California is expanding its stimulus check program to send checks to two-thirds of its residents, Newsom announces

Gavin Newsom
In this Monday Feb. 11, 2019 file photo Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom answers questions at a Capitol news conference, in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom is expected to sign a moratorium on the death penalty in California Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new stimulus checks for California residents on Monday.
  • He said anyone earning under $75,000 would receive a check of at least $600.
  • He said two-thirds of Californians will benefit from the stimulus package.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state will be sending out stimulus checks to two-thirds of its residents in a new expansion of its plan to support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsom said on Monday that those who qualify will receive a one-time stimulus payment of $600 or $1,200, and families will kids would receive another $500.

The “Golden State Stimulus” plan was announced earlier this year, but Newsom said on Monday that he would be expanding its range.

The stimulus payments will now include middle-income residents.

“We’re announcing a $12 billion tax rebate to the people of the state of California earning up to $75,000,” Newsom said at a press conference on Monday. “That tax rebate will impact just shy of 80% of all tax filers, [they] will get a direct stimulus check, will get a direct relief payment because of this announcement. Two-thirds of all Californians will benefit from this stimulus. That’s roughly $12 billion.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom to face a recall election after GOP-led effort collects enough signatures

Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California will face a recall election after a GOP-led effort to oust the governor reached its signature goal, state officials announced Monday.

Organizers met the threshold to force a special recall election after submitting more than 1.6 million verified voter signatures from California’s 58 counties, according to a preliminary report released Monday.

Some signatures still need to be verified, and the final report will be released on Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

If Secretary of State Shirley Weber certifies the petition and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis schedules the election, the LA Times reported, voters will be tasked with deciding whether to recall Newsom. If more than half of respondents say yes, voters must vote on who will replace Newsom. If the recall passes, Newsom is barred from being listed among the candidates.

Newsom will face a statewide vote by the end of the year. In a poll of 1,174 likely voters by the Public Policy Institute of California, most respondents said they opposed ousting Newsom from office – with 56% of respondents saying they didn’t support the recall and 40% saying they did.

News of the recall election comes after Caitlyn Jenner announced her gubernatorial campaign in the state last week.

The recall campaign’s success in reaching its signature goal marks the second time in the state’s history that a governor has faced a recall election. California recalled its governor was in 2003, ousting Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and replacing him with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Caitlyn Jenner is officially running for governor in California

caitlyn jenner
Caitlyn Jenner speaks at the 4th annual Women’s March LA: Women Rising at Pershing Square on January 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Caitlyn Jenner announced her campaign for governor of California on Friday, Axios first reported.
  • Jenner will run in the recall against current Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  • The former Olympian athlete and reality TV star is a longtime Republican.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Caitlyn Jenner has filed paperwork to run for governor in California and officially announced her bid on Friday, Axios first reported.

The former Olympian and reality TV star is a longtime Republican and is vying to unseat Democratic incumbent Gavin Newsom, who was elected in 2018 and is facing a recall election this year.

Read more: Washington job moves of the week: Ben Carson lands a post-Trump consulting gig, Buttigieg taps a new chief science officer for climate, and the DNC beefs up its comms team

Jenner’s campaign website and WinRed donation page went live on Friday morning. She also announced her campaign on her Twitter account, which boasts 3.5 million followers.

“California has been my home for nearly 50 years. I came here because I knew that anyone, regardless of their background or station in life, could turn their dreams into reality,” the homepage of Jenner’s campaign website says.

“But for the past decade, we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people. Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision.”

Jenner was previously reported to be considering a bid for governor and to have consulted with former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale about a possible campaign.

Axios reports that while Parscale isn’t formally involved in Jenner’s gubernatorial bid, her campaign team includes other Trump campaign and administration alumni including Tony Fabrizio, the Trump campaign’s former pollster, and former White House communications aide Stephen Cheung.

A Jenner campaign advisor told Axios they believe Jenner could pose a real threat to Newsom based on her high name recognition from years of appearing on the popular reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians and her socially liberal views. Jenner, who came out as transgender six years ago in 2015, would be the first trans governor elected in the United States.

She describes herself as a “compassionate disrupter” in her statement announcing her campaign, arguing she is a “proven winner and the only outsider who can put an end to Gavin Newsom’s disastrous time as governor.”

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California hospitality workers laid off during the pandemic must get priority access to jobs with former employers, a new law says

California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

  • California hotels and airports must prioritize former staff laid off due to the pandemic when they are hiring.
  • Gov. Newsom signed the bill Friday, which included fines for companies who don’t follow the rules.
  • Unions say this could help more than 700,000 workers – in particular women and people of color.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hospitality workers in California who lost their jobs during the pandemic will get priority for new roles with their former employers, per a statewide bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Friday.

