COVID Contradiction? Church buildings Get Federal PPP Cash Whereas Defying Native Well being Orders – NBC Bay Space

Few people in the Bay Area have defied local health regulations as openly and fervently as Senior Pastor of San Jose Mike McClure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congregants flocked to Calvary Chapel San Jose in their hundreds for his weekly indoor services, most without a mask, despite the Santa Clara County’s Public Health Ordinance banning these types of indoor gatherings. McClure has also held rallies on the steps of the local court after being charged with disregarding the court for continuing these services and fined nearly $ 2 million.

And at least twice, according to the District Attorney, a judge has scorned McClure and Calvary Chapel for disregarding those health instructions in court.

“This facility does not follow these safety precautions, does not care about our community or its own community,” said James R. Williams, Santa Clara county counsel.

Williams also said none of these fines have yet been paid.

While McClure and his staff circumvented the rules, federal records have shown that Calvary Chapel San Jose received US Small’s $ 340,400 in unsuccessful loans from the US Small’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as part of the CARES ACT COVID relief package passed last year Business Administration has collected. This apparent contradiction annoys the district officials who have fought McClure and Calvary Chapel in court.

“It is disappointing that, on the one hand, they choose to purposely endanger the safety of people in our community during this time of crisis, and, on the other, they choose to do so [seek] Helping taxpayers run their business, ”said Williams. “This is about protecting our community. And it’s not just the meeting inside. There’s no face masking, no social distancing, no compliance (at Calvary Chapel) with any of the basic protocols that apply to everyone in our community, ”said Williams.

An analysis of millions of SBA records detailing PPP loan data by the NBC Bay Area investigative unit found that Calvary Chapel San Jose is one of at least a dozen places of worship in California that received taxpayers’ money while ignoring the county’s health mandates. In total, these dozen religious organizations accepted $ 5,929,602 in PPP funds, according to federal data.

Examples include:

  • The Archdiocese of San Francisco, whose records show that it accepted $ 1,876,500 in PPP funds and that the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has violated local health codes on multiple occasions. In one case, church officials are supposed to sanctioned a wedding last summer at the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, where guests entered through an underground car park. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the pastor of the church said the arrangements were not intended to hide the wedding.
  • Then there is St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, where just last month the archbishop publicly said the church had broken health regulations by holding mass over a possible security threat nearby. St. Mary’s directly received $ 320,405 in PPP loan funds, according to SBA records.
  • The Spring Hills Community Church in Santa Rosa, which has violated COVID-19 health rules on multiple occasions, according to Sonoma County’s health officials. Records show Spring Hills has accepted $ 186,300 in federal COVID aid funds.
  • South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, a church that continues to meet indoors without a mask. South Bay United Pentecostal received $ 109,000 in PPP money, according to federal SBA records. The Church sued California Governor Gavin Newsome for health restrictions, and the case went to the US Supreme Court. In May 2020, the US Supreme Court became a request refused for an injunction against Governor Newsom to prevent the state from imposing restrictions on indoor gatherings.
  • Then in February 2021 the The High Court ruled in part in favor of South Bay United Pentecostal However, Governor Newsom and the state were still allowed to impose certain restrictions on internal church meetings.

The US Supreme Court ruled that California churches can actually hold meetings indoors, but the state could limit those meetings to 25% capacity and prohibit chanting and chanting during these services.

These organizations did not respond within the NBC Bay Area deadline to comment on whether it was hypocritical to accept PPP funds from taxpayers while at the same time opposing local health orders.

In a written post on its website, Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore J. Cordileone welcomed the February Supreme Court decision.

“As Christians, we are members of a church, which literally means people gather to worship God,” wrote Archbishop Cordileone. “This is our identity. It is in our nature to gather personally to give honor and glory to God. And especially as Catholics, we know that our worship cannot be broadcast live: there is no way to give communion or any of the other sacraments over the internet. “

Another church, Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, filed a similar motion for restraining orders for itself and other California churches with the US Supreme Court in 2020. Harvest Rock in Pasadena received $ 311,241 in PPP money, according to federal records.

