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Democrats Hold Their Own Hearing to Update Education Law

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In this Jan. 21, 2015, file photo, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sitting next to ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., listen to testimony during a hearing looking at ways to fix the No Child Left Behind law during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Outnumbered by Republicans, Democratic lawmakers are jockeying to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

In this Jan. 21, 2015, file photo, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sitting next to ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., listen to testimony during a hearing looking at ways to fix the No Child Left Behind law during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Outnumbered by Republicans, Democratic lawmakers are jockeying to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

KIMBERLY HEFLING, AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic lawmakers are clawing to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law and its annual school testing requirements.

They crowded into a small Capitol Hill hearing room Thursday for their own forum on changing the law in protest of Republicans’ handling of the issue. Votes on a GOP bill are anticipated soon.

The bill “shows that poor, minority and disabled children are not a priority for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio.

Some worried about a provision in the bill to let federal dollars follow a low-income student to a different public school, saying they fear it will hurt schools with a high concentration of poor students. “How do you think we can best get that message out?” said Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif.

The No Child Left Behind law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, was intended to close substantial achievement gaps between the academic performance of minority and low income students and their more affluent peers. It mandated that students in grades three to eight be tested annually in reading and math and be tested again once in high school.

Schools that didn’t show annual growth faced consequences, and every student was to be proficient by 2014.

GOP Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, now the House speaker, sponsored the legislation with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and other senior lawmakers, and Congress sent it to Bush with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The law’s annual testing requirements, Common Core standards and school choice are all controversial issues wrapped up in the debate. Both sides heartily agree that the landmark law needs to be fixed, but tensions are high over the level of federal involvement in fixing schools.

Complicating the matter, allegiances don’t clearly fall along party lines. While more conservative Republicans would like to essentially eliminate the federal role in education, GOP-friendly business groups side support a strong federal role, as do civil rights groups that traditionally align with Democrats. At the same time, teachers’ unions, which also tend to align with Democrats, argue the Obama administration has placed too much of emphasis on testing.

Deciding that the goal of proficiency for every student by 2014 was unattainable, the Obama administration in 2012 started granting waivers to states. The waivers allow states to avoid some of the more stringent requirements of the law if they met conditions such as adopting meaningful teacher evaluation systems and college- and career-ready standards like the Common Core. The standards spell out what skills students in each grade should master in reading and math.

Widespread disagreement over how to change the law has kept Congress from getting a bill to President Barack Obama.

Republicans congressional leaders who now control both the House and Senate say they hope to pass a bill this year. That’s left House Democrats complaining things are moving too fast.

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, released a bill to update the law similar to one passed by the House in 2013 without one Democrat on board, and scheduled a Feb. 11 committee meeting to consider it. The bill maintains testing requirements, but it strips the federal government of much of its authority — including limiting the education secretary’s role in “coercing” standards. A vote is expected in late February.

Kline said the committee has had more than a dozen hearings over the last four years. “Americans have waited long enough for reforms that will fix a broken education system,” he said.

Like Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Kline has expressed concern that a strong federal role in education stifles education advancement and innovation in states.

But Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the newly appointed senior Democrat on the House committee, accused House Republicans of a “hasty, partisan push” to rewrite the law and he organization the forum with a panel of education experts.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement that Kline’s bill would “turn back the clock on growth.”

Much of the discussion in the Senate has focused on whether federal testing mandates should continue. Alexander has said he’s willing to listen to both sides and he’s hopeful he can get a bill out of his committee by the end of the month. But there have been signs of dissent. The committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray came out this week against allowing federal money to follow students, an idea also included in a draft bill circulated by Alexander.

“We have to have a bipartisan result. Otherwise we won’t have a law,” Alexander said Wednesday.

_____

Follow Kimberly Hefling on Twitter: http://twitter.com/khefling

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Business

Gov. Newsom Signs Package of Laws Supporting Restaurants, Bars

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a COVID-19 recovery package Friday supporting small hospitality establishments around the state, including restaurants and bars.

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Oakland, CA, USA February 21, 2011 Folks enjoy a sunny day with al fresco dining at the historic Last Chance Saloon, made famous by author Jack London, in Oakland, California/ iStock

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a COVID-19 recovery package Friday supporting small hospitality establishments around the state, including restaurants and bars. 

Signed at a restaurant in Oakland, the legislative package includes Assembly Bill (AB) 61, Senate Bill (SB) 314 and SB 389 – bills that, among other provisions, extend COVID-19 special permissions like outdoor dining and to-go licenses for alcoholic beverages. 

