Newsom to ask Legislature to authorize $2.7 billion for COVID-19 surge response

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California’s COVID-19 response would be boosted under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new state budget proposal, officials said Saturday. New funds would be available to expand testing, like at the site on Broadway in Santa Monica.(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

California’s COVID-19 response would be boosted under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new state budget proposal, officials said Saturday. New funds would be available to expand testing, like at the site on Broadway in Santa Monica.(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

SACRAMENTO — California would spend $2.7 billion on new efforts to respond to the surge in COVID-19 cases, including additional testing capacity and assistance to hospitals, under a budget proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom will send to state lawmakers next week.

Newsom will also ask legislators to help craft new COVID sick pay rules for Californians, modeled after the policy that expired last fall, requiring businesses with 26 or more workers to offer up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave for employees to care for themselves or a family member.

“Our proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and health care systems and battle misinformation,” Newsom said in a written statement Saturday.

Advisors to Newsom said Saturday the governor will ask the Legislature to take quick action on authorizing the first $1.4 billion of the new pandemic response package when he sends his annual state spending plan to the Legislature on Monday. Most of the early funding would go to expand testing programs, with the remaining portion spent on virus response efforts inside California prisons.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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