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Supply Chain Hurdles Will Outlast Covid Pandemic, White House Says – The New York Times

The coronavirus pandemic and its ripple effects have snarled supply chains around the world, contributing to shipping backlogs, product shortages and the fastest inflation in decades.
But in a report released Thursday, White House economists argue that while the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in the supply chain, it didn’t create them — and they warned that the problems won’t go away when the pandemic ends.

“Though modern supply chains have driven down consumer prices for many goods, they can also easily break,” the Council of Economic Advisers wrote. Climate change, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters that comes with it, will make future disruptions inevitable, the group said.

White House economists analyzed the supply chain as part of the Economic Report of the President. The annual document, which this year runs more than 400 pages, typically offers few new policy proposals, but outlines the administration’s thinking on key economic issues facing the country, and on how the president hopes to address them.

This year’s report focuses on the role of government in the economy, and calls for the government to do more to combat slowing productivity growth, declining labor force participation, rising inequality and other trends that long predated the pandemic.
“The U.S. is among and remains one of the strongest economies in the world, but if we look at trends over the last several decades, some of those trends threaten to undermine that standing,” Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. The problem is in part that “the public sector has retreated from its role.”

The report dedicates one of its seven chapters to supply chains, noting that the once-esoteric subject “entered dinner-table conversations” in 2021. In recent decades, Ms. Rouse and the report’s other authors write, U.S. manufacturers have increasingly relied on parts produced in low-cost countries, especially China, a practice known as offshoring. At the same time, companies have adopted just-in-time production strategies that minimize the parts and materials they keep in inventory, in an attempt to maximize returns to shareholders.

The result, the authors argue, are supply chains that are efficient but brittle — vulnerable to breaking down in the face of a pandemic, a war or a natural disaster.

“Because of outsourcing, offshoring and insufficient investment in resilience, many supply chains have become complex and fragile,” they write, adding: “This evolution has also been driven by shortsighted assumptions about cost reduction that have ignored important costs that are hard to turn into financial measures, or that spilled over to affect others.”

In the report, the administration cited its efforts to identify weaknesses in supply chains for key products like semiconductors, electric-vehicle batteries, certain minerals and pharmaceutical products, and to bolster American manufacturing through expanded federal purchasing and other investment.

“The public sector can be a partner of the private sector, rather than a rival,” the report said.
And in a blog post Thursday, Sarah Bianchi, the deputy U.S. trade representative, said that trade negotiators had been working with officials in Canada, Mexico, the European Union, South Korea, Japan, Britain and elsewhere to identify and address bottlenecks in supply chains.

But some economists have noted that making supply chains more resilient could carry its own costs, making products more expensive when inflation is already a major concern.
Adam S. Posen, the president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might lead companies to locate at least some of their supply chains in places that were more politically stable and less strategically vulnerable. But pushing companies to duplicate production could waste taxpayer dollars and introduce inefficiencies, raising prices for consumers and lowering growth.
“At best you’re paying an insurance premium,” he said. “At worst you’re doing something for completely political reasons that’s very economically inefficient.”

What is inflation? Inflation is a loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.
What causes inflation? It can be the result of rising consumer demand. But inflation can also rise and fall based on developments that have little to do with economic conditions, such as limited oil production and supply chain problems.

Where is inflation headed? Officials say they do not yet see evidence that rapid inflation is turning into a permanent feature of the economic landscape, even as prices rise very quickly. There are plenty of reasons to believe that the inflationary burst will fade, but some concerning signs suggest it may last.

Is inflation bad? It depends on the circumstances. Fast price increases spell trouble, but moderate price gains can lead to higher wages and job growth.
How does inflation affect the poor? Inflation can be especially hard to shoulder for poor households because they spend a bigger chunk of their budgets on necessities like food, housing and gas.

Can inflation affect the stock market? Rapid inflation typically spells trouble for stocks. Financial assets in general have historically fared badly during inflation booms, while tangible assets like houses have held their value better.

Other economists have emphasized that global supply chains are not always a source of fragility — sometimes they can be a source of resilience, too.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director general of the World Trade Organization, said in an interview that the world had been seeing a trend toward the decentralization of manufacturing and production, in which supply chains were moving out of China into Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and other countries. That is an opportunity to diversify supply chains and bring poorer countries into the global trading system, allowing them to reap the benefits of globalization, too, she said.