Funding for the package will come out of the governor’s California Comeback Plan which allots $10.2 billion in small business support. So far, the state has spent $4 billion on an emergency grant program and $6.2 billion in tax relief for small businesses. 

“These innovative strategies have been a lifeline for hard-hit restaurants during the pandemic and today, we’re keeping the entrepreneurial spirit going so that businesses can continue to create exciting new opportunities and support vibrant neighborhoods across the state,” said Newsom. 

The state support comes at a time when many Black-owned small businesses in California, including restaurants, are struggling to recover after being hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) research, 13 % of Black-owned businesses have had to close down due to the pandemic, compared to 8% of White-owned ones. For Latino-owned businesses that number is even higher at 18 %. 

Due to the pandemic, Black businesses have experienced higher revenue loss, more layoffs of employees and less success in getting government funded relief like assistance from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. 

“We have all seen the fallout from the pandemic and recession and the effect on BIPOC people and BIPOC small businesses owners has been devastating,” said Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. She was speaking at an IGS event last week titled “Diversity and Entrepreneurship in California: An Undergraduate Research Symposium.”

“These are problems that have to be addressed. Access to capital continues to be a challenge,” Gray continued. “We are seeing bankers like Wells Fargo, Citi and JP Morgan Chase making significant investments in BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) small businesses, communities and individuals. That is a trend I would like to continue to see.”

Gray pointed out there are a number of state programs like the Small Business COVID-19 relief funds that prioritize providing relief funding to underserved businesses in the state. 

Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) respectively, AB 61 and SB 314 establish a one-year regulatory grace period for businesses operating under temporary COVID-19 licenses to get permanent expanded licenses, such as outdoor dining authorization.

The one-year grace period will begin once the pandemic emergency declaration has expired. 

“Outdoor dining has been a critical lifeline that has helped these establishments keep their doors open during these challenging times,” said Gabriel.

 “AB 61 provides important flexibility so that restaurants can safely expand outdoor dining and continue to serve the communities they call home. I applaud Governor Newsom for his thoughtful leadership in protecting both public health and small businesses as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gabriel continued.

Wiener also stressed the importance of pandemic protocols for small businesses in California.

“SB 314 ensures the public can continue to enjoy outdoor dining with alcohol and that our small neighborhood businesses can continue to benefit from this change. The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and it’s important we make changes to modernize our entertainment and hospitality laws to allow them more flexibility and more ways to safely serve customers,” he said.  

SB 389 allows restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars that sell food to continue to sell to-go alcoholic beverages through Dec. 31, 2026.

“This is an important step toward helping our restaurants, which have been hit hard by the pandemic,” said Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), SB 389’s author. 

“It will ensure their recovery, protecting jobs and our economy. I thank Gov. Newsom for supporting this new law,” he continued.

 

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Coronavirus

San Francisco to Mandate Vaccines for City Contractors to Protect City Workers and The Public

Any contractor who works in-person on a regular basis alongside public employees must get vaccinated

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Close up of a mature man taking a vaccine in his doctors office

Mayor London N. Breed issued a Mayoral Order on October 8 mandating vaccination for all City contractors who work alongside City employees on a regular basis at a facility owned, leased, or controlled by the City. This mandate will also apply to all City Commissioners. All contractors will be required to be fully vaccinated by December 31.

This City Contractor Mandate will work in concert with San Francisco’s Worker Vaccine Mandate, which requires all City employees to be fully vaccinated no later than November 1, with earlier deadlines for those who work in high-risk facilities like jails, hospitals, and homeless shelters.

Contractors who work in high-risk settings are already required to be vaccinated under Health Orders. The City Contractor Mandate will ensure that all those who regularly work alongside City workers are vaccinated. Examples include:

  • If a contractor employee has a work station at a City office building and is working there in person a few days per week.
  • If a nonprofit employee is working at the nonprofit work site where City employees are regularly working.

Contractors may grant exemptions for employees based on qualifying medical reasons or religious beliefs consistent with the City Worker Mandate.

“Our vaccine mandate for City employees has always been about protecting the public we serve and protecting our workforce,” said Breed. “By extending the mandate to contractors who work alongside our City workers, we are continuing to do everything we can to keep our City workforce strong and healthy. Vaccines are safe and effective, and they are our path out of this pandemic. San Francisco is leading the way on implementing strong vaccine policies that will lift us up in the months ahead as we push forward with our recovery.”

