July 21, 2020-Peter Muller, Deputy State Director, Office of Senator Diane Feinstein- Meeting via Zoom

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting via ZOOM

 Present:   Patti Arlt, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Mark Cloud, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Milford Harrison, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Temetry Lindsey, John Mirau, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Brian Reider, Thomas Rice, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Phil Southard, Sol Teh, Pete Van Helden, Phil White, Kim Wilcox and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests: Megan Barajas and Alissa Ko.

Announcements:  A second announcement was made for the proposed membership of Health Net.  The first announcement was sent to members via e-mail.  Alissa Ko, Director of Strategic Giving and Community Engagement would serve as their representative.  To learn more about them, please visit their web site at https://www.healthnet.com/  Comments should be directed to John Mirau or Carole Beswick.

Motion by K. Scott/Second by D. Schenkel/Passed:  Minutes from July 14, 2020.

Louis Goodwin, Chair presiding.

Peter Muller, Deputy State Director, Office of Senator Diane Feinstein updated the group and discussed Senator Feinstein’s priorities.

Since mid-March the Senator’s staff have been working remotely.  They had plenty of challenges for the transition which included purchase of lap top computers and video and teleconferencing set-ups.  Staff are looking forward to returning in-person when the time comes as the current system although workable is far from ideal.

The Senate has been keeping a fairly regular schedule, and this current three-week session will be extremely busy.

The Senator is concerned that the State still has a problem obtaining COVID-19 tests, and test results are taking far too long.  Although improved, there are still shortages for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  She supports Governor Newsom’s actions and believes smart decisions are being made.  The Governor has made big investments, but challenges remain.  Hospital staffing is of concern and may need federal assistance.  The Senator believes every state, like California, should have mask orders in place.  She is considering tying funding to mask compliance as the pandemic will be prolonged without use of masks.

The next Senate Republican coronavirus relief proposal, including help for schools, small businesses, and testing, is expected later this week from Senator McConnell.  The package is thought to total $1 trillion dollars, compared to the $3 trillion bill that passed out of the House.  The relief bill will likely have another stimulus piece for individuals but will be much less than the prior maximum.  COVID-19 liability protections are also expected.   Another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans will be proposed to reimburse businesses for expenses tied to protective equipment, testing and structural changes that need to be made to protect workers and customers.

There are 32 million Americans who are out of work, and the Senator believes another extension of unemployment benefits is needed.  As a former Mayor, Senator Feinstein is acutely aware that state and local governments need funding, siting that California has a $54 billion dollar shortfall.  If federal assistance is not given, drastic cuts will need to be made at the state and local level.

The payroll tax reductions favored by the President will be part of the negotiations.

Progress is being made on filling judgeships.  The temporary judgeship in our district has been extended with the possibility of being made permanent.  John Holcomb’s appointment has been approved by the Judiciary Committee but requires a floor vote.  Peter Muller indicated that letters to Republican legislators and the Administration to bring the issue to a floor vote could be beneficial.

A Q & A period followed.

A majority of the members present voted to extend an invitation of membership to Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF).

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 a.m.