The bill requires employers in the hospitality and business-services industries, including hotels, airports, and large event centers, to give qualified former employees priority jobs access through 2024.

Any companies breaking the rules could face a $100 fine and be forced to pay an eligible former employee $500 a day.

Unite Here Local 11, which sponsored the bill and introduced similar legislation in Los Angeles and Long Beach in May, said the statewide policy could help more than 700,000 workers.

The Service Employees International Union California told The LA Times that women and people of color would especially benefit because they are overrepresented in the hospitality sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic has crushed the hospitality sector as companies laid off workers during waves of shutdown orders. Nearly 40% of all jobs lost during the pandemic in California have been in the hospitality industry, the union said.

Read more: 6 workers in the battered hospitality industry reveal just how bad it is right now, from not having time to use the bathroom to fears of getting replaced by cheaper labor

Per the bill, which came into effect immediately, all employees who served at a company for at least 6 months in 2019, and who were dismissed for nondisciplinary reasons related to the pandemic, are eligible.

Employers have to notify these former employees about new vacancies that they are qualified for, and that are similar to their previous role, within five business days of the positions opening.

If more than one eligible former employee applies, the company must give the role to the person who served there the longest.

If the company decides to give the role to someone else because the laid-off employee isn’t qualified, the company must send a letter to the former employee explaining the decision.

$500 per day to former employees if companies break the rules

Former employees have the right to file a complaint against the employer if it doesn’t follow the rules. The company could face a civil penalty of $100 for each employee, as well as pay $500 to the employee for each day their rights were violated.

Companies that changed ownership or structure but still have similar operations must also follow the new rules, but Phil Ting, the San Francisco assemblyman who authored the bill, told CBS Los Angeles that small family-run hotels wouldn’t be affected.

Newsom had rejected a similar rehire bill in September 2020 because he said it covered all lay-offs during the pandemic, whether directly related to the pandemic or not.

“As we progress toward fully reopening our economy, it is important we maintain our focus on equity,” Newsom said in a statement Friday. “SB 93 keeps us moving in the right direction by assuring hospitality and other workers displaced by the pandemic are prioritized to return to their workplace.”

The state has a 8.3% unemployment rate, per its Employment Development Department. Though this is considerably higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 4.5% in March 2020, this is nearly half of its peak of 16% in April 2020.

California’s leisure and hospitality sector had just over 1.4 million employees in March 2021, a drop of almost 600,000 in 12 months.

But hospitality businesses and sit-down restaurants have started rehiring as the economy reopens, and a McDonald’s in Florida is even paying people $50 just to show up for a job interview as it scrambles to find new staff.

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Caitlyn Jenner is working with Trump aide Brad Parscale on her potential California gubernatorial bid

Television personality Caitlyn Jenner attends WORLDZ Cultural Marketing Summit at Hollywood and Highland on August 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Television personality Caitlyn Jenner attends WORLDZ Cultural Marketing Summit at Hollywood and Highland on August 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Caitlyn Jenner is seeking political advice from Brad Parscale on her possible California gubernatorial bid.
  • Parscale is advising Jenner on potential campaign personnel on an unpaid basis, per CNN.
  • The reality TV star is also seeking advice from a former Trump campaign fundraiser, Caroline Wren.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Caitlyn Jenner is seeking political advice from former President Donald Trump’s estranged aide, Brad Parscale, on her possible California gubernatorial bid.

Parscale, who served as Trump’s campaign manager before being demoted last summer, is a friend of Jenner’s and is advising Jenner on campaign personnel without being paid, CNN and The New York Times reported. The reality TV star and former US Olympic athlete has also sought advice from Caroline Wren, another Republican operative who fundraised for Trump’s 2020 campaign.

Axios first reported earlier this week that Jenner, a longtime Republican, is considering her debut run for office as embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall attempt. California is a solidly blue state and Newsom was elected with 61% of the vote in 2018, but the state has had a few Republican governors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan.

Trump turned against Parscale last year as his poll numbers dropped and reports about his longtime aide’s aggressive spending habits. Parscale, who told Insider that he was “slowly pushed out” of the campaign, was arrested and hospitalized in September after his wife, Candice Parscale, alleged he was drunk, suicidal, and had hit her. Candice later retracted her statements to the police and a federal judge ordered that Parscale’s guns be removed from his possession.

