New Bipartisan Senate Special Committee to Focus on California’s Pandemic Emergency Response, Findings for Future Preparedness

April 15, 2020

SACRAMENTO – Senate pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) announced today the creation of a special committee on California’s COVID-19 emergency response.

The Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response, a bipartisan committee of eleven senators, is tasked with reviewing the state’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis – what has gone right and what could be improved. The committee also will make findings and recommendations for future preparedness if the coronavirus returns later in the year, or if the state faces a subsequent pandemic. 

“The goal is to make sure that California is in the best position possible to respond to a pandemic emergency,” Senate Leader Atkins said. “We’ve done an amazing job as a state in our response to COVID-19, from our swift action to fund a budget bill providing lifesaving equipment and resources, to our public health departments ensuring the safety and health of all Californians, but we can always do better. Being prepared is the key.”

The special committee will be chaired by Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), vice-chaired by Senator Patricia C. Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), and will include the following Senators: Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), Anna M. Caballero (D-Salinas), Bill Dodd (D-Yolo), Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana), and Scott D. Wiener (D-San Francisco). 

“I would like to thank Senate President pro Tempore Atkins for the unique opportunity to chair the Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response,” Senator Gonzalez said. “Last month the State Legislature acted swiftly to approve COVID-19 emergency funds and since then, funds have been used to advance a variety of programs and efforts to protect and aide our state. Building from these efforts, this committee will review our current response to COVID-19 and allow us to better prepare for the future.” 

“We have seen heroic responses from healthcare professionals, first responders, grocery employees, truck drivers, educators and so many more. We also know that over 750 Californians have died and over 23,300 have tested positive for COVID-19. They and all Californians deserve a thoughtful review of what has worked well and what could have been and can be done better. I appreciate Senator Atkins’ leadership on this important issue and the efforts of my Senate colleagues who will join me on this committee,” Senator Bates said.

Last week, Senate Leader Atkins announced the creation of a new Senate subcommittee on the state’s COVID-19 response, focused on expenditures and funding related to the pandemic. The Senate Special Budget Subcommittee on COVID-19 Response is set to hold its first hearing at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 in Room 4203.




Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins:

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