Under the Mayoral Order, the City Administrator’s Office is tasked with issuing processes and procedures to implement this vaccine mandate and providing guidance to City Departments and Contractors regarding the policy.

“Our workforce is our most valuable asset. We’ve leaned upon our workers to continue delivering critical public services throughout the pandemic because that’s what we all signed up to do,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “Vaccine requirements to those who work beside us is a natural extension of our commitment to protect our workforce and the public we serve.”

San Francisco’s City workforce has one of these highest vaccination rates of any City in the country. Currently, over 94% of City workers are vaccinated against COVID-19, with just over 2,000 employees out of 35,000 registered as either unvaccinated or have not yet reported their status.

Under San Francisco’s vaccination requirement for employees, which was the first implemented in the country, all City employees must be fully vaccinated no later than November 1 in order to continue employment with the City, with exemptions provided for qualifying medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs.

“We are pleased with our high vaccination rate and that our employees, who interact with vulnerable populations on a daily basis, have made the decision to protect their colleagues and our communities by getting vaccinated,” said Carol Isen, Human Resources director. “Mandating that all contractors who work alongside City employees, is the right thing to do and supports all of the precautions we have taken thus far to keep our workers healthy and safe throughout the pandemic.”

The City Contractor Mandate, as well as the City Worker Mandate, are part of San Francisco’s broader effort to combat the impacts of COVID-19 with the most effective tool available: the vaccine.

Currently, over 82% of eligible San Francisco residents are fully vaccinated, which is the highest of any major city in the country. San Francisco has a current average of 77 cases per day, a drop from 309 at the height of the summer’s surge.

Cases among fully vaccinated individuals are currently at 7.4 per 100,000, while among those not fully vaccinated are 14.4 per 100,000. The vaccines remain highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death.

“City contractors are an important part of the broader workforce that delivers needed services to San Francisco, so it’s important for contractors to also be vaccinated and contribute to lowering the spread of COVID-19 on City facilities and among staff,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “Vaccines remain our best defense against COVID-19, and everyone who is eligible for should get one.”

 

This story comes from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Communication.

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Community

Building Bridges Beyond Bias in Marin

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

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From left: Tahirah Dean, Jason Lau, Ph.D., Laura Eberly, Alejandro Lara

The Marin County Free Library (MCFL) and Age Forward Marin is presenting a four-part, on-line series “Building Bridges Beyond Bias” which is designed for Marin County residents from all backgrounds to gain understanding and foster awareness about each other through conversation and connection, and to confront and explore beyond our biases.

Tahirah Dean will be speaking on Wednesday, October 20, and Jason Lau, Ph.D. will be speaking on Wednesday, November 3, for the two remaining programs. The programs will be online via Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Dean is an Afro-Latina Muslim woman and a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Marin, pursuing her passion for housing justice, and has worked as an immigration attorney assisting asylum seekers and those seeking work visas. She holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of North Texas, and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

Lau traveled to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1997 to further his education. Today, he is the interim associate dean and senior business officer for the School of Extended and International Education for Sonoma State University and chairs the Marin County Child Care Commission and the Marin YMCA Volunteer Board of Managers.

The speakers for two previous programs in the series were Laura Eberly, who spoke on September 22 and Alejandro Lara, who spoke on October 6.

Eberly is the founding director of Mountaintop Coaching & Consulting, which provides diversity, equity, and inclusion services. She holds a B.A. and M.S.W. from the University of Chicago and is ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church. She is a proud alum of Catalyst Project’s Anne Braden Anti-Racist Organizing Training Program.

Lara is a first-generation Latino college graduate from UC Davis, and currently works as the communications coordinator for the Canal Alliance in San Rafael.

MCFL has supported equity measures in the county, offered enlightening educational programming, and has enthusiastically endorsed the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ prioritization of social equity and the creation of the County’s Office of Equity. County departments are working to dismantle inequities and transform systems inherited through centuries of racial, social, and political injustices.

The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spearheaded the Age Forward Marin. It is a collective effort between County departments and local government, community leaders, and residents including in Marin’s unincorporated areas.

Gloria Dunn-Violin, a resident of Novato, approached HHS Director Benita McLarin with a concept that evolved into the special speaker series. Dunn-Violin teamed with the Corte Madera Library and the Age Forward initiative to design the Beyond Bias program’s purpose and format, to assist in finding speakers, and to share the event with community partners focused on diversity and inclusion.

