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Governor expands child care access for essential workers; praises tax penalty cancellations

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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 16: California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a news conference with California attorney General Xavier Becerra at the California State Capitol on August 16, 2019 in Sacramento, California. California attorney genera Xavier Becerra and California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the State of California is suing the Trump administration challenging the legality of a new "public charge" rule that would make it difficult for immigrants to obtain green cards who receive public assistance like food stamps and Medicaid. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Saturday to expand child care access to essential workers and offered words of praise for California counties eliminating tax penalties for late payment for hardships related to coronavirus.

A press release from the Governor's office detailed the order for expanded child care access:

"Today Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will facilitate child care for children of essential critical infrastructure workers by allowing the California Department of Education and California Department of Social Services the flexibility to waive certain programmatic and administrative requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The waivers will focus on current eligibility and enrollment priorities that prevent child care and after school programs from serving children of essential infrastructure workers. The waiver will allow eligibility for child care to prioritize essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers.

Additionally, the order states that the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services shall jointly develop and issue guidance on how the essential worker prioritization will roll out, as well as guidance on how child care programs and providers can safely provide care. This guidance will be issued no later than April 7, 2020.

Priority for abused and neglected children will not be impacted.

The order also allows the state to take advantage of new federal flexibility to provide pandemic Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to children. Specifically, the California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Education will share data and information to identify students who may be eligible for the pandemic SNAP benefit, to reduce food insecurity and ensure children receive nutritious meals at low or no cost."

Governor Newsom also released the statement below following the announcement of a commitment from California counties to cancel penalties and other charges for homeowners, small businesses and other property owners with demonstrated economic hardship, on a case-by-case basis, due to COVID-19. Property owners that can afford to pay these taxes should continue to pay on time.

"This is good news for Californians. I would like to thank the California State Association of Counties and the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors for committing to providing economic relief for residents and small businesses facing hardships due to COVID-19," said Governor Newsom.

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Tom Tucker

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