Late Monday night, the California Legislature voted to suspend its work until April 13th due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to Alex Vassar, an unofficial legislative historian at the California State Library, this is the first such closure in 158 years.
The unanimous decision came just a few hours after lawmakers in both houses approved up to $1 billion in new spending to combat the outbreak. Lawmakers over 65, who are most at-risk for COVID-19 complications, were granted permission to miss the session.
The approved funding allows Governor Gavin Newsom to spend up to $500 million immediately for any purpose related to the declaration of emergency that he issued earlier this month. Newsom can increase that spending in $50 million increments, up to the full billion, to support hospitals, local governments and schools during the crisis.