The Pursuit of Justice and Public Safety: Why I’m Running for California Attorney General

Nathan Hochman

On March 24, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he was nominating Assemblyman Rob Bonta to fill the vacancy created when Attorney General Xavier Beccera became President Biden’s new Secretary of Health and Human Services.   

Given escalating crime, a culture of corruption in Sacramento, and an opioid epidemic destroying thousands of families across our state, I watched closely and hoped that Newsom would select someone with the skillset and focus to tackle the monumental tasks before them.

Unfortunately, as usual, Newsom decided to play politics instead of doing what’s best for the people of California. In selecting Bonta, Newsom elevated a radical politician with no experience on the frontlines of the justice system but who has a long track record of pushing failed experimental policies like bail reform and early prison release.

I knew that I had a responsibility to step up on behalf of the victims, families, and struggling communities of California. 

On the same day as Bonta’s swearing-in, I launched my campaign for California Attorney General.

Our great state has been my home my entire life. I was born in California, grew up here, went to school here, married my wonderful wife, Vivienne, here, and raised our three amazing kids here. I am a firm believer in the promise of California — but I also believe we need new leadership to solve the difficult issues before us.

I have been involved on all sides of the justice system for over 30 years, as a judge’s law clerk, a prosecutor, a U.S. Assistant Attorney General, a defense attorney, a civil litigator, an appellate lawyer, and a victims’ rights advocate. I began my prosecutorial career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles. I prosecuted over a hundred cases, from going after corrupt government officials, money launderers, and tax evaders, to taking down narcotics traffickers and violent gang members, and holding environmental criminals accountable. 

When President George W. Bush asked me to become an Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division, I proudly answered the call and led a team of over 350 civil, criminal and appellate lawyers, pursuing justice in all 50 states. 

When I returned to California, I doubled down on my commitment to our community. As Commissioner and President of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, I held city leaders accountable for their actions.

I also spent time on the other side of the courtroom — protecting individuals’ constitutional rights for over two decades against governmental overreach as a defense attorney.

Since launching my campaign, I have heard loud and clear that Californians are with me in wanting change in Sacramento and a reaffirmed commitment to public safety.

After hearing from families who have lost children and loved ones to the growing fentanyl crisis in our state, I jumped into the arena to support Senator Melissa Melendez’s excellent work on fentanyl in the Senate. Her bill, SB 350, would have required an “Alexandra notice” — an acknowledgment from convicted fentanyl drug dealers that they realize the manufacture and distribution of fentanyl is “extremely dangerous to human life.” If in the future someone dies as a result of their continued actions, they can be charged with voluntary manslaughter or murder.

Senate Democrats killed this common-sense measure. So, I took the issue directly to prosecutors across the state, resulting in District Attorneys from San Luis Obispo, El Dorado, Riverside and Yolo Counties, among others, joining the cause and working with me to implement Alexandra notices.

This is the kind of leadership we need in Sacramento. People who will put aside the partisan politics, stop with the gamesmanship, and do the hard work of reinvigorating our justice system to work for everyone.

I am honored that so many Californians have joined me in this effort since I announced just a few months ago. Already, we have raised over $600,000 from Californians of all walks of life, and our coalition grows each and every day.

We have shown that the status quo will not cut it, and Californians are ready to demand change.

If you are interested in joining the movement or want to learn more, please visit www.NathanHochman.com

LAUSD To Open Schools Amid Much Controversy

With Los Angeles school superintendent Austin Beutner getting ready for his June 30th retirement, and the realization that schools must open full time or lose substantial state funding, the L.A. school board and United Teachers of Los Angeles struck a deal last week.

The new school year, which begins on August 16th, will be anything but business-as-usual, however. Hygiene theatrics will be ubiquitous, with mandated regular disinfecting of, well, everything. Hand sanitizer will be omnipresent, as will be masks for students, staff, and every other biped who sets foot on a campus…vaccinated or not. And even more ludicrous, the contract stipulates that no teacher shall be displaced during the new school year. So if a school loses students, a teacher cannot be moved to a school that may be short a teacher. Mr. Beutner explains that this will benefit kids, insisting, “This continuity at schools will help to reinforce a sense of community while providing the best possible academic foundation for students.”

