Newsom Issues Executive Orders on Price Gouging, Telehealth, Supply Procurement, Others

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a series of executive orders within the past week. Below, these orders are detailed:

Telehealth Services

Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-43-20 on Friday, April 3, relaxing specified state privacy and security laws for medical providers so they can provide telehealth services without the risk of being penalized. The action is consistent with the federal Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights waiver issued last month regarding federal privacy and security laws.

Price Gouging Protections

Also on Friday, April 3, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-44-20 prohibiting sellers of any kind from increasing prices on food, consumer goods, medical or emergency supplies, and certain other items by more than 10 percent. The order also provides additional tools to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General’s Office, among others, to take action against price gougers.

Childcare for Essential Workers

Executive Order N-45-20 was issued by Newsom on Saturday, April 4, and allows the California Department of Education (CDE) and California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to waive certain programmatic and administrative requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The waivers will focus on eligibility and enrollment priorities for essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers. The order also allows the state to take advantage of new federal flexibility to provide pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to children.

Medical Supply Procurement

Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-46-20 on Tuesday suspending sales and use taxes for PPE items sold to or purchased by the State of California.

IHSS Waiver

Executive Order N-47-20 was also issued by Newsom on Tuesday and allows for a 60-day waiver for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue their work caring for older adults and individuals with disabilities.

Upcoming Elections

Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-48-20 on Thursday shifting three local special elections that are scheduled for May and June to all-mail ballot elections. Local election officials have the option to make in-person voting available, but only in a manner consistent with public health and safety. The three impacted elections are in the City of Santa Ana, the City of Commerce, and the El Rancho Unified School District.