On March 4, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a State of Emergency to prepare the State of California with resources to combat the spread of the virus. In the days following, health officials advised limiting large group activities, which led to sports events, concerts, and amusement parks like Disneyland to cancel or close completely through the beginning of April.
As the Administration responded to the outbreak, the Legislature began taking cautionary measures to help curb the spread, including transferring some in-person meetings to tele- communications, closing the Capitol to the public on the weekend, and cancelling informational hearings.
On March 15, Governor Newsom announced calls for the isolation for health-compromised individuals and individuals over 65; closures for bars, nightclubs, wineries, and breweries; and for restaurants to focus on takeout instead on sit-down visits. On March 16, cities and counties in the San Francisco Bay Area announced calls for closure of non-essential work, calling for individuals to stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary.
The Legislature sent out memos advising staff over 65 and those with compromised immune systems to work from home while they deliberate whether to move up the originally scheduled April 3rd spring recess to late-March to help combat health and safety concerns. All informational hearings scheduled for the week of March 16th have either been postponed or cancelled, while policy committees took time to weigh the option. The Governor announced waiving parliamentary rules within the State Constitution, namely the 72-hour rule, to pass legislation that would address the State’s response to COVID-19.
On March 16th, the Legislature announced they will recess for the next several weeks, reconvening on April 13, 2020. The Legislature also gave themselves the option to return earlier or later, and the Governor may extend the recess if he declares home-isolation to be necessary. Both houses remain open and, while details are still emerging, we expect some communications may be still be conducted digitally or via phone.