Parscale was brought back onto Trump’s team to build the former president’s new website and help lead his digital efforts after the election.

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Caitlyn Jenner is reportedly considering a run for California governor

caitlyn jenner
Caitlyn Jenner speaks at the 4th annual Women’s March LA: Women Rising at Pershing Square on January 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Caitlyn Jenner is considering a run for California governor, according to Axios.
  • Tuesday’s report comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom likely faces a recall election this year.
  • Jenner is a longtime Republican.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Caitlyn Jenner is considering a run for California governor as embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a recall attempt, according to an Axios report on Tuesday.

The US Olympic athlete and former “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” reality TV star has been speaking to political advisors about her potential candidacy, three people familiar with the matter told the outlet.

Caroline Wren, a Republican fundraiser who previously fundraised for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, is working with Jenner, Axios reported. Wren did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment. A spokesperson for Jenner also did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

The report comes as Newsom likely faces a recall election later this year, a unique situation that allows voters to decide whether to remove him from office during the middle of his four-year term. Newsom won the 2018 gubernatorial election with 61% of the vote.

The last time Californians recalled a governor was in 2003, when Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was ousted and replaced by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Republicans have launched a recall campaign against Newsom as part of a growing backlash over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. As of Tuesday, the state has reported more than 3.6 million cases and over 59,000 deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

The race has not yet been authorized. Nearly 1,500,000 petition signatures from registered voters are required to put the election on the ballot, ABC News reported. Recall organizers say they have exceeded that minimum, but state and local officials have until April 29 to count the signatures and determine if an election will be held, Capital Radio News reported.

Should she decide to enter the race, Jenner, a longtime Republican, would join three Republicans who have already announced their intentions to run in a recall election.

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LA movie theaters could reopen as soon as this weekend, according to California Gov. Gavin Newsom

tcl chinese theater amc los angeles la movie hollywood boulevard
This Tuesday, March 31, 2015 photo shows the interior of the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Chinese Theatre, one of the largest Imax theaters in the world, is one of more than a dozen locations that Imax expects to outfit with laser projection this year.

  • Los Angeles, America’s largest movie market, could re-open movie theaters as soon as this weekend.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said theaters could re-open if certain COVID-related goals are met.
  • If allowed to re-open, LA theaters will still have to limit capacity to just 25%.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Los Angeles isn’t just where movies are made, it’s also the largest movie-going market in America.

And during the last 12 months, LA movie theaters have been closed due to the ongoing pandemic. That could finally end this weekend, according to California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

If Los Angeles County meets two critical metrics for new cases and vaccinations, Los Angeles movie theaters will be able to re-open with 25% capacity starting this Saturday.

In order to meet the criteria, LA County would need to have fewer than 1,000 new cases per day, CNBC reported. Additionally, statewide, 2 million vaccine doses must be administered to underserved populations.

During an address on Wednesday, Newsom said both metrics were on track to be met before the weekend.

Vehicles are parked at the first drive-in movie theatre for people to enjoy movies while keeping social distancing amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand, July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
The first drive-in movie theatre amid the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Movie theaters in other parts of the US have already begun reopening as vaccines protecting against COVID have begun to roll out. New York City, for instance, reopened theaters last week at 25% capacity.

And some states, including Texas and Connecticut, have cleared theaters and other businesses for even larger reopenings without low capacity requirements.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Kevin Faulconer is running for California governor against Gavin Newsom. Democrats should pay attention.

Kevin Faulconer
Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

  • Kevin Faulconer has launched a campaign for governor against Gavin Newsom in California.
  • Faulconer, a moderate Republican, was the mayor of San Diego from 2014 to 2020.
  • Democrats dominate California politics, but Faulconer could attract crossover votes.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

For most of the past 15 years, California Republicans have been in a severe political drought.

Once a state that produced US presidents like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Republicans won their last statewide races in 2006 with the reelection of Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor and the election of Steve Poizner as insurance commissioner.

Since then, Democrats retook the Governor’s Mansion, captured every statewide office from lieutenant governor to state controller, and launched the career of Vice President Kamala Harris, a former state attorney general and US senator.

President Joe Biden easily won the state’s 55 electoral votes in November, capturing 63.5% of the vote against former President Donald Trump’s 34% share.

California is now a decidedly Democratic state. However, the party should not get complacent.

A moderate Republican comeback

On February 1, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that he was launching a gubernatorial campaign against incumbent Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom for 2022 or a potential recall election that would be held later this year.

