Weekly News Roundup for Friday, November 11th, 2022

A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week…

Today is Veterans Day. Thank you to all the men and women who have served in our armed forces. 

Election Results Announced With Varying Timelines 

Gavin Newsom’s reelection as Governor of California was announced within minutes of the 8 p.m. closing of the polls for Tuesday’s election. Other key races, including neck-and-neck campaigns for Mayor of Los Angeles, might not be decided for weeks. California’s embrace of vote by mail – the state sends vote-by-mail ballots to every registered voter – can cause delays in results for close races.

Statewide election results, which will be certified in December, are posted on the secretary of state’s website

Here are some key results:

  • Democrat Alex Padilla was elected to the US Senate with 59.47% of the vote, beating Republican Mark Meuser. Governor Newsom appointed Padilla to the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Harris two years ago. The incumbent’s win makes Padilla the first Latino elected to the US Senate from California. 
  • Democrat Rob Bonta won his race against Republican Nathan Hochman to return as Attorney General of California. Bonta was appointed to the office in April 2021. He won 57.5% of the vote.
  • Democrat Fiona Ma will return as California Treasurer General after beating Republican Jack Guerrero. She received 57.62% of the vote.
  • Incumbent Democrat Ricardo Lara will return as California Insurance Commissioner General. He won 58.41% of the vote over Republican Robert Howell.
  • Democratic incumbent Eleni Kounalakis will return as California Lt Governor General.
  • Democrats continue to hold a majority in the state Senate and Assembly. 

Close races still to be decided include:

  • California Controller General, a race in which Republican Lanhee Chen is leading against Democrat Malia Cohen. 
  • Three US House of Representatives races are still too close to call. In District 13 (Alameda County), Republican John Duarte has a slight lead over Democrat Adam Gray. Republican Ken Calvert has a small lead over Democrat Will Rollins in District 41 (Riverside County). Democrat Katie Porter and Republican Scott Baugh are neck-and-neck in District 47 (Long Beach and Orange County). 
  • State Assembly races are too close to call in Districts 7, 10, 27, 67, 71 and 76.
  • The Los Angeles Times reports that Karen Bass has taken a slight lead over Rick Caruso in the race for LA Mayor.

California Voters Pass Three out of Seven Ballot Measures

There were seven propositions on the California ballot on Tuesday. Voters approved the following three measures:

  • Prop 1: Reproductive Freedom, which will protect the right to abortion in the statewide constitution. It passed with 65% of the vote.
  • Prop 28: School Arts, which will create a funding stream for art and music education, passed with 62% of the vote.
  • Prop 31: Flavored Tobacco, which will enact a currently paused ban on flavored tobacco products. It passed with 62% “yes” votes.

The following propositions did not pass:

  • Prop 26: Casino Sports Betting, which would have allowed in-person sports gambling at tribal casinos and large racetracks. It was rejected by 70% of voters.
  • Prop 27: Online Sports Betting, would have allowed sports gambling online. It was rejected with an 83% “no” vote.
  • Prop 29: Dialysis Clinics, would have placed new regulations on dialysis clinics, but 70% of voters said “no.”
  • Prop 30: EV Subsidies, proposed to tax personal income over $2 million to fund zero-emission incentives and wildfire prevention. The proposition was rejected by 59% of voters. 

World’s Largest Ever Lottery Prize Claimed in California

The only winning ticket for Tuesday’s record $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot was sold in Altadena, California, according to Powerball. It’s the largest lottery prize that’s ever been won, anywhere in the world. The prize amount grew to its record-breaking sum after three months of drawings without a jackpot winner. Tuesday’s Powerball drawing was originally scheduled for Monday night, but was delayed due to a technical issue. 

The Powerball jackpot winner has a choice of claiming a lump sum of $997.6 million or a prize of $2.04 million split into 30 annual payments that increase by 5% each year. The previous highest prize for a Powerball jackpot was $1.586 billion, which was split between winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in 2016.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.

Attorney General Bonta Sues Manufacturers of Toxic Forever Chemicals

California Attorney General Rob Bonta today filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, for endangering public health, causing irreparable harm to the state’s natural resources, and engaging in a widespread campaign to deceive the public. 

In the lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta alleges that these manufacturers, including 3M and DuPont, knew or should have known that PFAS are toxic and harmful to human health and the environment, yet continued to produce them for mass use and concealed their harms from the public. As a result, these toxic “forever chemicals” are pervasive across California’s bays, lakes, streams, and rivers; in its fish, wildlife, and soil; and in the bloodstream of 98% of Californians.

“PFAS are as ubiquitous in California as they are harmful,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As a result of a decades-long campaign of deception, PFAS are in our waters, our clothing, our houses, and even our bodies. The damage caused by 3M, DuPont, and other manufacturers of PFAS is nothing short of staggering, and without drastic action, California will be dealing with the harms of these toxic chemicals for generations. Today’s lawsuit is the result of a years-long investigation that found that the manufacturers of PFAS knowingly violated state consumer protection and environmental laws. We won’t let them off the hook for the pernicious damage done to our state.”

A copy of the complaint is available here

California Public Health Updates Covid-19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidance

On November 9, 2022, the California Department of Public Health updated its Guidance on Isolation and Quarantine for COVID-19. You can read the new guidance in full here. The major changes to the guidance included the following: 

  • Updated definition of close contact
  • Updated time during which infected persons should not test, shortening the time from 90 days to 30 days
  • Removed the recommendations for work exclusion and quarantine of exposed asymptomatic persons in correctional facilities and homeless, emergency and cooling/warming shelters
  • Provided updated recommendations for healthcare and long-term care settings

Local health jurisdictions may continue to implement additional requirements that are stricter than this statewide guidance based on local circumstances, including in certain higher-risk settings or during certain situations that may require additional isolation and quarantine requirements (for example, during active outbreaks in high-risk settings).

Read last week’s news roundup here.

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