Pat's Perspective: A December Update from Senator Patricia Bates

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Message from Pat

Dear Neighbor,

This holiday season – indeed most of 2020 – has been very challenging for most Californians due to COVID-19.

However, the distribution of a vaccine means we are starting to see daylight at the end of a long tunnel. We cannot say “thank you” enough to the scientists who worked on the vaccine and to the health care workers on the front lines of fighting the pandemic.

With hospital intensive care unit (ICU) capacity at very low levels, it is important that we all continue to do what we can to stay safe. Please continue to heed public health guidelines – including handwashing, social distancing, and wearing face coverings when appropriate.

The California Legislature reconvened for the 2021-2022 session on December 7 to swear-in new and re-elected members. While Californians continue to do their essential jobs, all legislators need to do theirs by keeping the Governor and his Administration accountable.

I agreed with many of the Governor’s actions during the early days of the pandemic, but his arbitrary actions of picking economic winners and losers have devastated many small businesses and workers.

I am working to check the Governor’s overreach, reopen our state responsibly, and provide relief to those in need. The Governor has made far too many decisions without real input from the Legislature or the public. We must protect our health, our economy, and our constitutional rights.

For the latest statewide information on COVID-19, testing, vaccines, closures, and more, go to

For COVID-19-related information regarding your county, click on the links below:

I wish you a safe Christmas and holiday season,


Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill

Congress passed a bipartisan agreement on another COVID relief bill on December 21.

While the bill is not perfect, it will provide much needed assistance to further mitigate the virus and help those suffering from the government-imposed economic shutdown. It is expected that the bill will be signed into law soon.

The bill includes funding for vaccine distribution, another round of direct payments to most taxpayers, more small business aid, extended unemployment benefits, and more. Click here to read a summary of the bill’s provisions.

Information about a new federal direct payment should be posted soon at and new small business assistance at Questions about the relief bill itself should be directed to your federal representatives. To find your member of Congress, click here.

Quick Updates

Here are some of the things I have been working on over the past several weeks:

  • Co-authored the “Keep California Working Act” to help save more jobs and small businesses. Click here to learn more.

  • Led a bipartisan group of senators to urge the Governor to reclassify restaurants as essential businesses and adopt the industry’s protocols that would allow them to operate safely. Click here to learn more.

  • Co-authored a bill to protect Californians applying for unemployment insurance from identity theft. Click here to learn more.

  • Explained in the San Diego Union-Tribune why we must combat climate change without forcing more Californians into poverty or out of state. Click here to read my editorial.

  • Made the case in the Sacramento Bee that our tax dollars must not fund a dubious contract with a partisan firm. Click here to learn more.

  • Announced more state housing grants for our district: Orange County, San Diego County, Dana Point, Mission Viejo, Encinitas, Oceanside, and Laguna Niguel.

  • Participated in numerous video and phone conferences with state, federal, and local leaders to ensure our region has the resources it needs to fight the pandemic.

Resources for Workers and Families

If you have been financially affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for:

  • Unemployment insurance

  • Housing assistance

  • Utility payment grace periods

  • No credit score changes

Click here to learn more.

Covered California also recently announced that it would give consumers until December 30 to sign up for health care coverage that begins on January 1, 2021. Click here to learn more.

Resources for Small Businesses

The State of California recently announced that the following new small business resources are now available:

  • Small Business Hiring Tax Credit. Click here to learn more.

  • Small Business Sales Tax Extension. Click here to learn more.

  • California Rebuilding Fund. Click here to learn more.

Click here to learn more about other business resources.

DMV Update

  • Californians who are 70 and older can now renew their noncommercial driver’s license online. Click here to learn more.

  • The DMV has temporarily suspended behind-the-wheel driving tests. Click here to learn more.

  • You can conduct many other DMV transactions online such as renewing your vehicle registration. Visit to learn more.