JEDE Midweek COVID-19 Update - September 23 Edition

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Zero-Emission Vehicles:  Governor Newsom announced that his Administration will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on “climate change-causing fossil fuels” while retaining and creating jobs and spurring economic growth.  The Governor issued an executive order (EO N-79-20) requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035, as well as other measures to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector (responsible for over 50% of all carbon emitted in CA).  https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/09/23/governor-newsom-announces-california-will-phase-out-gasoline-powered-cars-drastically-reduce-demand-for-fossil-fuel-in-californias-fight-against-climate-change/

  • Amendments to Proxy Access Rules:  The Securities and Exchange Commission voted to adopt amendments to its shareholder proposal rule, which governs the process for a shareholder to have its proposal included in a company’s proxy statement for consideration by all of the company’s shareholders.  According to the announcement, the amendments add the following requirements:  (1) requiring the entity submitting the proposal to have held at least $2,000 in shares for at least three years or higher amounts for shorter periods of time; (2) requiring a shareholder to be able to appear at the company headquarters within 30 days of submitting the proposal; (3) limiting each entity to submitting only one proposal at a company in a single year; (4) requiring the initial inclusion in the proxy statement to include the amount and length of ownership of the proposing shareholder; (5) increasing the levels of shareholder support a proposal must receive to be eligible for resubmission at the same company’s future shareholder meetings; and (6) requiring the proxy statement for resubmissions of proposals not approved to include the amount of support from other shareholders in the initial proposal.  The announcement further explains that these modifications are intended to relieve companies and shareholders of the obligation to spend time and resources on proposals where there may not be “appropriate alignment of interests between shareholder-proponents and their fellow shareholders.”  https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-220

  • New UI and PUA Claim Processing is on Hold:  The Employment Development Department (EDD) announced a two-week reset period (September 20 to October 4, 2020) on the processing of new unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments for independent contractors.  The processing hold comes as a result of a report released by a Strike Team deployed in July 2020 to review the EDD’s processes and identify improvements to address the historic claim volumes experienced during the pandemic.  This two-week reset will also allow EDD to reduce UI claim backlog.  The reset does not impact existing claimants from managing their UI Online account.  https://www.edd.ca.gov/Jobs_and_Training/pubs/wsin20-13.pdf

  • Castro Named Head of CSU System:  The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has selected Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D. as the system’s new Chancellor.  Dr. Castro has served as the president of California State University, Fresno, since 2013. He is the first native Californian and person of color to be appointed to lead the CSU.  https://www2.calstate.edu/csu-system/news/Pages/Joseph-I-Castro-Appointed-Eighth-CSU-Chancellor.aspx

  • Nail Services May be Performed Indoors:  The California Department of Public Health has issued updated guidance for personal care services (Nail services, Esthetic and Skin Care Services, etc.) https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/

  • CA Completing US Census:  The US Census Bureau maintains a website displaying information on each state’s progress in completing the 2020 census.  According to the website, as of September 23, California has completed Census forms from 97.5% of all households, with 28.8% of those households reporting through follow-up house-to-house canvassing by official census takers.  California ranked 18th among 50 states in the percentage of households who had responded.  https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates/nrfu.html?utm_campaign=20200920msc20s1ccallnl&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery   The 2020 Census will conclude data collection operations on September 30, 2020. 

  • Small Business Credit Survey:  The Federal Reserve System is conducting its annual Small Business Credit Survey to identify the current challenges small business owners face accessing credit. The survey is for businesses currently in operation, those recently closed, and those about to launch.  All responses are confidential.   www.sffed.us/sbcs2020   In addition to sharing this link within your network, the Federal Reserve System is looking for organizations to become regular survey partners, who will receive opportunities to gain access to data-driven reports about their network.

  • CA Governor to Speak on Climate Panel:  Governor Newsom announced his participation on a US Climate Alliance Governors Panel on Thursday, September 24, 2020.  The virtual event will be streamed live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEJm4II8Rac&feature=youtu.be). More information on the event is available at: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/09/22/thursday-during-climate-week-2020-governor-newsom-to-host-california-climate-action-day-highlighting-californias-global-leadership/.

  • Update on Federal Fire Assistance:  The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of assistance for residents and agricultural producers affected by recent wildfires.  As of September 16, 2020, the USDA reports that wildfires have burned nearly 6.9 million acres across 11 states, including California. More than 31,000 personnel from the local, state and federal levels are working to contain 61 large fires.  The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approved California’s waiver request to allow for the purchase of hot foods with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in select counties impacted by the fires through September 23, 2020.  On September 3, 2020, FNS also approved California’s request to issue automatic mass replacements of SNAP benefits to impacted households. This waiver allows households in certain counties and zip codes to receive replacement of 50% of their August SNAP benefits as a result of wildfires and power outages that began on August 17, 2020. The California Department of Social Services is the contact.  https://www.fns.usda.gov/news-item/usda-037420   The USDA Rural Development (https://www.rd.usda.gov/) and the USDA Farm Services (https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/emergency-farm-loans/index) have also activated emergency response programs to address the needs of farmers, ranchers, and rural residents impacted by the fires.