NBC Bay Area’s analysis of the detailed PPP data came after a U.S. district court ordered the publication of these detailed records in December 2020 a lawsuit NBC News filed the Washington Post and the Center for Public Integrity against the US Small Business Administration to request the records that the news organizations said were public.

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit searched millions of U.S. PPP records and found that at least 4,982 religious organizations in California, including churches, mosques, synagogues, and the like, had received $ 608,438,703.60 of PPP loans to keep small businesses alive during the pandemic.

in the A comment last May that appeared in the Washington PostA trio of constitutional law professors from Cornell University and the University of Virginia argued that churches were making conflicting claims by arguing they were eligible for PPP funding while saying they should be exempt from certain pandemic-related health ordinances.

“These two remarkable developments show the confused state of our constitutional rules regarding the relationship between government and religion,” wrote Professors Nelson Tebbe, Micah J. Schwartzman and Richard Schragger. “On the one hand, the churches argue that the clause on the free exercise of the First Amendment entitles them to special exemptions from assignments for staying at home. On the other hand, they also claim that churches can and must be treated like non-religious organizations in terms of taxpayer funding. “

They said it was the first time in the country’s history that taxpayers would subsidize the salaries of clergymen and church officials.

“Our main concern on this piece has been for churches to make contradicting constitutional claims in connection with the pandemic,” Tebbe said. “On the one hand, the churches advocated equal treatment of funding, especially PPP funding that the federal government made available to small businesses. On the other hand, they called for special exemptions from the COVID regulations that limited the size of the gatherings. “

When NBC Bay Area caught up with Calvary Chapel’s senior pastor Mike McClure during a rally in the Santa Clara County courthouse attended by dozens of supporters, few of whom were wearing masks or socially distancing themselves, the pastor defended his church’s actions .

“I don’t want to take the money,” said McClure. “This is your money, my money, our grandchildren’s money. I do not agree with it. At the same time, I have to pay all of our employees. And it’s not the church that took it, it was our school. “

When asked directly whether, as the Washington Post Op-Ed headline claimed, it was hypocritical for churches to defy government health mandates while taking government bailouts, McClure declined and denied the fight against Santa Clara County, even as he stood before the court in which he had attended a hearing on contempt.

“You said I was fighting the government. I don’t fight anyone. I want to help the government. I am a chaplain. I don’t fight anyone. You make me look like I’m crazy, ”McClure said.

“I think even churches are subject to state regulation, when that regulation is passed and justified,” said the Honorable Michael McConnell, former judge on the US 10th Circle Appeals Court and now director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

“The right to assemble and worship according to conscience is one of the most precious rights of Americans,” said Judge McConnell. “While the government is certainly allowed to make rational decisions about public health risks, it cannot do so on the assumption that religious worship is unimportant.”

“According to the constitution, the churches have the right to participate in neutral services. They can’t get the money because they are churches and they can’t be preferred if they get the money because they are churches, ”said Judge McConnell.

“But if they (religious institutions) do exactly what secular entities do and receive money, and for example, if they employ janitors and secretaries and do exactly what money is supposed to do, there is no reason why they shouldn’t receive a neutral subsidy “Said Judge McConnell.

“They are regulated for the same reason,” said Judge McConnell.

When asked if it was a contradiction of those churches that defied local government COVID health directives to also accept COVID aid from the federal government, Judge McConnell was brief.

“Well, let’s just be happy that hypocrisy is not a crime in this country or we would all be in jail,” said the judge.

Editorial: Oklahoma use of federal COIVD-19 reduction cash included unwise, low precedence tasks | Editorial

Was it wise to spend $ 2 million on a marketing campaign with Stitt to lure tourists to the state when Oklahoma had a terrifying COVID-19 infection rate and Washington health officials discouraged unnecessary travel?

Was it wise to spend $ 250,000 to lure the Cattlemen’s Congress to the Oklahoma City Exhibition Center a few months after the Oklahoma State Fair was canceled because it couldn’t be held safely?

