Welcome to the Thursday, August 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- One year ago, Trump administration announced $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to develop 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
- Supporters file initiative in Massachusetts to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors
- California Republican Party votes to not endorse a candidate in Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom
One year ago, Trump administration announced $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to develop 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
One year ago this week, President Donald Trump’s (R) administration, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD), announced a $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna Inc. to develop and deliver 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. This was the third vaccine deal announced last year.
Here are noteworthy events in the development of vaccines from last year:
- May 15, 2020: Trump announced the creation of Operation Warp Speed, an administration task force launched to help develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Trump named Moncef Slaoui as the task force’s chief scientist and U.S. Army General Gustave Perna as its chief operating officer.
- July 22: Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech announced they had reached a $1.95 billion deal with the HHS and DOD to supply 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to the federal government by the end of 2020.
- Aug. 4: The HHS and DOD announced a $2.1 billion deal with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to supply 100 million doses of a vaccine for the United States.
- Aug. 11: The Trump administration announced a $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to supply 100 million doses of a vaccine.
- Aug. 14: The HHS and DOD announced a partnership with healthcare company McKesson Corp. to help distribute a vaccine when one became available.
- Sept. 16: The Trump administration released its vaccine distribution strategy, including guidance for working with states, tribes, territories, and local public health programs to distribute a vaccine when it became available.
- Nov. 20: Pfizer announced it had applied for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its vaccine.
- Nov. 30: Moderna announced it had also applied for an emergency use authorization from the FDA.
- Dec. 11: The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine.
- Dec. 18: The FDA granted emergency use authorization to Moderna’s vaccine.
For a full timeline of federal activity in response to the pandemic, including major legislation, executive actions, and department policies under both the Trump and Biden administrations, click Keep reading below.
For the latest news on government responses to the pandemic, including mask and vaccine requirements, subscribe to the free, twice-weekly, Documenting America’s Path to Recovery newsletter here.
Supporters file initiative in Massachusetts to classify app-based drivers as independent contractors
Proponents of a Massachusetts ballot initiative that would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors and enact related labor and wage policies filed two versions of such a measure with the state attorney general’s office on Aug. 4.
The Massachusetts App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative would:
- define app-based drivers as independent contractors,
- set a guaranteed earnings floor that would be equal to $18 per hour in 2023, excluding tips,
- require paid occupational safety training program requirements and earned paid sick leave,
- require a healthcare stipend for workers who meet weekly hour requirements, and
- require occupational accident and accidental death insurance.
The initiative is similar to California Proposition 22, which voters approved last year, 59% to 41%. That measure defined app-based transportation and delivery drivers as independent contractors, overriding a 2019 state law governing how to determine if a worker was an employee. It also adopted labor and wage policies specific to app-based drivers and companies. Proposition 22 was the most expensive ballot measure campaign in California history, with supporters such as Uber, Doordash, Lyft, InstaCart, and Postmates raising $205.4 million. Opponents, including the Service Employees International Union and International Brotherhood of Teamsters, raised $18.9 million.
In Massachusetts, the attorney general’s office must approve an initiative to ensure it complies with the state’s single-subject rule before proponents can gather signatures. After that, the petition is sent to the secretary of the commonwealth, where it receives a summary that is included on the official petition form for circulation. If supporters gather and submit 80,239 signatures—3 percent of the votes cast for governor—by Nov. 17, the measure goes to the state legislature which may approve it as a state statute. If the legislature rejects the measure or fails to act, supporters can collect more signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.
California Republican Party votes to not endorse a candidate in Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom
The Republican Party of California voted on Aug. 7 not to endorse a candidate in the Sept. 14 recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). During a virtual party meeting, about 90% of delegates voted against making an endorsement. Party chair Jessica Millan Patterson supported the no endorsement motion amid concerns that backing one candidate would decrease turnout among supporters of other candidates, according to Politico.
Also last week, the California Secretary of State’s office released summary campaign finance data through July 31. See the chart below and click Keep reading for the numbers.
Lastly, we’re holding a briefing on Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. Central Time to explore recall news, outline how the recall election will work, and compare it to the last (2003!) recall. Click here to register, and if you can’t attend the live, we’ll email you a link to watch when it’s over.