Continuity? Community? Where were Mr. Beutner, the school district, and the teachers union when these values were nowhere to be found during the disastrous school lockdown that lasted over a year?

Additionally, unrelated to the contract, Mr. Beutner has decided that the district should go into the real estate biz. Yup, the supe has stated he wants to build “affordable workforce housing” for LAUSD employees. The average teacher pay in Los Angeles is $78,962, and that does not include extravagant health care perks and a budget busting pension plan, which, together, took up about 13% of the general fund in the 1991-92 school year. But in 2021-22 that outlay is estimated be nearly 40%, and steadily increasing every year. And now he wants to build affordable housing?!

The district has also been confronted with several lawsuits concerning its lockdown M.O. during the reign of Covid. It is unclear which cases will go forth in light of August’s reopening, but one lawsuit is very much alive. This litigation included the United Teachers of Los Angeles as defendants and does not focus on learning loss, but rather on the psychological damage that’s been done to students. The plaintiffs claim that their children have variously become suicidal, isolated, depressed, addicted, clinically obese, and had their future prosperity needlessly imperiled due to the extended lockdown.

And now, the errant school district is being charged with “systemic racism.” Speak Up, a parent activist group, released the results of a poll last week of 500 L.A. Unified parents about their “educational experiences over the past year.”

Among other things, the poll found that 27% of Black parents claimed their child’s behavior improved during the pandemic, while only 8% said it got worse. While bullying was widespread among children of all races before the pandemic, 40% of Black parents reported their child had been bullied, the highest among all groups.

The survey also found that nearly two out of three Black respondents agreed that “institutional racism is built into our public education system,” while one in three Latino parents and half of White parents felt the same way. 

While the omnipresent and faddish “systemic racism charge” is invariably baseless, it is at least somewhat valid in this case. While it is hard to quantify the parents’ behavior and bullying claims, student outcomes can be measured because they are more objective in nature. According to the most recent scores from NAEP, the “nation’s report card,” just 9% of Blacks in LAUSD scored proficient, compared to 12% of Hispanics and 51% of Whites. While many factors, contribute to a child’s academic success – perhaps the most important of which is a healthy two-parent home – schools obviously play a crucial role. And to that end, the state government with its union-bought-and-paid-for legislators have made laws that give the “systemic racism” charge some heft. 

For example, in 2012’s Vergara v California case, which lost on appeal, the litigants tried to eliminate the union-mandated tenure, seniority and dismissal statutes from the state’s education code. These laws have had a disproportionate effect on the poor and minorities. When teachers lose their jobs due to layoffs, the state education code says that the cuts must be made by seniority. Hence, the last hired is the first fired, with no nod to teacher quality. Typically, the lowest performing schools are the most impacted because they invariably have a much greater percentage of new hires. And the horrendous tenure – or more accurately “permanence” – statute makes teachers a protected class. In fact, it is just about impossible to fire a teacher for poor performance in California. As pointed out during the Vergara trial, 2.2 of the state’s 300,000 teachers (0.0008%) are dismissed for unprofessional conduct or unsatisfactory performance in any given year. This compares to the 8% of employees in the private sector dismissed annually for cause. While permanence can affect any student in California, a parent with means can afford to yank their kid away from a union-protected bad apple and send their kid to a private school, but a poor parent doesn’t have that option.

While the pandemic and California’s response to it have been nothing short of ugly, it well may supply the impetus for some badly needed reform. According to a new California Policy Center poll, when voters were asked if they’d support a ballot initiative establishing Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) – wherein parents who remove their children from public school “receive a portion of the public education dollars intended for their child so they may pay for a variety of educational expenses, from tuition in private schools to tutoring” – a majority said they would. In fact, 54% of voters said they’d vote “yes” if given the chance, while only 34% said they’d vote “no.” Notably, support among African American and Latino voters was even higher, with 71% and 66% expressing support, respectively.

Needless to say, UTLA president Cecily Myart-Cruz and other teacher union honchos, who blather on about systemic racism, will fight to kill any school choice measure. Seems that when it comes to educational opportunity, many of the finger-pointers are actually the perpetrators. 

*   *   *

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

This article was originally published by the California Policy Center.