Rather than reeling in supply chains to concentrate them in developed countries, she said, businesses are doing more “nearshoring” — shifting to low-cost but less distant countries — as well as pursuing risk-mitigation strategies like building up inventory.

Ms. Rouse, the White House economic adviser, said that while it could make sense to promote increased domestic production of some critical components such as computer chips, the Biden administration was not pushing to reverse offshoring entirely.

“We don’t need to make everything here,” she said. “We understand that would be excessively costly and unnecessary.”

But despite their emphasis on the public sector’s role in the economy, the White House economists recommended only modest steps that the federal government could take to strengthen supply chains. They suggested that the government help aggregate and disseminate data that could make it easier for companies to understand their supply chains and identify weaknesses. And they said the government could encourage domestic production of products that were vital for national security or other core interests. Independent experts said those steps could be useful, but were unlikely to solve the problems outlined in the report.
“The short answer is there’s no easy answers,” said Chad P. Bown, a trade economist and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute.

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Manhattan Prosecutors Begin Presenting Trump Case to Grand Jury

The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The grand jury was recently impaneled, and the beginning of witness testimony represents a clear signal that the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.

On Monday, one of the witnesses was seen with his lawyer entering the building in Lower Manhattan where the grand jury is sitting. The witness, David Pecker, is the former publisher of The National Enquirer, the tabloid that helped broker the deal with the porn star, Stormy Daniels.

As prosecutors prepare to reconstruct the events surrounding the payment for grand jurors, they have sought to interview several witnesses, including the tabloid’s former editor, Dylan Howard, and two employees at Mr. Trump’s company, the people said. Mr. Howard and the Trump Organization employees, Jeffrey McConney and Deborah Tarasoff, have not yet testified before the grand jury.


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The prosecutors have also begun contacting officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, one of the people said. And in a sign that they want to corroborate these witness accounts, the prosecutors recently subpoenaed phone records and other documents that might shed light on the episode.

A conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.

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Still, the developments compound Mr. Trump’s legal woes as he mounts a third presidential campaign. A district attorney in Georgia could seek to indict him for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, and he faces a special counsel investigation into his removal of sensitive documents from the White House as well as his actions during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Mr. Bragg’s decision to impanel a grand jury focused on the hush money — supercharging the longest-running criminal investigation into Mr. Trump — represents a dramatic escalation in an inquiry that once appeared to have reached a dead end.

Under Mr. Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the district attorney’s office had begun presenting evidence to an earlier grand jury about a case focused on Mr. Trump’s business practices, including whether he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to secure favorable loans and other benefits. Yet in the early weeks of his tenure last year, Mr. Bragg developed concerns about the strength of that case and decided to abandon the grand jury presentation, prompting the resignations of the two senior prosecutors leading the investigation.



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Mayor Adams Announces Steps as New Concealed Carry

New Signage to be Posted to Warn Pedestrians When Entering “Sensitive Locations,” Like Times Square
City Website With Frequently Asked Questions Will Ensure New Yorkers Are Aware of New Regulations
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced that the city is launching a comprehensive outreach plan to educate and inform New Yorkers about new state legislation, going into effect tomorrow, governing concealed carry regulations across the state. The provisions of the legislation will require concealed carry license applicants to meet revised eligibility requirements and complete a state-regulated firearms training course, as well as defines certain “sensitive locations” where concealed carry licensees are not permitted to carry guns within.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision was the shot heard round the world that took dead aim at the safety of all New Yorkers. New York City will defend itself against this decision, and, beginning tomorrow, new eligibility requirements for concealed carry permit applicants and restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons in ‘sensitive locations,’ like Times Square, take effect,” said Mayor Adams. “We will be posting signage at every entrance into Times Square informing those traveling through that the area is a gun-free zone and that licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a gun unless otherwise specially authorized by law. As mayor of New York City and a former police officer, my top priority will always be the safety of all 8.8 million people who call this city home, so while the Supreme Court decision may have opened an additional river feeding the sea of gun violence, we are doing everything we can to dam it and keep New York the safest big city in America.”

Later today, the city will post temporary signage around Times Square informing those traveling through that the area is a gun-free zone, and licensed gun carriers and others may not enter with a firearm unless otherwise specially authorized by law. Signage will be posted at other “sensitive locations” in the near future.

The city will also launch a website tomorrow with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to educate New Yorkers about the law. The FAQs will provide an overview of the legislation and what changes New Yorkers can expect. The page will be updated periodically to respond to New Yorkers’ concerns and provide helpful information.

