Schools are essential and the need to educate our children is not negotiable. The 2020-21 budget package maintained school funding based on 2019-20 attendance levels, which essentially placed a funding cap on all schools, even those experiencing high levels of growth.
A major side effect of the Coronavirus pandemic is the immense impact on California’s mental health and substance use. Over 22,000 overdoses and suicides are projected to result from forced isolation and rising unemployment.  
The pandemic has thrown millions out of work and created massive problems at California’s Employment Development Department (EDD), the agency empowered to provide Unemployment Insurance (UI) to laid-off workers.
Several employees in the Capitol and 2 Assemblymembers tested positive for COVID last month which stopped our work in its tracks.  This week marks the start of a short, final month for the 2019 – 2020 session.
Citing the threat of coronavirus, both houses of the California Legislature plan to allow some members at higher risk for COVID-19 to weigh in on pending bills from their districts when the Legislature reconvenes in Sacramento next week Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron said the Legislature should not allow proxy voting until it gets approval from the voters.
The DMV has extended the time for drivers license renewals that had expired during the period of March 2020 on.  All drivers under age 69 were extended until July 31 with expanded online renewal available. Commercial license renewal extended until Sept. 30, 2020.  Learners permits from March 2020 also extended 6 months.  This is good news for many.
In California, opioid and heroin use is a major threat to public health, and is the leading cause of death for those under 50. It’s a major cause of crime, and contributes directly to high recidivism rates in our prison system.
The pandemic has thrown another curve at state Capitol operations. With news of a small number of confirmed COVID-19 infections, members of the Assembly will not be returning to Sacramento next week, when their summer recess was scheduled to end. “Shutting down the legislative work for the people of CA is not the solution,” Assemblymember Marie Waldron, the Assembly minority leader, tweeted this week.
Independence Day is traditionally a time to go to the beach, have backyard barbecues and close out the day watching fireworks. But this year, the celebrations won’t be as wide-spread, the beaches will be much less crowded. The limited July 4th activities may be appropriate since it provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on what the day is really about.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, state revenues began to plummet, while spending on unemployment insurance and social programs increased exponentially. The result -- our $21 billion surplus suddenly transformed into a $54.3 billion deficit.