California leaders stuck at two speeds in the face of pandemic changes

With the removal of California’s universal indoor mask mandate on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California lawmakers are finding themselves in different places to move into a new phase of coronavirus response.

In the face of declining hospitalizations and case rates and soaring disapproval ratings, blue state governors quickly reversed many of the restrictive policies enacted in late 2021.

For Newsom, the moves didn’t come without political pain, mostly in the form of public shaming over attending NFL games without a mask. But moving into what he describes as the “endemic” phase of the coronavirus response has its own growing pains.

The starting point? Removal of mask mandates for California public school children.

Through Politics“Governor. Gavin Newsom appears ready to eliminate mask requirements in schools, as his counterparts in New Jersey, Oregon and Connecticut did this week. But Newsom can’t go where the unions of teachers are not ready, as was the case when schools reopened a year ago.

Last Wednesday, Newsom acknowledged the conflict of teachers’ unions with the need to move forward to remove restrictions on students

“They just asked for a little more time, and I think that’s responsible, and I respect that,” Newsom said of the union reps. “But we are also on a date with fate. We recognize that we want to move on from the status quo. »

A potential demand, linking the removal of masks in classrooms to higher student vaccination rates, could prolong this “appointment with fate”.

Meanwhile, one of the Capitol’s top evangelists for vaccination mandates is gearing up to recreate the now-locked federal vaccination mandate on private sector employees.

Asm. Buffy Wicks (D – Oakland) rolled out the 1993 Assembly bill, which would require new hires, including contractors, to businesses of all sizes to receive their first dose of vaccination on their start date and a second within 45 days of hiring.

Employers who fail to comply with and enforce the mandate with workers and contractors would be subject to financial penalties.

The bill exempts workers who have medical or religious reasons from not getting vaccinated.

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked OSHA regulations that would have required employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination, arguing that the workplace protection agency exceeded its authority to protect workers from accidents at work to monitor public health.

The Biden administration has since dropped the settlement because litigation is still ongoing.

Wicks argued that the Supreme Court’s defeat opened the door for state-level action on vaccination mandates.

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