“In response to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down New York’s century-old concealed carry law, we took swift and thoughtful action to keep New Yorkers safe,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “I refuse to surrender my right as governor to protect New Yorkers from gun violence or any other form of harm. In New York state, we will continue leading the way forward and implementing common sense gun safety legislation.”

“Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it, but we are still committed to making it abundantly clear to every resident and visitor what the provisions and effects of this new legislation are,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “What this decision doesn’t change is the fact that the NYPD and all of our public safety agencies remain focused on protecting this city. We have worked tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to prepare for the new regulations, and will continue to make safety priority #1 as this legislation goes into effect.”


“The state has developed a licensing regime that is consistent with Bruen and protective of commonsense eligibility requirements — and the city has worked in close coordination with our partners at the state level to implement the provisions going into effect this week,” said City Hall and Mayoral Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire. “We will continue to use every legal tool at our disposal to keep New Yorkers safe.”


“Nothing about the new requirements going into effect regarding legal firearm possession changes the fact that the NYPD remains prepared to ensure public safety in Times Square and elsewhere throughout New York City,” said New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “The NYPD’s focus on detecting and interdicting illegal guns — and arresting those who unlawfully possess them — remains a cornerstone of our continuing fight to eradicate gun violence.”

“The city is committed to doing everything it can to assist in keeping New Yorkers safe,” said New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix. “Our work at the Law Department is ongoing to help the city implement the state’s new laws and ensure public safety, while respecting the constitutional rights of lawful gun owners.”

“Mayor Adams is committed to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Director Deanna Logan. “We are working with our partners across the city and state to educate the public on the new regulations, strengthening social interventions that reduce the harm of illegal guns to achieve the right balance between responsible gun ownership and public safety.”

“There is no place for personal firearms at the ‘Crossroads of the World,’” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “Times Square is a safe, global attraction for the millions of residents, commuters, and tourists who visit and pass through it every day. We are grateful for the work of Mayor Adams and the City Council to ensure this iconic space remains welcoming to all.”

On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s handgun-licensing law in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. Before the Supreme Court’s decision,the law required applicants for conceal carry gun licenses to show “proper cause,” but the court ruled that New York state’s “proper cause” requirement violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On July 1, 2022, New York state enacted Chapter 371 of the Laws of 2022 in response to the limitations set forth under the Bruen decision. The state law revises specific eligibility requirements to the concealed carry licensing process and restricts the carrying of concealed weapons in a specified list of “sensitive locations.” It also enhances safe storage requirements and background check coordination, as well as amends the state’s existing body armor purchase ban to include hard body armor.

“New York State’s new concealed carry legislation is great news for our state, and I applaud Mayor Adams for his work to educate New Yorkers on its provisions and the new gun-free zones that will help keep our communities safe from senseless gun violence,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “In the Senate, I am proud to have helped pass the most significant piece of gun reform legislation in nearly 30 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included major provisions from my gun trafficking bill to help limit the flow of illegal guns that come up the Iron Pipeline. We still have more work to do, but New York’s leaders are working diligently at the federal, state, and city level to keep our streets safe and to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence.”

“We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country, our nation is awash in guns—too many of them in the hands of people who pose a threat to our streets, to our schools, to our supermarkets and even to our houses of worship,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, chair, House Judiciary Committee. “With an out-of-control Supreme Court that has mangled the meaning of the second amendment and overturned New York’s century old law that provided for reasonable restrictions and gun safety measures for the public, I am pleased that New York has taken action to require concealed carry license applicants to meet eligibility requirements and complete a state-regulated firearms training course, and has designated certain “sensitive locations” like iconic Times Square, where concealed carry licensees are not permitted to bring guns.  These actions today will make New Yorkers safer, and tells anyone that New York will do everything within its power to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors.”

“Designating ‘sensitive locations’ in a city as populated as New York is imperative to keeping our people, children, and vulnerable populations safe,” said U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks. “We cannot let senseless gun violence continue to harm our schools, subways, and communities. I applaud these new regulations going into effect swiftly after the Bruen decision, and Mayor Adams for launching a comprehensive plan to educate and inform New Yorkers on how to protect each other and our city.”

