturning the state’s ban on high-capacity magazines and the other blocking the background check requirement. state to buy ammunition. (Part of the problem? The state’s glitchy websites.)

The move came just a day after state lawmakers rejected a bill that would have taxed guns and ammunition to fund gun violence prevention programs and weeks after Newsom called for stricter gun laws following a mass shooting in San Jose.

2. Teacher unions back in the news

Hundreds of people gather to support Palestinians in San Francisco on May 15, 2021. Photo by Fiona Kelliher, Bay Area News Group

Two of California’s most powerful teachers’ unions have again embroiled themselves in controversy – this time the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After a deadly outbreak of violence last month, the San Francisco Teachers Union called on the United States to boycott, step aside and launch sanctions against Israel for propagating “apartheid and war crimes” against the Palestinians. The Los Angeles Teachers Union is due to vote on a similar resolution in September. The resolutions have sparked backlash from some Jewish families and organizations, who say the resolutions are inappropriate and could make Jewish students and teachers feel unsafe. Other critics have questioned why unions are focusing on Israel and Palestine instead of reopening schools – an argument also made against the San Francisco school board when he voted in January to rename 44 schools named after historical figures he said linked to racism or oppression (a decision has since returned). Some Palestinian groups, however, applauded the unions for tackling such a hot issue.

This is not the first time that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has surfaced in public schools in California. The State Board of Education in March adopted an ethnic studies curriculum that took four years and four drafts to develop – largely due to fears that the original drafts were anti-Semitic and did not include experiences of American Arabs.

3. The group tracks anti-Asian hatred

Russell Jeung, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, in Chinatown San Francisco on May 7, 2021. Photo by Harika Maddala for CalMatters

Following a series of unprovoked attacks on elderly Asian Americans in California and a mass shooting in Atlanta in which the eight victims included six women of Asian descent, a report documenting anti-Asian discrimination amid the pandemic has started to circulate. The report comes from a small California-based volunteer organization called Stop AAPI Hate, which quickly became one of the nation’s top sources for reporting hate incidents and in February received $ 1.4 million from the state for better monitor and respond to anti-Asian violence. Mallika Seshadri of CalMatters introduced the founders and volunteers who brought Stop AAPI Hate to national prominence.


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CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: California’s recent history is replete with programs and projects that deserve a merciful death, but which have continued to absorb billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars.

Lower healthcare costs: An office of healthcare affordability would put an end to California’s scorching approach, say Bill Kramer of the Buyer Business Group on Health and Anthony Wright of Health Access California.

Everyone deserves a walk in the park: Newsom’s budget includes innovative ideas to remove barriers to park access for underprivileged communities, writes Rachel Norton of the California State Parks Foundation.


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