Gov. Newsom Announces More Incentive Programs To Help Reach 70% Total Vaccination Figure

Governor Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference at Six Flags Magic Mountain on Wednesday that the next 50,000 Californians to be vaccinated at participating clinics would be receiving a free Six Flags ticket.

For several weeks, the Governor has ramped up efforts to vaccinate younger people and minority communities, both groups have have seen lower vaccination figures in the state. In late May, Newsom began the $116.5 million ‘Vax-A-Million’ program. While millions were reserved for the ‘Vax for the Win’ lotteries, culminating in 10 Californians winning $1.5 million on Tuesday$100 million was reserved to give the next 2 million Californians ages 12 and up $50 gift cards. Earlier this week, free food offers from both Taco Bell and Chipotle for showing your vaccination card, as well as discounts from  many professional sports team stores, were also announced by the Governor, as were promises to pay some missed utility bills during the pandemic.

“Anybody that’s impacted by this pandemic that can’t pay their rent and can’t afford their water bill, or their utility bill, California will pay those bills, 100%,” noted Newsom earlier this week. “Going back to April of last year and going forward to September of this year. I need to say that because no one believes it.”

The Governor’s announcement on Wednesday only continued the trend of youth and minority focused vaccination efforts.

“Four and a half million dollars in free tickets. Seemingly the staff here is enthusiastic about this but not the press. The press needs to be enthusiastic about this as well,” said Newsom on Wednesday at the Valencia theme park. “50,000 free tickets at 65 locations. You get a single dose of vaccine at one of these 65 locations in 13 different counties. You will get a free ticket. You cannot sell that ticket, it is not transferrable. Bottom-line is that we are encouraging you to get vaccines beyond yesterdays announcement.”

Newsom has not correlated his latest incentives to either race or age groups, but for many experts, it has been obvious whom he is targeting next.

In California, only 4% of the total number of vaccines have gone to black residents, with only 29% going to Latinos despite having 63% of all cases and 40% of the population in the state. Both white and Asian communities have seen high rates proportional to their population percentage in the state. And, while age groups 50 and above have reached above the 70% vaccination goal, younger ages groups have been hitting figures below that amount, pushing Newsom for more vaccinations in those demographics. …

Click here to read the full article from the California Globe.

California Wants To Throw $100 Million at Its Mismanaged Retail Marijuana Sector

California’s nascent legal recreational marijuana industry is so heavily taxed and regulated that the black market still dominates. It’s so burdensome to try to get conventional permission to grow and sell marijuana the “legal” way that thousands of dispensaries operate without proper licenses. Government officials have been attempting to crack down on the problem and force them to close their doors.

On Monday California lawmakers attempted to address this problem in a very California way: Assembly members authorized a $100 million subsidy to help potential marijuana vendors get properly licensed.

As the Los Angeles Times explains, the subsidy isn’t going to the dispensaries or growers themselves—not that it should. The $100 million is instead going to local government agencies and cities so they can “hire experts and staff to assist businesses in completing the environmental studies and transitioning the licenses.”

California’s environmental regulations, most specifically the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), make it extremely expensive (and sometimes even impossible) to build anything new or improve anything in the state. CEQA requires businesses, entrepreneurs, and developers to pay for extensive environmental impact studies. It also permits pretty much anybody to file suit to try to stop construction using any sort of claim of potential environmental harm, no matter how tenuous. It is being used by opponents of marijuana operations (typically neighbors who don’t want them around) to try to block cannabis operations.

In order to give marijuana dispensaries and growers time to arrange these complicated studies, the state launched a provisional licensing system after recreational marijuana was made legal in California in 2016. Five years later, 82 percent of marijuana dispensaries in the state are still operating with just the provisional licenses, according to the governor’s office.

Rather than confront the regulations that make it impossible for cannabis entrepreneurs to comply with state law, lawmakers are essentially rewarding bad governance. Jerred Kiloh, president of the United Cannabis Business Association tells the Times that even that might not be enough, because cities have been slow to organize their own local cannabis policies. That’s exactly what happened in Los Angeles, where one of the major reasons the city had so many unlicensed dispensaries was because the city’s own bureaucracy could not get its act together. Two years after marijuana legalization, the city still had not been able to actually roll out business licenses to new dispensaries.