Was it a judicious use of taxpayer money to prepay $ 2.1 million for 1.2 million masks from a company that failed to deliver the goods?

Was buying $ 2 million worth of hydroxychloroquine, a drug hyped by former President Donald Trump but found ineffective against COVID-19, good business? If so, why is the state now trying to return all drugs?

The federal government gave a tremendous amount of money to Stitt’s office to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis, and much of that money – probably most of it – was being spent exactly as it should have been around the people and organizations that were Put down to bring relief from illness.

Some of that spending was disorganized at times, and none of it had the kind of legal scrutiny that is the hallmark of good government, but the blame lies with Congress, not Stitt.

Even so, there is much to be asked about how some of the aid was spent and we have not yet received a reasonable answer.

Federal cash for chosen well being clinics in Kansas

U.S. Senator from Kansas, Roger Marshall, M.D., recently announced five certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) in Kansas will receive more than $19 million provided under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. COMCARE of Sedgwick County received $4 million in funding.

“Increasing Kansans’ access to behavioral health services is absolutely vital,” said Sen. Marshall. “The public health emergency has heightened needs as people struggle with isolation and stress, so it is more important than ever to ensure our communities have mental health resources for their residents.”

Funding was provided under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to expand patient access to mental health and addiction treatment services. Specifically, CCBHCs provide crisis care, residential treatment, medications for serious mental illness, outpatient mental health and primary care services, and community re-entry support.

CCBHCs have proven to reduce hospital emergency services by providing timely access to coordinated care, and they have also provided aid to local law enforcement agencies by providing 24 hour mental health crisis response.

The 2021 Report of the Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization Reform listed funding and accessibility for certified community behavioral health clinics as a top priority to improve integrated care for mental illness or substance use disorders.

Among the other CCBHCs awarded in Kansas was funding for Horizons Mental Health Center in Hutchinson, in excess of $3 million.

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IFC meets Monday to approve $636 million in federal pandemic cash

View of brown folders with focus on grant label, funding concept, 3D illustration

From Sunday, February 7th, 2021

The Legislative Interim Finance Committee meets Monday to approve spending a little more than $ 636 million on CARES federal law and other pandemic-related grants.
Most of the money is $ 477.3 million for Coronavirus Response and Relief funding for elementary and secondary emergency funds. These funds will go to school districts and charter schools to help combat the effects of the pandemic.
This comes with a $ 31.38 million grant from the same program that provides emergency relief to non-public schools in Nevada.
However, the second largest grant on the agenda is a transfer of $ 124.85 million from the Consolidated Funds Act passed by Congress this year to support the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This money will be used to support Nevadans who have a proven financial need for home rental support due to the effects of the pandemic.
Finally, qualifying equity funds from the 2020 reserves of $ 2.5 million will be transferred into the 2021 budget to be used for reimbursements to applicants in these programs.
The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. or after the joint meeting of the monetary committees is adjourned. It is controlled remotely through the legislature’s website.

NC Senate OK’s invoice distributing federal COVID reduction cash – Salisbury Publish

By Bryan Anderson
Associated Press / Report for America

RALEIGH – North Carolina state senators on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to distribute funds that the state secured through the federal government’s December stimulus package.

If the schools were approved by the House of Representatives and then signed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, they would receive $ 1.6 billion to reopen classrooms with face-to-face tuition, purchase educational technology, and reduce those exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic Support learning gaps.

Over $ 546 million in federal funding would be used to help North Carolinians in need of emergency rent, while nearly $ 95 million would be given to the State Department of Health to help local health officials spread the Pfizer and Moderna -Coronavirus to support vaccinations.

The state is well on its way to receiving more than 145,000 new initial doses from the federal government in the next three weeks.

The Coronavirus Relief Act, approved by the Senate on Wednesday, also supports direct payments to more parents.

Parents who missed the opportunity to receive checks for $ 335 in the past year to offset distance learning and childcare expenses would have until May 31 to claim the so-called additional loan grants to take. The bill extends the program that expired in the fall and paves the way for thousands of families who are still eligible for direct checks in order to receive them.