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

The Marin Post’s coverage of local news in Marin County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California

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Politics

Democrats Hold Their Own Hearing to Update Education Law

Published

on

In this Jan. 21, 2015, file photo, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sitting next to ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., listen to testimony during a hearing looking at ways to fix the No Child Left Behind law during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Outnumbered by Republicans, Democratic lawmakers are jockeying to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

In this Jan. 21, 2015, file photo, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sitting next to ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., listen to testimony during a hearing looking at ways to fix the No Child Left Behind law during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Outnumbered by Republicans, Democratic lawmakers are jockeying to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

KIMBERLY HEFLING, AP Education Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic lawmakers are clawing to get their views heard as Congress moves ahead on revising the much-maligned No Child Left Behind education law and its annual school testing requirements.

They crowded into a small Capitol Hill hearing room Thursday for their own forum on changing the law in protest of Republicans’ handling of the issue. Votes on a GOP bill are anticipated soon.

The bill “shows that poor, minority and disabled children are not a priority for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio.

Some worried about a provision in the bill to let federal dollars follow a low-income student to a different public school, saying they fear it will hurt schools with a high concentration of poor students. “How do you think we can best get that message out?” said Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif.

The No Child Left Behind law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, was intended to close substantial achievement gaps between the academic performance of minority and low income students and their more affluent peers. It mandated that students in grades three to eight be tested annually in reading and math and be tested again once in high school.

Schools that didn’t show annual growth faced consequences, and every student was to be proficient by 2014.

GOP Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, now the House speaker, sponsored the legislation with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and other senior lawmakers, and Congress sent it to Bush with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The law’s annual testing requirements, Common Core standards and school choice are all controversial issues wrapped up in the debate. Both sides heartily agree that the landmark law needs to be fixed, but tensions are high over the level of federal involvement in fixing schools.

Complicating the matter, allegiances don’t clearly fall along party lines. While more conservative Republicans would like to essentially eliminate the federal role in education, GOP-friendly business groups side support a strong federal role, as do civil rights groups that traditionally align with Democrats. At the same time, teachers’ unions, which also tend to align with Democrats, argue the Obama administration has placed too much of emphasis on testing.

Deciding that the goal of proficiency for every student by 2014 was unattainable, the Obama administration in 2012 started granting waivers to states. The waivers allow states to avoid some of the more stringent requirements of the law if they met conditions such as adopting meaningful teacher evaluation systems and college- and career-ready standards like the Common Core. The standards spell out what skills students in each grade should master in reading and math.

Widespread disagreement over how to change the law has kept Congress from getting a bill to President Barack Obama.

Republicans congressional leaders who now control both the House and Senate say they hope to pass a bill this year. That’s left House Democrats complaining things are moving too fast.

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, released a bill to update the law similar to one passed by the House in 2013 without one Democrat on board, and scheduled a Feb. 11 committee meeting to consider it. The bill maintains testing requirements, but it strips the federal government of much of its authority — including limiting the education secretary’s role in “coercing” standards. A vote is expected in late February.

Kline said the committee has had more than a dozen hearings over the last four years. “Americans have waited long enough for reforms that will fix a broken education system,” he said.

Like Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Kline has expressed concern that a strong federal role in education stifles education advancement and innovation in states.

But Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the newly appointed senior Democrat on the House committee, accused House Republicans of a “hasty, partisan push” to rewrite the law and he organization the forum with a panel of education experts.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement that Kline’s bill would “turn back the clock on growth.”

Much of the discussion in the Senate has focused on whether federal testing mandates should continue. Alexander has said he’s willing to listen to both sides and he’s hopeful he can get a bill out of his committee by the end of the month. But there have been signs of dissent. The committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray came out this week against allowing federal money to follow students, an idea also included in a draft bill circulated by Alexander.

“We have to have a bipartisan result. Otherwise we won’t have a law,” Alexander said Wednesday.

_____

Follow Kimberly Hefling on Twitter: http://twitter.com/khefling

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Business

Gov. Newsom Signs Package of Laws Supporting Restaurants, Bars

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a COVID-19 recovery package Friday supporting small hospitality establishments around the state, including restaurants and bars.

Published

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Oakland, CA, USA February 21, 2011 Folks enjoy a sunny day with al fresco dining at the historic Last Chance Saloon, made famous by author Jack London, in Oakland, California/ iStock

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a COVID-19 recovery package Friday supporting small hospitality establishments around the state, including restaurants and bars. 

Signed at a restaurant in Oakland, the legislative package includes Assembly Bill (AB) 61, Senate Bill (SB) 314 and SB 389 – bills that, among other provisions, extend COVID-19 special permissions like outdoor dining and to-go licenses for alcoholic beverages. 