Los Angeles will get $22 million of this new state funding, essentially a financial reward for its bureaucratic failures.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also wants to add a six-month extension to the compliance deadlines for full licensing. This is being resisted by a coalition of environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club.

Environmentalists have been complaining about the potential impact of large marijuana grow operations, particularly in matters like pollution and water and energy consumption. The resistance here is comically misguided. A piece from the Sierra Club from 2017 notes the massive scope and impacts of illegal grow operations and drug cartel operations on public lands as part of a call for tight regulations of the legal industry.

But those massive illegal grow operations are still happening because of how difficult California and CEQA make it to operate a legal cannabis business. This is much, much worse for the environment than the prospect of the state being more flexible on environmental regulations for the benefit of those who are actually trying to follow the rules. After all, the drug cartels don’t care about restrictions on pesticide use.

This article was originally published by Reason.com

Governor Newsom Announces New Electronic Vaccine Verification Cards

Governor Newsom announced Monday that a new vaccine verification system would be rolled out by California soon.

The new system will be comprised of digitized versions of all official vaccination cards, similar to New York’s Excelsior Pass. While more details will be coming in a larger announcement soon, Newsom reiterated that it will not be a passport and that vaccinations will still not be required.

“It’s not a passport, it’s not a requirement, it’s just the ability now to have an electronic version of that paper version, so you’ll hear more about that in the next couple of days,” said Newsom in San Francisco on Monday.

While most mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions are to end Tuesdayespecially after Cal/OSHA removed the proposed lengthening of mask mandates for places such as businesses through at least the end of July, businesses can require customers to show a vaccination card to enter their place of business without a mask. However, many businesses have feared that forged or copied vaccination cards could be a simple bypass, with the state concerned with people losing the small vaccination card as well.

An electronic version could help cut back on false cards, although, since a physical card will likely be used, it is unknown how successful the new system would be.

The California Department of Health and Human Services (CHHS) noted last week that businesses can choose to simply ask customers if they are fully vaccinated in an “honor system” sort of way, still require masks, or ask for proof of vaccination.

While the official announcement is still several days away, many businesses are already gearing up for the new systems when the state reopens on Tuesday.

An electronic vaccination card

“Most places will simply have no masks and that’s the end of it,” explained Dan Sherwood, a business health and safety consultant, to the Globe on Monday. “That’s what most are saying. Now some businesses will card, usually more of those higher density places or businesses where vulnerable people who can’t take the vaccine are located. And some will even have bouncers, some being trained the last week on how to spot a fake vaccination card. The state has yet to address what happens in that situation, when the business thinks someone has a fake card and aren’t allowed in, but that will definitely be an issue. Like bars and clubs that check for being over 21, some businesses will check for vaccination.”

“Others that do the honor system are pretty much going to do it that way to not look reckless and just call off all masks, but also want a return to casualness.”

“But the main takeaway from the electronic card is that they are trying to do away with fakes the best they can right now. But we should know more about that soon.”

Governor Newsom also announced the newest in the long line of vaccination incentives on Monday unveiling a statewide drawing for one of six vacation packages on July 1st. Working with California tourism group Visit California and numerous hospitality companies, six vaccinated Californians will be chosen at random to receive a “California Dream Vacations” trip to either Anaheim, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Diego, or San Francisco. San Diego will have two trips offered, with all trips being for four people except for the Palm Springs package.

“As we move forward to a post-pandemic life, our tourism sector is expected to come roaring back – making us, once again, a global leader in hospitality and leisure,” added Newsom on Monday.

The next vaccination milestones are expected to be hit later this week, with the state reopening on Tuesday and 10 $1.5 million vaccination lottery winners expected to be announced.

Evan V. Symon is the Senior Editor for the California Globe. Prior to the Globe, he reported for the Pasadena Independent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and was head of the Personal Experiences section at Cracked. He can be reached at [email protected]

This article was originally published by the California Globe.

Rep. Lieu Calls On Breyer To Leave Supreme Court

Fearful of Republicans regaining control of the Senate next year, progressive Democrats are ramping up their calls for Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer to step down from the bench to ensure that President Biden’s replacement could be confirmed while the party remained in control.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Tuesday joined those calls, saying it would be “best for our country” if the most senior justice appointed by a Democratic president stepped down by next year, before Republicans have a chance to regain the Senate majority and use that power to block a Biden nominee, as they did President Obama’s in 2016.