Many parents who want to get their children back into physical classrooms currently have no way of doing so. A separate bill, backed by Republican lawmakers, would force districts to provide at least partial in-person tuition to all 1.5 million students in the state, although parents must still be given the opportunity to continue learning their children remotely to let.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday urged school authorities to deviate from offers for remote controls only, but declined to request. He opposes the Republican bill that has drawn the ire of teacher advocates who are concerned about the safety and lack of prioritization of vaccines. While members of the House of Representatives ponder the Coronavirus Relief Act Thursday, the Senators will vote on the proposal to reopen the school.

Colorado nabs $181 million in federal cash for COVID-19 testing – Canon Metropolis Every day File

Colorado receives $ 181 million from a United States National Coordination Unit for Disaster Relief State Support Program COVID-19 Test sites.

Governor Jared Polis and Colorado’s two US senators announced the new funding in a press release Tuesday morning. The money was expected but was delayed, according to the Democratic It is. John HickenlooperOffice.

“We have made one of the greatest public health surveillance efforts in our state’s history,” he said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Denver. “This funding will help Governor Polis and our local health officials meet Coloradans’ testing requirements as we continue to fight this virus and reopen our economy.”

Colorado spent approximately $ 349 million in state and federal funds on COVID-19 testing from March to December 2020, according to a Polis spokesperson. FEMA is currently reimbursing 75% to the state and the governor’s office anticipates this will increase under Joe Biden’s new administration.

The state continues to urge Coloradans who need a test to get one. Information on test locations can be found here Here.

Motion clears the way in which for federal cash to assist construct Terrebonne levee system

The Trump administration has cleared the way for federal funds to be spent on a system of dams, sluices and sluices that will protect Terrebonne and part of Lafourche from flooding during hurricanes, officials said today.

US Senator John Kennedy, R-La., Said he had received confirmation from the White House that the Morganza to Gulf hurricane protection system had been labeled “Fresh Start” by the Department of Administration and Budget.

The long-awaited action paves the way for the federal government to spend money on building the system for the first time.

“The people of southern Louisiana worked hard for 13 years to make the Morganza to the Gulf project a reality,” Kennedy said in a press release. “It is both wise and fair for the federal government to get involved and help them complete this crucial project.” Hurricane Protection Initiative.

“I am grateful to the White House and the Trump Administration for recognizing the value of safeguarding lives and property in the Terrebonne community. I am also grateful to the Corps of Engineers for the time and talent they have shown in Morganza invest in golf. “

More:The dike director credits Morganza for keeping Laura’s water out

Reggie Dupre, Terrebonne dyke district manager who is overseeing the construction of Morganza, said the move was an important milestone.

“This is really good news,” Dupre said in an interview tonight. “You will have the opportunity to spend federal money on this massive federal project.”

Congress has approved Morganza as a federal project three times since work on the project began in 1992, but has never provided money. The designation “fresh start” enables the army corps to request and spend money from its budget for Morganza.

Frustrated by delays, the community’s Levee Board began building Morganza, using mostly local sales tax money, after Hurricane Rita flooded an estimated 10,000 homes in Terrebonne in 2005.

So far, the Levee Board has spent $ 506 million to bring Morganza’s levees to their current height of 12 feet. And that doesn’t include the $ 400 million sluice gate on the Houma Navigational Channel, which will begin fines this year. BP and other companies are paying due to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The lockdown is expected to be completed in May 2024.

More:The key part of the Terrebonne storm protection approved for the start of construction

The Levee Board has pushed the interim system in the hopes that the Army Corps will eventually receive the estimated $ 3.2 billion needed to arm itself to protect against what is known as a 100-year storm. It is defined as the type of hurricane that has a 1 percent chance of occurrence in any given year.

Dupre said federal funds and help from the corps with construction are essential to completing this work. Much of the dyke system will be raised to around 20 feet and two massive locks will be built in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, one in Houma and one in Larose.

– Keith Magill, Executive Editor of Courier and Daily Comet, can be reached at 857-2201 or Follow him on Twitter @CourierEditor.