  • Highlights from Climate Week:  Climate Week 2020 runs from September 21 to 25 and nearly all events can viewed on-line.  Below are highlights from the first two days.

    • Walmart Commits to being 100% Carbon Free:  Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, announced during the Opening Ceremony that Walmart will be 100% carbon neutral across its global operations by 2040 – without relying on offsets.  In addition, the company said that it had set a goal to protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030.

    • Prince of Wales Calls for Marshall-like Plan:  His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales delivered a keynote address at the Opening Ceremony, saying that climate change “is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. At this late stage I can see no other way forward but to call for a Marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet.” He went on to add: “we must now put ourselves on a warlike footing, approaching our action from the perspective of a military-style campaign.”  [HRH Prince Charles has long been deeply engaged on sustainable development issues, including Sustainable Markets Initiative and Council, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, in September 2019.]

    • COP26 Calls for 100% Renewable Business Goal:  Alok Sharma, COP26 President and UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, called for businesses to commit to using 100% renewable electricity and to switching corporate fleets to electric through the Climate Group’s RE100 and EV100 initiatives.

    • 100% Zero Emission Cars and Vans:  Tesco joined a group of now 27 big corporations calling on the UK Government to set a target of 100% zero emission car and van sales by 2030.  https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/tesco-joins-call-uk-government-fast-track-move-zero-emission-cars-and-vans-2030  In addition, Tesco announced that it will be joining the EV100 initiative, which now includes 86 businesses, committed to switching over 4.8 million vehicles across the world to zero emissions and annually reporting on their progress.

    • New Energy Reduction Commitments from Business:  Ten major companies made commitments on smarter energy use, including China’s Changzhou New Wide, a textile manufacturer and supplier to major international brands such as Adidas, Anta, Decathlon, Lululemon, PVH, and Walmart.  These companies are joining 100+ companies who have already made energy reduction/efficiency commitments through the Climate Group’s global EP100 initiative.

    • SEC Commissioner Speaks on the Value of Diversity to Large Inventors:  Securities and Exchange Commissioner Allison Lee spoke to the Institute of Institutional Investors about the value of diversity on public boards and their workforces.  Quoting an extensive list of recent reports and research, the Commissioner identified specific ways in which diversity directly benefited companies and areas in which there were strong correlations between the diversity of the board or workforce and positive economic outcomes.   https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/lee-cii-2020-conference-20200922

CURRENT GUIDANCE ON COVID-19 AND FIRE RESPONSE AND RECOVERY ACTIONS

  • Blueprint for a Safer Economy:  Businesses can check out the status of the reopening of their county through the Blueprint for a Safer Economy (https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/). This is the state’s four tier reopening plan.  Tier 4 (purple) has the most restrictions and Tier 1 (yellow) has the fewest. 

  • Safely Making Web Platform:  California manufacturers who produce PPE, including face masks and gloves, can advertise their wares on https://www.safelymakingca.org/.  The website is a joint effort by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) and the State of California.  A manufacturer does not have to be a member of CMTA to participate.  To apply, manufacturers should complete this form.  At his September 9, 2020, press conference, Governor Newsom announced that the web platform currently includes 450 California manufacturers.  

  • Individuals and Businesses Impacted by Fires:  The Employment Development Department is accepting Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance applications for workers, business owners and self-employed individuals who lost their jobs or businesses or had their work hours substantially reduced as a result of the wildfires that began in several California counties on August 14, 2020.  https://www.edd.ca.gov/About_EDD/pdf/news-20-43.pdf   Individuals can receive up to $450 per week in benefits for a maximum period of 27 weeks.  Applications can be submitted through this webpage:  https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/UI_Online.htm

  • SBA Fire Disaster Assistance:  The US Small Business Administration has opened a virtual Business Recovery Center and virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center.  The centers are available Mondays – Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and can be accessed through this email (FOCWAssistance@sba.gov) or (916) 735-1500.  These services are only available for the California disaster declaration as a result of the wildfires that began Aug. 14, 2020, and not for COVID-19-related assistance.

FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATION RELATED TO COVID-19, MARCHES FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY

DATA, SURVEYS, AND ANALYSES

  • Food Scarcity:  The California and Budget Center released a report, Not Enough to Eat: California Black and Latinx Children Need Policymakers to Act.  According to the report, before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 1 in 10 Californians sometimes or often lacked access to enough food to support a healthy lifestyle.  In California, this number increased to 15.9% of households with children during a four-week period in late June and July. More specifically, for Latinx and Black households, more than 1-in-5 households with children reported sometimes or often not having enough to eat (21.9% and 20.2%, respectively) during the same period.  Among other recommendations, the report proposes increasing the maximum state CalFresh benefit (federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in California) by at least 15%, which would boost benefits by about $25 per person per month; extending the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) through the 2020-21 school year; and investing in programs like virtual home visiting, which can connect families to food banks, food assistance, and other food-related resources.  https://calbudgetcenter.org/resources/snap-calfresh-california-black-and-latinx-children-need-policymakers-to-act/

  • State Unemployment Benefit Numbers Released:  EDD released unemployment insurance data for California for the week ending September 12.  https://www.edd.ca.gov/About_EDD/pdf/news-20-47.pdf Unemployment Benefits include Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PAU).  Among other information, the weekly Unemployment Benefits report stated:

    • 191,852 Unemployment Benefit claims were filed for the week ending September 12.