Faulconer, a moderate Republican who served as mayor from March 2014 until December 2020, is the strongest candidate that the party has fielded for statewide office in years.

Read more: Biden already has an antagonist-in-chief. It’s Ron DeSantis, the Florida GOP governor Democrats have tagged as ‘Trump’s errand boy.’

While in office, Faulconer was one of the few big-city Republican mayors in the entire country. Since the San Diego mayoral office is technically nonpartisan, he had a leading role in tackling traditionally progressive issues such as affordable housing and increasing services for the homeless.

Faulconer is also pro-choice, supports the DREAM Act, and backed climate change initiatives as mayor.

“California has so much promise,” he said in announcing his run. “But Gavin Newsom’s broken promises have become our problems. His leadership is failing our state. It’s time for the California Comeback.”

Newsom, who faces a recall effort with its supporters having already gathered 1.3 million of the 1.5 million signatures necessary to put the measure on the ballot ahead of a March 17 deadline, has been criticized for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California.

While California was cited for its quick response and strict measures against the coronavirus in the early months of the pandemic, there has been a brutal COVID-19 wave across the state since late last year.

An unrelenting pandemic

California is the worst-hit state in the US. Roughly 3.3 million people have been infected with the coronavirus and over 41,000 people have died from the disease, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

While Newsom certainly cannot be blamed for the virus entering the state, the long-term effects of the pandemic have worn thin with many Californians.

In November, Newsom was roundly pilloried in the press for dining as part of a group at the high-end French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, a Napa County town, despite pleading with residents to restrict their social gatherings. He quickly apologized for the incident.

“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said at the time. “Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car and drove back to my house.”

Californians, who in 2018 voted for Newsom in a 62%-38% landslide over Republican businessman John Cox, have since cooled to the governor.

In the latest University of California Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll released on February 2, Newsom’s job approval rating sat at 46%, a steep decline from his 64% approval rating from last September.

Mining for Republican votes

Despite Biden’s massive statewide victory, Republicans made critical gains at the federal level, winning back four House seats that Democrats flipped in the 2018 midterm elections.

GOP Reps. Young Kim, Michelle Steel, Mike Garcia, and David Valadao were able to win districts in Orange County, northern Los Angeles County, and the Central Valley, all of which have a growing contingent of minority voters that were clearly receptive to GOP messaging.

Young Kim
In 2020, Rep. Young Kim (R-California) won the Orange County-anchored 39th Congressional district.

Faulconer, who was elected as mayor in a 2014 special election and reelected in 2016, would likely appeal to the independents and moderate Republicans who now vote for Democrats almost exclusively at the presidential level.

San Diego County is a clear target for Faulconer. The county, a longtime conservative stronghold buttressed by the robust military presence in the area, still contains plenty of Republican-friendly turf. It’s also his home base.

Between 1948 and 2004, Republican presidential nominees consistently won San Diego County – except in 1992, when Bill Clinton won with a narrow plurality. 

That all changed with former President Barack Obama’s 10% win in 2008. Similar to most large metropolitan areas across the US, the county began to vote Democratic.

The political reality of the Golden State 

In 2012, Obama beat GOP challenger Mitt Romney in the county by a 53% to 45% margin, and in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated Trump 56% to 37%. 

Read more: Biden already has an antagonist-in-chief. It’s Ron DeSantis, the Florida GOP governor Democrats have tagged as ‘Trump’s errand boy.’

Last year, Biden beat Trump in the county 60% to 37.5%. Despite Trump’s loss, he still received over 600,000 votes countywide, which was an increase of nearly 123,000 votes from his total in 2016, reflecting that there are still plenty of GOP votes to be found.

Neighboring Orange County, which narrowly supported Newsom in 2018 and for generations was one of the most recognizable GOP locales in the entire country, is a place where Faulconer has the potential to make gains.

Republicans are still dominant at the local level in Orange County, and as a center of the anti-mask movement, Newsom will have to work hard to win over many of these voters in his next election.

Despite his current troubles, Newsom has been a longtime fixture in California politics, first as mayor of San Francisco and then as a two-term lieutenant governor. Nearly half (49%) of all voters in the Berkeley IGS poll think a potential recall election would be bad for the state.

However, the pandemic has the potential to scramble traditional political sentiments, and Faulconer is running as a bridge-builder, emphasizing a focus on income inequality and raising the morale of the state. 

If conservative activists are willing to accept some of Faulconer’s more moderate positions, then his campaign could be a huge step forward in the California GOP’s bid to regain relevancy in the state.

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