“Gun safety and gun violence preventive measures are critical to helping keep New York City families and visitors to our city safe,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I commend Mayor Adams on today’s announcement to ensure gun-free zones at sensitive locations including in Times Square and other high traffic locations around the city. We must continue to prioritize safety measures and vigilance — to help keep people safe.”

“Even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s reckless and outrageous Bruen decision invalidating New York’s century-old concealed carry weapons law, New York will keep its obligation to protect our citizens,” said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I’m proud to have secured the protection of Times Square, one of the most visited tourist sites on the planet, as a sensitive location where concealed weapons will not be permitted. It’s crucial to the recovery of our local economy, including Broadway, that Times Square be a gun-free zone and that its 50 million annual visitors feel safe from the dangers of gun violence.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle the concealed carry law has opened the door to even more senseless gun violence. Banning concealed weapons in sensitive locations — like schools, government buildings, and places of worship — are the ‘common sense gun laws’ that the majority of Americans want and need,” said New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. “Thoughts and prayers after countless mass shootings aren’t enough. We have to take action to stop a Supreme Court determined to strip away sensible gun laws that protect everyday New Yorkers and Americans.  Mayor Adams’ decision to make Times Square and other densely-populated destinations ‘gun free’ is a much-needed step to protect New Yorkers. These regulations are intended to protect everyone, including law-abiding gun owners.”

“New York must continue to be a place where we do everything we can to reduce gun violence,” said New York State Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, chair, Assembly Codes Committee. “Although the Supreme Court and gun rights advocates are trying their hardest to undermine our ability to keep people safe, the state has implemented new requirements to ensure that our gun laws remain in compliance with recent judicial rulings. I am glad to see sensitive area signage being installed as well as a new city website to help all New Yorkers understand the changes in our gun laws.”

“Over the past year, my colleagues in the state legislature and I worked hard to encode new laws to protect New Yorkers from gun violence, including important revisions to the state’s concealed carry program,” said New York State Assemblymember Chantel Jackson. “Despite opposition from the Supreme Court, we passed laws to protect the program from abuse, including designated areas where concealed carry will not be permitted. This is a major victory for New Yorkers, and I support the mayor’s efforts to inform the public about the new program.”

“After we passed our gun safety bill in the extraordinary session in Albany, Mayor Adams is implementing and educating New Yorkers on this life-saving legislation,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “The mayor will ensure that everyone knows where our gun-free zones are, from schools to subways to Times Square. In a year where there have already been 1,000 shootings, including one last week in my district that left a man in critical condition, this preemptive action will keep firearms out of sensitive areas and stop gun violence before it starts.”

“When the Supreme Court sided with the NRA’s New York chapter to weaken gun safety laws, the state legislature stepped up and passed a new law to address crime in New York,” said New York State Assemblymember Manny de los Santos, MSW. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, for speedily implementing this new state law to keep New Yorkers safe.”

“Gun violence has torn apart too many families and threatens community safety,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. The city’s steps to implement enhanced training and no-gun zones in high traffic areas will help keep these deadly weapons out of hands and off streets where they do not belong. I commend the state legislature for acting swiftly to strengthen our concealed carry laws that will protect New Yorkers.”

“Gun violence is a serious crisis in our city and nation, and the Supreme Court’s misguided decision to strike down New York’s concealed carry gun law presented a major challenge to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our state government leaders acted swiftly and responsibly by passing regulations to prioritize our safety, including the designation of sensitive locations like Times Square as gun-free zones. With the new law set to go into effect on September 1st, the council and administration are working closely to define and implement the boundaries of the Times Square sensitive areas through administrative rules and legislation. It is also imperative for the city to take steps so residents and visitors alike are clear about the new law and designated areas where gun-carrying is restricted. We will continue to pursue new initiatives that keep our communities safe by preventing violence, investing in solutions, and limiting the over-proliferation of deadly firearms.”

“The Bruen decision was a setback in the fight against gun violence, but I want to reassure all New Yorkers that we are using every tool available to hold accountable those who illegally use dangerous firearms,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “We commend the mayor’s office for its efforts to educate the public about the impact of the decision and the new regulations enacted in response. We will work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners, city officials, businesses, and community leaders to enhance awareness, answer questions and keep out communities safe”.

“Fewer guns on our streets and in our neighborhoods correlates with lower levels of gun violence,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “While the Supreme Court’s recent decision has forced our state to adopt more permissive concealed carry laws, the legislature’s quick action to prohibit the concealed carrying of handguns in sensitive areas in New York was an essential step to keep us safe, and these signs will help law-abiding gun owners comply with the new laws.”