“I do believe that he should retire prior to the midterms,” Lieu said on CNN. “Justice Breyer has been an amazing Supreme Court justice. This is a very personal decision for him.”

Similar calls have been made by other progressives Democrats, including Reps. Mondaire Jones and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of New York. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

State Auditor Finds Lots Of Illegal Activity

It’s no secret that those who complain about taxes — and who doesn’t — tend to focus on how much money is taken from our wallets and pocketbooks. In California, government takes a lot with highest in the nation tax rates in most categories. But equally insulting is the poor level of service we get for our tax dollars.

Regrettably, some behavior by government employees transcends “normal” government inefficiency and encroaches into actual illegality.

Elaine Howle, the California State Auditor, pursuant to the California Whistleblower Protection Act, conducts an annual review of improper governmental activity. The latest report, released last month, reflects just a small percentage of cases brought to her office for investigation.

The results are depressing to say the least. Here are some of the notable examples.

The first involves overpayments by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to employees. The taxpayers should have been able to recover that money, but it’s not going to happen. As much as $1.5 million in overpayments of salary advances was forfeited by the agency because it failed to provide notice to the employees within a three-year time limit. According to the State Auditor “Inefficiency and incompetency in Caltrans’ division of human resources contributed significantly to its failure to notify recipients and collect on the outstanding salary advances.”

To read the entire column, please click here.

California Reopens – Ending Most COVID-19 Rules

California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic.

At the stroke of midnight, California lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions and ushered in what has been billed as the state’s “Grand Reopening.”

Starting Tuesday, there were no more state rules on social distancing, and no more limits on capacity at restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums or anywhere else.

And masks — one of the most symbolic and fraught symbols of the pandemic — will no longer be mandated for vaccinated people in most settings, though businesses and counties can still require them. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press

Newsom, Lawmakers Thrown Pay Raise Hot Potato

That sound you heard at the State Capitol last week was constitutional officers and state lawmakers running for cover.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom, California legislators and other state elected officials were approved to receive a 4.2% salary increase this year,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

There is no bigger political hot potato than pay raises for elected officials.

Currently, California governors are paid $209,747 per year. That will go up to $218,500 starting December 1. Rank-and-file state lawmakers are paid $114,877 plus per diem while the Legislature is in session. That will increase to $119,700 in January.

The pay raise was granted by the California Citizens Compensation Commission, which held its annual meeting to determine the salary of state elected officials for the coming year.

According to the commission website, “Proposition 112, passed by voters in June 1990, established the Commission to set the salaries and medical, dental, insurance and other similar benefits of Members of the Legislature and the State’s other elected officials.”  Another voter-approved measure, Proposition 1F (2009) prevents the commission from granting pay raises when there is a budget deficit.

Even though legislators do not propose or approve the pay raises themselves, it is a huge political hit, typically generating the sort of big constituent and media backlash that you’re seeing today.

During the 2000s and early 2010s, the state faced several years of budget rollercoasters.  Yet, the commission granted multiple pay raises during this period, even though lawmakers were often digging out from under multibillion dollar budget holes.

Working with lawmakers during that time, we were quick to emphasize that the Legislature routinely cut its operating budgets and left vacancies unfilled while the state was experiencing massive deficits – anything to change the subject.  Many lawmakers – especially those who faced tough re-election fights, declined the pay raises.

During the Schwarzenegger years, when the commission was dominated by GOP appointees, the commission twice voted to cut their pay – even by a whopping 18 percent in 2009.  Now the commission is dominated by Democratic appointees more sympathetic to pay increases.  The history of recent legislative pay raises shows state elected official pay was boosted every year between 2013 and 2019, while no change last year.

This latest pay increase couldn’t come at a worse time for Gov. Newsom, who has faced harsh criticism recently over his lack of leadership as Cal-OSHA has issued multiple confusing and contradictory workplace mask policies.  With the recall election on the horizon, the last thing Newsom wants is to be saddled with a pay raise he didn’t ask for.