    • Between March 14 and September 12, EDD received 9.8 million Unemployment Benefit claims.

    • $86 billion has been paid to out-of-work Californians since the start of the pandemic.

  • State Audit Finds Irregularities in UC Admissions Process:  The California State Auditor issued its final report following the review of the general admissions practices of three campuses: the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego).  http://auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2019-113.pdf?utm_source=CalMatters+Newsletters&utm_campaign=e468b56429-WHATMATTERS_NEWSLETTER&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_faa7be558d-e468b56429-150194957&mc_cid=e468b56429&mc_eid=1b394fb32b This report draws the following conclusions:

    • Campus staff took advantage of weaknesses in admissions processes to inappropriately admit 64 students as favors to donors, family, and friends.

    • Campuses lack key criteria and standards to support their admissions decisions.

    • Campuses have not adequately ensured that reviewers and faculty consistently and fairly evaluate applications.

    • The UC Office of the President has not safeguarded the university’s admissions process.

  • Greatest Emitters Called to Make Commensurate Reductions:  Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute released a study, Confronting Carbon Inequality.  According to the study, the richest 10% of the world’s population was responsible for more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2015.  To avoid reaching 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) of global warming, this cohort would have to reduce its emissions by a factor of 10 in less than a decade.  https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/confronting-carbon-inequality

  • National Unemployment Data Released:  The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released national unemployment figures for August 2020, showing total US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.4 million and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%.  These numbers reflect 13.6 million unemployed people in the US with a labor participation rate of 61.7%.  The largest increase in employment was in the government sector, which accounted for one-fourth of the over-the-month gain in total nonfarm employment.  Among other data, August shows a significant drop in the number of individuals temporarily laid off (decrease of 3.1 million for a total of 6.2 million).  However, the number of individuals who permanently lost jobs increased by 534,000 for a total of 3.4 million.  For comparison, the number of individuals who have permanently lost jobs has risen by 2.1 million since February 2020.  California unemployment for August 2020 was 11.4%, down 2.1% from July 2020.  For yearly comparison, in August 2019, California unemployment was reported as 3.9%.   National data for September 2020 will be released Friday, October 2, 2020, and state-level data for September 2020 will be available on or after October 15.

GRANTS

  • CA Community Reinvestment Grants:  The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development announced that the 20-21 grant solicitation for the California Community Reinvestment Grants (CalCRG) program is now available.  For CalCRG program funding amounts, eligibility, and the application process, please review the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Grant Solicitation at: www.business.ca.gov/CalCRG.  The CalCRG Online Application Portal will be available at www.business.ca.gov/CalCRG beginning Monday, September 28, 2020.  The first phase of the application process must be completed and submitted by Monday, November 2, 2020, at 11:59 pm. 

  • NMTC Funding Announced -- $5 billion Extra to be Allocated:  The US Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) released the Notice of Allocation Availability (NOAA) for the calendar year (CY) 2020 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program).  This funding round will include $5 billion in additional allocations.  https://www.cdfifund.gov/news-events/Pages/news-detail.aspx?NewsID=393&Category=Updates

FALL IS CONFERENCE TIME

GOOD NEWS ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FRIENDS

UPDATES ON COVID-19 RESPONSE AND RECOVERY PROGRAMS

Wildfire - SBA Disaster Assistance
CA Loans (EIDL) Approved (as of 9/21)
9
Dollar Amount of CA Loans (EIDL) Approved (as of 9/21)
$675,000
CA Home Loans Approved (as of 9/21)
80
Dollar Amount of  CA Home Loans Approved (as of 9/21)
$9,503,200
Total Dollars Approved (as of 9/21)
$10,178,200

 

COVID - SBA Disaster Assistance
CA Loans (EIDL) Approved (as of 8/15)
533,876
Dollar Amount of CA Loans (EIDL) Approved (as of 8/15)
$33,022,133,987
CA Loan Advances (EIDL) Approved (as of 7/15)
809,792
Dollar Amount of CA Loan Advances (EIDL) Approved (as of 7/15)
$2,666,662,000
Payment Protection Plan (as of 8/8)
5,212,128
Great Plates Delivered
Meals served as of 9/21
10,722,176
Individuals Served This Week as of 9/21*
48,160
Food Providers Contracted as of 9/21*
755
*Data received from Great Plates Data Portal updated twice per week. 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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