“While I and many others in law enforcement remain deeply concerned over the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding concealed carry regulations, we must now face this new reality together and join forces on all levels of government to ensure our city has effective stopgaps in place to prevent future gun violence from spreading in our communities,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon. “I applaud Mayor Adams and his team for putting this comprehensive plan in place and we will continue working closely together to educate New Yorkers about these new regulations. At the same time, my office will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who violates our gun laws and threatens the safety and security of our communities.”

“While the Supreme Court works to make it harder to keep guns under control, Mayor Adams, Governor Hochul and the state legislature are taking steps to protect New Yorkers in sensitive areas of our city,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “The simple fact is the fewer guns on our street the safer everybody will be, and we must continue to work to better control all guns in this country. But I’m proud of the work the mayor and state legislature have done to restrict conceal carry weapons, and to educate New Yorkers about a law that will undoubtedly help keep people safe.”

“The Supreme Court decision overturning our state’s long-standing concealed carry regulations was horribly misguided and deeply undermines our efforts to combat the scourge of gun violence, which has stolen precious lives and ripped apart grieving families for far too long,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Thankfully the state adopted revised rules to mitigate the damage done by the court’s awful decision. I commend Mayor Adams and his administration for educating and informing our city’s residents about these revisions and for their continued work to keep our families safe, despite the roadblocks imposed by the court.”

“The erosion of New York State’s Sullivan Act to restrict one’s ability to carry a concealed handgun outside of their residence puts all New Yorkers at risk, said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “From Buffalo to Brookville, this new precedent allows guns in public places, including most forms of public transportation, a troubling fact considering the rise in shootings. As the city continues to see a rise in gun violence, educating the public is the first step to ensuring public safety. I look forward to working with this administration and all of my colleagues in government to expand the safety zones to better protect the public.”

“The Supreme Court’s ever-growing extremist, right-wing jurisprudence is proof that we cannot wait for the federal government to act and must take gun safety into our own hands,” said New York City Councilmember Crystal Hudson. “This public outreach program is a much needed first step to ensure everyone knows that while New York City may be welcoming to all, it is not welcoming to guns. I look forward to working with the administration and state lawmakers to limit concealed carry regulations to the greatest extent possible and enacting additional measures aimed at ensuring anyone coming to New York – from residents to tourists – understands the law.”

“In response to the unfortunate decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, I commend Mayor Adams for taking action that will keep guns out of sensitive locations such as Times Square,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “In this critical moment following “proper cause” being struck down for concealed carry arms, we must keep New Yorkers safe. As a former commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, I made it a priority to investigate potentially illegal and unlicensed sales of secondhand guns in New York City, and we must continue to keep guns off our streets and use every tool in our toolbox.”


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Governor Newsom and President Biden Visit Communities Impacted


SANTA CRUZ COUNTY – Governor Gavin Newsom today welcomed President Joe Biden as he arrived in California to visit communities impacted by recent storms and meet with first responders leading recovery efforts.

“Over the past weeks, Californians have endured some of the deadliest and most destructive storms in recent memory, but our strength, resilience, and instinct to help in times of crisis has never faltered,” said Governor Newsom. “And President Biden and his Administration have been supporting us every step of the way – and I am grateful for the President’s commitment to helping California recover.”

President Biden’s visit began with an aerial tour led by Governor Newsom on Marine One, surveying damage across Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County. Following the tour, they visited businesses in Capitola that were impacted by the recent winter storms and met with first responders at Seacliff State Beach.



Governor Newsom welcomes President Biden as he arrived in California to visit communities impacted by recent storms and meet with first responders leading recovery efforts.

Yesterday, the Governor announced that the White House added the counties of Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration – with San Joaquin being added today.

FEMA and the President also announced a 100% federal cost share for Categories A (debris removal) and B (emergency protective measures). Last week, President Biden also approved the Governor’s request for a Presidential Emergency Declaration to bolster state, local and tribal government storm response efforts.

Over the past two weeks, Governor Newsom has met with evacuated residents in Merced County, assisted storm preparedness work in Santa Barbara County and surveyed storm damage in Santa Cruz County and Sacramento County with state and local officials. The Governor has proclaimed a state of emergency statewide and issued an executive order to further assist the emergency response and support impacted communities across the state.


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