Governor takes actions in mitigate impact of wildfires
By TOM JOYCE
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Gov. Gavin Newsom took a few different actions to mitigate the impact of California’s wildfires.
One of them was to declare a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County, which allowed Caltrans to seek money in the aftermath of last fall’s Alisal Fire and eases access to unemployment benefits.
“The emergency proclamations enable Caltrans to request immediate federal assistance for highway repairs or reconstruction in Santa Barbara and Monterey counties,” according to a press release issued Friday from the governor’s office. “The emergency proclamation for Santa Barbara County directs the Office of Emergency Services to assist recovery efforts in the county pursuant to the California Disaster Assistance Act, and includes a provision to ease access to unemployment benefits for those unemployed as a result of the Alisal Fire.”
In addition to telling residents to obey emergency officials and the Office of Emergency Services to offer assistance to local governments, the Santa Barbara County order makes it easier to obtain unemployment benefits and orders the California Department of Transportation to “request immediate assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program.”
Here is what the unemployment benefits provision of the order says: “The provisions of Unemployment Insurance Code section 1253 imposing a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance applicants are suspended as to all applicants who are unemployed as a direct result of the Alisal Fire who applied for unemployment insurance benefits during the time period beginning Oct. 11, 2021 and ending on the close of business on April 11, 2022, and who are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.”