California lawmakers travel to Hawaii despite COVID-19 surge and travel advisory

A nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases and a statewide travel advisory didn’t stop a group of California lawmakers from flying to Hawaii for a four-day conference this week.

The annual policy conference hosted by the Independent Voter Project, a San Diego-based nonprofit group, has fewer people attending this year, but according to Politico, about 100 lawmakers and lobbyists from multiple states still made the trip to Maui.

The Los Angeles Times didn’t name the California legislators in attendance but confirmed about a half dozen are there (although the paper also puts the total number of attendees closer to 50).

The Fairmont Kea Lani, the luxury Wailea resort hosting the summit, told the Sacramento Bee that guests had to show proof of a negative test result before attending.

Dan Howle, the chairman of the Independent Voter Project, told the Bee that attendees are following the rules and wearing masks on the hotel grounds.

“Nobody has been walking around without masks,” he said. “They’re not complaining about it. Of course, they’re in Maui.”

This news comes as California has seen new cases double in the past 10 days and Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a travel advisory Friday urging against nonessential travel and recommending quarantines for those who do travel between states and internationally.

Newsom is asking out-of-state travelers to California and residents who leave and then return home to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Hawaii also has strict rules for travelers, requiring either a 14-day quarantine or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours.

The Hawaii trip also comes after Newsom drew criticism for attending a birthday party with members outside his household at the French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley.

Newsom said at a Monday press conference attending the party was a mistake and more people were at the event than he expected.

“I need to preach and practice,” he said. “We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes. I shouldn’t have been there. I should have turned back around. You got to pay the price. You have to own it. This isn’t a practice I’ve indulged in in the past.”

The Independent Voter Project wasn’t immediately available for comment. SFGATE will update the story if we hear back.

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