Funding for the package will come out of the governor’s California Comeback Plan which allots $10.2 billion in small business support. So far, the state has spent $4 billion on an emergency grant program and $6.2 billion in tax relief for small businesses. 

“These innovative strategies have been a lifeline for hard-hit restaurants during the pandemic and today, we’re keeping the entrepreneurial spirit going so that businesses can continue to create exciting new opportunities and support vibrant neighborhoods across the state,” said Newsom. 

The state support comes at a time when many Black-owned small businesses in California, including restaurants, are struggling to recover after being hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) research, 13 % of Black-owned businesses have had to close down due to the pandemic, compared to 8% of White-owned ones. For Latino-owned businesses that number is even higher at 18 %. 

Due to the pandemic, Black businesses have experienced higher revenue loss, more layoffs of employees and less success in getting government funded relief like assistance from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. 

“We have all seen the fallout from the pandemic and recession and the effect on BIPOC people and BIPOC small businesses owners has been devastating,” said Tara Lynn Gray, Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. She was speaking at an IGS event last week titled “Diversity and Entrepreneurship in California: An Undergraduate Research Symposium.”

“These are problems that have to be addressed. Access to capital continues to be a challenge,” Gray continued. “We are seeing bankers like Wells Fargo, Citi and JP Morgan Chase making significant investments in BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) small businesses, communities and individuals. That is a trend I would like to continue to see.”

Gray pointed out there are a number of state programs like the Small Business COVID-19 relief funds that prioritize providing relief funding to underserved businesses in the state. 

Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) respectively, AB 61 and SB 314 establish a one-year regulatory grace period for businesses operating under temporary COVID-19 licenses to get permanent expanded licenses, such as outdoor dining authorization.

The one-year grace period will begin once the pandemic emergency declaration has expired. 

“Outdoor dining has been a critical lifeline that has helped these establishments keep their doors open during these challenging times,” said Gabriel.

 “AB 61 provides important flexibility so that restaurants can safely expand outdoor dining and continue to serve the communities they call home. I applaud Governor Newsom for his thoughtful leadership in protecting both public health and small businesses as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gabriel continued.

Wiener also stressed the importance of pandemic protocols for small businesses in California.

“SB 314 ensures the public can continue to enjoy outdoor dining with alcohol and that our small neighborhood businesses can continue to benefit from this change. The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and it’s important we make changes to modernize our entertainment and hospitality laws to allow them more flexibility and more ways to safely serve customers,” he said.  

SB 389 allows restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars that sell food to continue to sell to-go alcoholic beverages through Dec. 31, 2026.

“This is an important step toward helping our restaurants, which have been hit hard by the pandemic,” said Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), SB 389’s author. 

“It will ensure their recovery, protecting jobs and our economy. I thank Gov. Newsom for supporting this new law,” he continued.

 

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Coronavirus

San Francisco to Mandate Vaccines for City Contractors to Protect City Workers and The Public

Any contractor who works in-person on a regular basis alongside public employees must get vaccinated

Published

on

Close up of a mature man taking a vaccine in his doctors office

Mayor London N. Breed issued a Mayoral Order on October 8 mandating vaccination for all City contractors who work alongside City employees on a regular basis at a facility owned, leased, or controlled by the City. This mandate will also apply to all City Commissioners. All contractors will be required to be fully vaccinated by December 31.

This City Contractor Mandate will work in concert with San Francisco’s Worker Vaccine Mandate, which requires all City employees to be fully vaccinated no later than November 1, with earlier deadlines for those who work in high-risk facilities like jails, hospitals, and homeless shelters.

Contractors who work in high-risk settings are already required to be vaccinated under Health Orders. The City Contractor Mandate will ensure that all those who regularly work alongside City workers are vaccinated. Examples include:

  • If a contractor employee has a work station at a City office building and is working there in person a few days per week.
  • If a nonprofit employee is working at the nonprofit work site where City employees are regularly working.

Contractors may grant exemptions for employees based on qualifying medical reasons or religious beliefs consistent with the City Worker Mandate.

“Our vaccine mandate for City employees has always been about protecting the public we serve and protecting our workforce,” said Breed. “By extending the mandate to contractors who work alongside our City workers, we are continuing to do everything we can to keep our City workforce strong and healthy. Vaccines are safe and effective, and they are our path out of this pandemic. San Francisco is leading the way on implementing strong vaccine policies that will lift us up in the months ahead as we push forward with our recovery.”

