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California lawmakers press Newsom administration on COVID-19 pandemic response

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – State lawmakers pressed Governor Newsom’s administration on Monday on how its spending on COVID-19.

Lawmakers in the California assembly holding their first hearing since the capitol shut down March 17.

Lawmakers want more oversight of the governor’s pandemic response.

“We are constantly hearing and being asked about where the PPE is, distribution of equipment and how decisions are being made for hotels and motels,” Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said. 

A need for more information and collaboration, the assembly’s bipartisan message to the governor.

“There’s tremendous expertise in this legislative body to be able to help take things to another level. It feels like every effort I make to get to another level, I get resistance quite frankly,” Assemblymember Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, said.  

Republican Vice Chairman of this oversight committee Jay Obernolte, concerned Governor Newsom overstepped his boundaries using money authorized by the legislature to fight COVID-19 on some social services. 

Lawmakers also pressed the administration on the massive $1-billion contract secured for millions of units of personal protective equipment from China.

Cal OES director says leaders are not yet ready to release contract details.

Governor Newsom’s administration told lawmakers they estimate the state could end up spending $7-billion on its coronavirus response, the majority of which they say the federal government will reimburse. 

Lawmakers and the governor still need to work together on a finalized state budget by June.  

Both sides have acknowledged this pandemic will change how the state spends moving forward.

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