Daily Headlines

Daily Headlines for March 27, 2020

We scan major news sources* and compile selected articles to keep you up-to-date on current issues affecting California business – the economy, health care, environment, transportation and more.

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Today’s Top Story

California Businesses Retool and Donate to Help Fight Coronavirus (COVID-19)
COVID-19 has brought unprecedented difficulties to California and the nation—but chief among them is highlighting a shortage in health care-critical supplies.

Public Affairs/Politics

House Members Race Back to Washington Amid Fears the $2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Could Be Delayed
Democratic and Republican leaders were scrambling members of Congress back to Washington late Thursday because they suddenly believe the $2 trillion economic relief package might not pass by the voice vote planned for Friday and could be delayed if at least 216 members don’t show up to vote on the floor. NBC News

Gavin Newsom Sets Aside Politics as California Grapples with Coronavirus Crisis
For Gavin Newsom, the call that triggered California’s full crisis response came in the middle of the night on March 6, and he was waiting for it. CNN

Gouged Prices, Middlemen and Medical Supply Chaos: Why Governors Are So Upset with Trump
This “otherworldly atmosphere,” as Bonamo calls it, is driving demands from governors and local health officials for the federal government to take control of the distribution of scarce medical resources nationwide. The Washington Post

After Considering $1 Billion Price Tag for Ventilators, White House Has Second Thoughts
The White House had been preparing to reveal on Wednesday a joint venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems that would allow for the production of as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators to respond to an escalating pandemic when word suddenly came down that the announcement was off. The New York Times

Human Resources / Health & Safety

Guidance and Poster Issued for Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
After President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, 2020, providing paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave related to COVID-19 (commonly known as the coronavirus), employers have raised concerns and questions about how the law applies to them and their employees. HRWatchdog

Coronavirus Is Supercharging the Fight Over California’s New Employment Law
The coronavirus outbreak, and the economic devastation it has wrought, has heaped fuel on this debate, providing fresh arguments to both sides. Los Angeles Times

U.S. Surpasses China, Italy in Coronavirus Cases; California Sees Spike As Well
The United States has surpassed Italy and China in having the most confirmed coronavirus cases, according to a global case tracker run by Johns Hopkins University. Los Angeles Times

Stimulus Bill Would Make It Easier to Tap Retirement Accounts, Waive Required Distributions
The $2 trillion stimulus bill that has passed the Senate makes three big temporary changes to retirement savings. San Francisco Chronicle

New York’s Coronavirus Surge Holds Lessons for California, Which Is Listening
In the escalating battle against the coronavirus, California and the Bay Area have looked across the oceans to China, South Korea and Italy to anticipate how bad things may get — and now they’re looking much closer to home in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic. San Francisco Chronicle


As Coronavirus Spread, California Businesses Posted a Surge of Layoff Notices
California companies reported a surge of layoffs as they grappled with economic effects of the coronavirus, but the reports reflect just a fraction of the job losses in the fast-moving meltdown. Los Angeles Times

Record Rise in Unemployment Claims Halts Historic Run of Job Growth
A record 3.28 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the new coronavirus hit the U.S. economy, marking an abrupt end to the nation’s historic, decadelong run of job growth. The Wall Street Journal

U.S. Consumer Spending, Inflation Moderate in February
U.S. consumer spending rose moderately in February and momentum is set to fade rapidly in the coming months, with the coronavirus pandemic upending life for Americans. Reuters

‘Just Damage Containment’: Cost of the Coronavirus Shutdown Keeps Rising
The mammoth $2 trillion rescue package on the brink of heading to President Donald Trump’s desk would plug some of the massive holes coronavirus is ripping through the American economy. But the massive effort — the largest single injection of federal cash into the economy in U.S. history — will do nothing to flip the switch back on for an economy enduring the swiftest paralyzation any major developed nation has ever seen. Politico

Environmental / Agriculture

EPA Suspends Enforcement of Environmental Laws Amid Coronavirus
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak. The Hill

State Department Eases Coronavirus Bottleneck for Foreign Farmworkers
The U.S. State Department moved Thursday to ease a bottleneck caused by coronavirus precautions and allow more foreign agricultural guest workers to cross from Mexico to work fields in California and other states. Los Angeles Times

More Bay Area Parks, Beaches Closing Before Weekend
After thousands of Bay Area residents mobbed some of the region’s parks and beaches last weekend, the state is pushing back to discourage people from venturing too far from their homes during shelter in place. San Francisco Chronicle


U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tested Positive for Coronavirus
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has become the first world leader to say he has tested positive for coronavirus — with his Health Secretary also contracting the illness, in a double blow to the U.K. government’s response to the crisis. Bloomberg

Canada Urges U.S. Not to Put Troops at Border During Pandemic
Canada said Thursday it told the Trump administration that a proposal to put troops at the U.S.-Canada border amid the coronavirus pandemic was entirely unnecessary and would damage relations between the two longtime allies. The Associated Press

China’s Xi Offers Trump Help in Fighting Coronavirus as U.S. Faces Wave of New Patients
Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Donald Trump during a phone call on Friday that he would have China’s support in fighting the coronavirus, as the United States faces the prospect of becoming the next global epicentre of the pandemic. Reuters

Infrastructure / Education

California’s DMV to Close Field Offices to the Public Starting Friday Over Coronavirus Fears
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is shutting public access to its field offices across the state in response to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said late Thursday. The Orange County Register

$31 Billion in Federal Coronavirus Relief Coming Soon to Schools, College Students and Universities
The $2.2 trillion in coronavirus relief that the U.S. Senate unanimously approved late Wednesday will include $31 billion nationwide in assistance for K-12 and higher education and more than $4 billion for child care and Head Start. That should translate into at least several billion dollars for California schools and colleges. EdSource

California’s Homeless Census Was Already Troubled. Covid-19 Is Making It Impossible
For the past year and a half, local county census committees and homeless service providers throughout California have been conducting their own outreach for the 2020 census, knowing that only an accurate count of the state’s growing homeless population will guarantee the federal funding needed to get people off the streets and into stability. The Guardian

Exam Used for College Credit Canceled due to Coronavirus. How That Affects California Students
As worldwide attempts to prevent the spread of coronavirus continue, the International Baccalaureate, a worldwide program offering rigorous coursework for college credit, announced Tuesday that all exams will be canceled. The Sacramento Bee


COVID-19 and the Coming Rent Control Initiative
Reasons for defeating the former initiative and the new version are still valid. Basically, it boils down to rent control would freeze construction of housing units. A greater housing supply would limit rents. Joel Fox in Fox and Hounds Daily

In Coronavirus Crisis, Gavin Newsom Is California’s President. And He’s Being Tested
Can Newsom meet the moment? He appears to be doing his damnedest. California’s response to COVID-19 is the most aggressive in the nation. We may never know how many lives Newsom saved with his early stay-in-place order. Gil Duran in The Sacramento Bee

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