Newsom Issues Executive Orders on Medi-Cal Flexibilities, Social Services Programs, Financial Assistance Garnishment, Others

This week, Governor Gavin Newsom issued two executive orders amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These orders include:

Foster Youth Services

Newsom late last week issued Executive Order N-53-20 allowing for temporary waivers of certain youth programs to ensure the continuity of care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The executive order provides county welfare agencies and probation departments the ability to perform necessary functions using alternative processes other than face-to-face interactions. This action includes allowance for a 60-day waiver to allow for flexibility in the emergency placement of foster youth and ensures that foster youth have access to critical programs and technology by verifying foster care status for foster youth and wards of the juvenile court whose cases are pending.

Miscellaneous Flexibilities on DMV, CEQA, and CalRecycle

Governor Newsom on Wednesday issued Executive Order N-54-20 providing various flexibilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order provides a 60-day extension for customers on several Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) deadlines, allows posting, filing, and notice requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to be satisfied through electronic means, and temporarily allows retailers to provide bags to consumers without charge and to pause redemption of beverage containers in stores to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

DHCS and Medi-Cal Provider Flexibilities

Executive Order N-55-20 was issued by Governor Newsom on Wednesday providing flexibility to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Medi-Cal providers on a variety of deadlines and requirements to ensure continuity of service to patients and customers is not impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order will allow fair hearings to continue for California Children’s Services (CCS) on grievances and appeals to take place by phone or video conference. The order will also ensure flexibility for DHCS and CDSS to continue providing mental health care services and programs, as well as temporarily suspend requirements for in-person signatures for people to obtain certain prescription drugs covered by Medi-Cal.

Local Educational Agencies Plans

Governor Newsom issued on Thursday Executive Order N-56-20 extending deadlines for local educational agencies (LEAs) to submit Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), which are multiyear planning documents tied to budget projections. By law, LCAPs must be developed in collaboration with parents, students, teachers, and community groups.

LEAs will publish a written report to their communities explaining how they are responding to COVID-19. They will be required to explain steps they have taken to deliver high-quality distance learning opportunities, provide school meals in non-congregate settings, and arrange for supervision of students during ordinary school hours. LEAs will also be required to explain the steps they have taken to meet the needs of low-income students, English learners, and foster youth. The executive order also waives required physical education minutes and annual physical fitness testing that requires on-site instruction.

COVID-19 Financial Assistance Garnishment

Executive Order N-57-20 was issued by Governor Newsom on Thursday exempting garnishment for any individuals receiving federal, state, or local government financial assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes recovery rebates under the federal CARES Act and does not provide exemptions for child support, family support, spousal support, or criminal restitution for victims.