Newsom: California on “the edge of a cliff” — more executive orders likely

As coronavirus case counts climb — and many Californians are unable to return to work or school — Gov. Gavin Newsom suggests he may get more aggressive about trying to address the crisis. Image via iStock

With a series of temporary protections that helped Californians get through the first few months of the pandemic set to expire soon, Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted he will today extend some programs in another flex of executive power.

Additional federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week end July 31, foreshadowing a wave of evictions and what Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf predicted will be a “homelessness Armageddon.” Meanwhile, many workers are resisting returning to work for fear they aren’t adequately protected against the virus, even as unemployment continues to rise.

  • Newsom on Wednesday: There’s “growing recognition … that we are walking towards the edge of a cliff.”

He added that he is “looking at the authority vested in me” to extend executive orders for eviction moratoriumsworkers’ compensation, sick leave and protections for essential workers. 

Negotiating with unions will play a key role. Workers backed by powerful labor groups are calling for stricter safety measures as they point to outbreaks that have ravaged nursing homes, hospitals, grocery stores and warehouses. The United Farm Workers union wants Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate the Primex Farms pistachio plant in the San Joaquin Valley, where nearly 25% of workers tested positive for coronavirus and one died.  

But the prospect of further executive action isn’t likely to please everyone. Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, a Rocklin Republican, has compiled a 123-page document of all the laws Newsom has changed via executive order during the pandemic, calling it a “monarchy.” 

And landlords and businesses are facing financial cliffs of their own. 

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