According to Assembly records, three state lawmakers voluntarily reduced their pay during the Covid-19 pandemic as the state faced a massive deficit in 2020.  Newsom also took a roughly 9 percent pay cut – corresponding with the pay cut faced by state workers – last year.

Pay raises symbolize everything that’s wrong with Sacramento.  Even though state elected officials deserve to be paid a fair salary like everyone else, these pay raises are almost never justified in the public eye, even during good times.  Take a pay raise, and many constituents will see you as someone who is out to fatten their pockets at taxpayer expense while many are struggling.

Even though we face a rosier budget scenario this year, expect to see Newsom and many more state elected officials to decline this pay raise.  At the end of the day, a 4.2 percent raise isn’t worth the outpouring of constituent anger and negative press that they’ll receive in return.

Tim Anaya is the Pacific Research Institute’s senior director of communications and the Sacramento office.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute.

California’s Big Reopening: What Changes On June 15?

Photo by Richard Balog on Unsplash

California’s grand reopening day is almost here, but it comes with a few asterisks. 

If all goes as expected and promised, on June 15 our 15-month-long ordeal of public health restrictions, mandates, bans and color-coded tiers to stem the COVID-19 pandemicwill finally come to an end. As Gov. Gavin Newsom said in April and reaffirmed in May, next Tuesday is when “we can start to open up…business as usual.”

But as that much-touted date approaches, the governor’s promise of a sudden milestone is colliding with the loophole-ridden gradualism of California labor law, local control and the imperatives of fighting a diminishing — but not defeated — virus that has killed 62,500 Californians and counting.

Some mixed messages along the way have added to the confusion. So what will — and won’t — actually happen on Tuesday? Many of your questions, answered.

Will I be able to sit inside a bar, work out at a gym or go to the movies?

Probably. 

The average Californian can expect things to look fairly back-to-normal in most of the ways that matter. 

Moving “beyond the blueprint,” to use the state’s branding, and instead using federal health guidance for public places means that most businesses can dispense with social distancing requirements, capacity limits and forced closures. 

But there’s a difference between “can” and “must.” 

Counties will still be free to impose their own public health restrictions if they choose to — but only if they’re stricter than what the state is requiring. So far, no counties have said that they’ll part ways with the state’s rules, though a few, like San Francisco, say they’re still mulling over their options.

Even so, businesses aren’t taking any chances. On Tuesday, more than 35 business groups sent a letter to county governments across the state begging them to stick to the statewide rules.

Though business groups, who don’t relish the idea of getting sued, are hoping for consistent, cheap and easy-to-follow standards, your favorite restaurant, movie theater or hair salon is also free to impose its own public health restrictions. 

That means you shouldn’t be surprised if you still spot a few “No Mask, No Service” signs after June 15.

Can I go to a concert?

Depends. Are we talking open mic at the local bar or Beyonce at an arena?

The state has said it will impose additional restrictions on “mega events.” That’s defined as anything that draws more than 5,000 people indoors or 10,000 outside. (Sorry, nameless dude playing a melodica into a loop pedal, you are not a mega event).

According to the most recent state guidance, concerts, conventions and other indoor mega events will only be open to people who can prove that they’ve either been vaccinated (by showing a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or documentation from a doctor) or that they tested negative for the coronavirus in the last 72 hours. That kind of proof won’t necessarily be required at outdoor events such as baseball games, but the state is recommending that stadiums either impose such a rule or require masking.

Once I’m inside the bar, gym or movie theater, can I finally take this mask off?

Yes, if you’re vaccinated.

California’s public health officials confirmed Wednesday that along with relaxed social distancing, the state will also drop its mask mandate on June 15 and instead adopt the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That means vaccinated adults should feel free to go mask-less in most public spaces. There are still exceptions for venues where the potential for many vulnerable people congregating in a confined place is high: hospitals and other health care settings, school classrooms, prisons and jails, public transit and nursing homes.

If you’re unvaccinated, you’ll still be required to wear a mask indoors in most public places, though it’s not entirely clear if or how that will be enforced. On Wednesday, health and human services secretary Mark Ghaly said that businesses can require masks of all customers, implement a vaccination verification system or simply go with the honor system

“We are not requiring businesses to, for example, have somebody at the door checking for vaccine status as a way to comply with this,” he said. …

Click here to read the full article from CalMatters.org