Under the Mayoral Order, the City Administrator’s Office is tasked with issuing processes and procedures to implement this vaccine mandate and providing guidance to City Departments and Contractors regarding the policy.

“Our workforce is our most valuable asset. We’ve leaned upon our workers to continue delivering critical public services throughout the pandemic because that’s what we all signed up to do,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “Vaccine requirements to those who work beside us is a natural extension of our commitment to protect our workforce and the public we serve.”

San Francisco’s City workforce has one of these highest vaccination rates of any City in the country. Currently, over 94% of City workers are vaccinated against COVID-19, with just over 2,000 employees out of 35,000 registered as either unvaccinated or have not yet reported their status.

Under San Francisco’s vaccination requirement for employees, which was the first implemented in the country, all City employees must be fully vaccinated no later than November 1 in order to continue employment with the City, with exemptions provided for qualifying medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs.

“We are pleased with our high vaccination rate and that our employees, who interact with vulnerable populations on a daily basis, have made the decision to protect their colleagues and our communities by getting vaccinated,” said Carol Isen, Human Resources director. “Mandating that all contractors who work alongside City employees, is the right thing to do and supports all of the precautions we have taken thus far to keep our workers healthy and safe throughout the pandemic.”

The City Contractor Mandate, as well as the City Worker Mandate, are part of San Francisco’s broader effort to combat the impacts of COVID-19 with the most effective tool available: the vaccine.

Currently, over 82% of eligible San Francisco residents are fully vaccinated, which is the highest of any major city in the country. San Francisco has a current average of 77 cases per day, a drop from 309 at the height of the summer’s surge.

Cases among fully vaccinated individuals are currently at 7.4 per 100,000, while among those not fully vaccinated are 14.4 per 100,000. The vaccines remain highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death.

“City contractors are an important part of the broader workforce that delivers needed services to San Francisco, so it’s important for contractors to also be vaccinated and contribute to lowering the spread of COVID-19 on City facilities and among staff,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “Vaccines remain our best defense against COVID-19, and everyone who is eligible for should get one.”

 

This story comes from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Communication.

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Community

Building Bridges Beyond Bias in Marin

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

Published

on

From left: Tahirah Dean, Jason Lau, Ph.D., Laura Eberly, Alejandro Lara

The Marin County Free Library (MCFL) and Age Forward Marin is presenting a four-part, on-line series “Building Bridges Beyond Bias” which is designed for Marin County residents from all backgrounds to gain understanding and foster awareness about each other through conversation and connection, and to confront and explore beyond our biases.

Tahirah Dean will be speaking on Wednesday, October 20, and Jason Lau, Ph.D. will be speaking on Wednesday, November 3, for the two remaining programs. The programs will be online via Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Dean is an Afro-Latina Muslim woman and a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Marin, pursuing her passion for housing justice, and has worked as an immigration attorney assisting asylum seekers and those seeking work visas. She holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of North Texas, and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

Lau traveled to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1997 to further his education. Today, he is the interim associate dean and senior business officer for the School of Extended and International Education for Sonoma State University and chairs the Marin County Child Care Commission and the Marin YMCA Volunteer Board of Managers.

The speakers for two previous programs in the series were Laura Eberly, who spoke on September 22 and Alejandro Lara, who spoke on October 6.

Eberly is the founding director of Mountaintop Coaching & Consulting, which provides diversity, equity, and inclusion services. She holds a B.A. and M.S.W. from the University of Chicago and is ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church. She is a proud alum of Catalyst Project’s Anne Braden Anti-Racist Organizing Training Program.

Lara is a first-generation Latino college graduate from UC Davis, and currently works as the communications coordinator for the Canal Alliance in San Rafael.

MCFL has supported equity measures in the county, offered enlightening educational programming, and has enthusiastically endorsed the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ prioritization of social equity and the creation of the County’s Office of Equity. County departments are working to dismantle inequities and transform systems inherited through centuries of racial, social, and political injustices.

The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spearheaded the Age Forward Marin. It is a collective effort between County departments and local government, community leaders, and residents including in Marin’s unincorporated areas.

Gloria Dunn-Violin, a resident of Novato, approached HHS Director Benita McLarin with a concept that evolved into the special speaker series. Dunn-Violin teamed with the Corte Madera Library and the Age Forward initiative to design the Beyond Bias program’s purpose and format, to assist in finding speakers, and to share the event with community partners focused on diversity and inclusion.

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

The Marin Post’s coverage of local news in Marin County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California

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