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Newsom sued by California residents demanding end to stay-at-home rules

A lawsuit by two Sacramento County residents is contesting California Gov. Gavin Newsom stay-at-home order after their requests for permits to stage a protest outside the state Capitol were denied.
(Associated Press)

Two Sacramento County residents on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s sweeping stay-at-home order that is credited with helping slow the spread of coronavirus.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Ron Givens of the Sacramento Gun Club and Christine “Chris” Bish, a real estate agent and a Republican candidate for Congress running against Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), alleges that the California Highway Patrol unconstitutionally denied their requests for permits to hold a protest outside the state Capitol.

Givens wants to protest the state’s failure to process background checks for people buying firearms, and Bish hopes to protest the stay-at-home order, according to the lawsuit.

These are some of the unusual new scenes across the Southland during the coronavirus outbreak.

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“At a time when Californians are rightfully questioning the duration and extent of the stay-at-home orders, which are unevenly enforced and which have resulted in other constitutional challenges, Gov. Newsom has reacted to citizen protests not by addressing widespread concern, but simply by shutting down protest at the Capitol altogether, making no reasonable accommodations for this fundamental function in a free society,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, one of the attorneys handling the case.

The Newsom administration previously announced the six key goals to meet before the governor’s stay-at-home mandate is altered, including the ability to closely monitor and track potential cases, prevent infection of high-risk people, increase surge capacity at hospitals, develop therapeutics, and ensure physical distance at schools, businesses and childcare facilities.

Some communities have urged Newsom to urge the rules, while others have said they are in no hurry,

On Monday, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, mayors and other elected officials from six counties in California’s northern interior urged the governor to allow the region to ease restrictions and start the process of reopening their economy. They said that in that area the spread of the coronavirus had subsided, with only one person with the virus hospitalized in an intensive care unit as of Monday.

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“We believe that the local public health data, in addition to our area’s ability to continue monitoring cases, should allow our counties to soon begin a science-based, thoughtful reopening of our economy, consistent with national guidelines, which would allow our residents to get back to work,” the letter to Newsom stated.

Last week, San Luis Obispo County officials said they had bent the coronavirus curve and were beginning to craft a second phase that would allow some businesses to reopen.

According to a California Health Care Foundation/Ipsos survey, 75% of residents want the order to continue as long as it’s needed. Only 11% wanted to stop the stay-at-home order, while 13% had no opinion. Among low-income residents, support was even stronger: 78% support the stay-at-home order and only 3% oppose it.

Ninety-five percent of respondents said they supported L.A. elected officials’ decision to implement a stay-at-home order for all but essential personnel, according to a Loyola Marymount University poll of Los Angeles County residents.


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