Newsom Issues Executive Orders on CalWORKs, Pandemic Roadmap, Elections, Others

Governor Gavin Newsom issued a number of executive orders within the past week related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, we highlight these orders:

CalWORKs Enrollment

Governor Newsom late last week issued Executive Order N-59-20 temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program using various eligibility verification methods. The provisions allow for temporary self-attestation of pregnancy and conditions of eligibility and allow individuals to waive in-person identification requirements. The order also expands the opportunity for individuals to qualify for a limited amount of lump-sum financial assistance instead of receiving CalWORKs, as long as their income is below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and supports families by suspending the requirement for county welfare departments to consider the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation as income when determining CalWORKs grant amounts.

Pandemic Roadmap Local Variance

On Monday, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-60-20 directing the state public health officer to establish criteria to determine whether and how, in light of local conditions, local health officers may implement public health measures less restrictive than the statewide public health directives. Counties must meet specified criteria around COVID-19 cases, testing and contact tracing capacity, health care system preparedness, and vulnerable population protection plans. As detailed on Thursday, the Administration rolled out processes required of counties in implementing variances to Stage 2 of the Pandemic Resilience Roadmap.

Property Tax Penalty Waivers

Executive Order N-61-20 was issued by Governor Newsom on Wednesday waiving penalties for property taxes paid after April 10 for taxpayers who demonstrate they have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through May 6, 2021. The order applies to residential properties and small businesses and extends the deadline for certain businesses to file Business Personal Property Statements to May 31, 2020, to avoid penalties.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Expansion

Governor Newsom also on Wednesday issued Executive Order N-62-20 creating a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ compensation benefits applicable to Californians who must work outside of their homes during the statewide stay-at-home order. Individuals eligible will have the rebuttable presumption in workers’ compensation claims if they tested positive for COVID-19 or were diagnosed with COVID-19 and confirmed by a positive test within 14 days of performing a labor or service at a place of work after the stay at home order was issued on March 19, 2020. The presumption will stay in place for 60 days following the issuance of the executive order.

Various Deadline Extensions

Today, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-63-20 extending various deadlines for certification requirements for public school project inspectors, extending expiration dates for notaries public whose commissions are set to expire, extending procedural deadlines of the Department of Industrial Relations, and allowing retired peace officers to be temporarily be reemployed for up to a year if they left the agency in good standing. The order also authorizes remote reporting under the Sex Offender Registration Act consistent with state public health guidance.

November General Election

Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-64-20 requiring each county’s elections officials send vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020, General Election to all registered voters. Californians who may need access to in-person voting opportunities will still be able to access in-person services. The Newsom Administration indicated it will continue working with the Legislature and Secretary of State to determine how requirements for in-person voting opportunities and other details of the November election will be implemented while preserving public health. If by May 30, 2020, counties do not yet have clarity for in-person voting opportunities and other details of the November election, the Administration notes an additional executive order may be needed.