January 19 – Legislative Updates

We are celebrating the return to sunshine, and almost Lunar New Year! This year, Lunar New Year begins on January 22 and you can learn about how San Diego is celebrating here.

Friendly reminder that our annual dinner, the big, huge, network-extravaganza one, is on February 9th and you definitely want to be there.


Business Updates:

Relief is here! The California Arrearage Payment Program (CAPP) has erased over $51.3 Million in Overdue SDG&E utility bills. If you need additional help, SDG&E can connect you with other utility relief programs available.

Should the U.S. subsidize chip making? A handful of Chamber members shared their opinions with the Union Tribune.

Chamber member, Viasat, is set to bring Wi-Fi to the skies on Delta Airlines starting February 1st!


Legislative Updates


This week, Mayor Gloria was over in Washington at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) 91st Winter Meeting. He was a keynote speaker and delivered a few remarks to the conference on hate and extremism in cities and what mayors can do to combat them and the federal strategic plan to reduce homelessness.

Guess who’s back, back again… Our main man Manchin! Even though the administration says it’s not giving on the debt limit, Manchin’s in the mix though referencing his pitch on a “supercommittee” to talk about things like Social Security which end up making people really nervous when you mention the federal government is running out of money. No pressure, guys!



U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar signed an MOU with Mexican Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma to strengthen protections for individuals participating in temporary foreign worker programs. The protections include improved working conditions, preventing discrimination, establishing fair recruitment processes and facilitating quality agricultural and non-agricultural employment.

Secretary of State Blinken met with his British counterpart this week, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to deepen diplomatic, trade and security ties and to encourage international cooperation and support for Ukraine as they approach the second year of the conflict.

Who’s also standing up to Russia? Germany’s Finance Minister assured that the country has completely diversified its energy infrastructure since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Russia turned off gas taps to Europe which raised concern for blackouts this winter, but Germany looked at the global market for its energy imports. They also built a new liquefied natural gas terminal and are planning to change energy policies and increase investment nationwide.

President Lopez Obrador signed an executive order to implement tobacco use control across the country sparking controversy and discussion on the potential impact to the industry and economy. The order prohibits advertising on media (TV, printed, social) and at point of purchase. In addition, strict restrictions are being implemented to ban designated smoking areas at public outdoor spaces such as beaches, parks, bars and restaurants. Supporters have highlighted the growing health impact of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Italy’s most-wanted Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested in Sicily after 30 years on the run. His mistake? Just going to the doctor. The boss of the notorious Cosa Nostra Mafia was detained in a private clinic in Palermo where he was receiving treatment for cancer. Authorities assured he will continue to get treatment though.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her plans to leave office. Arden shared at her party’s annual caucus that “it’s time” for her to move on and that she “no longer had enough in the tank” for her premiership and called for a general election on Oct. 14.



A part of the Governor’s budget that gained a lot of attention this week: his proposal to partially plug the deficit by cutting previously proposed payments to unemployment insurance and the feds. The short version is that we owe the feds a good chunk of change because we (state) borrowed from them during the pandemic when there was a surge in the need for unemployment benefits. And now, we’ve gotta pay them back, which was part of the earlier proposal. Newsom’s rollback of that has employers nervous that this means they’ll also be seeing a bill in the near future.

Just because it’s proposed though, doesn’t mean this is how it goes. Members of the California Senate were pretty clear in their disappointment with some of the budget broadly. Cutting public transportation money was met with fire from Sen. Weiner. Not adding more money for CARE Court implementation had new Senator Menjivar upset. Senator Laird had a rather timely complaint: are you seriously going to cut spending for coastal protection and planning by 43% in the middle of this extreme weather?

Good luck to all.

The atmospheric river has created extremely dangerous conditions across the State with at least 17 lives lost due to mudslides and flooding. On Wednesday, President Biden added the three counties of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara to the major disaster emergency declaration that was approved last week.

After nearly three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, California’s State COVID testing sites have begun to close down as rates continue to decline. The budget for COVID-19 emergency response has decreased from $1.8 billion in 2022 to $176.6 million in 2023.



San Diego has once again been named a top U.S. travel destination by Tripadvisor for 2023, coming in at #16 on the list (but #1 in our hearts).

It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to the economy… On Wednesday, experts at the 39th Annual Economic Roundtable shared their perspective on San Diego’s economic resilience. We may actually fare better than other metropolitan areas because of our diversified economy.

The City of San Diego requests public input on a pilot program for shuttle services from the Balboa Transit Station to the Pacific Beach community. The shuttle hopes to launch this summer, so take that survey now!

Next week, the San Diego City Council will hear two items related to housing. The first will be an informational report from the IBA on ways to create more homes by improving city processes and administrative practices. In addition, the Council will vote on Council President Elo-Rivera’s updated resolution declaring housing is a human right in the City – currently supported by Councilmembers Montgomery Steppe, LaCava, and Campillo.

Congratulations to Supervisor Nora Vargas for being elected Chair of the SANDAG Board of Directors, and Council President Sean Elo-Rivera for being elected as Vice Chair!

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will be visiting San Diego this weekend to christen the U.S. Naval Ship Earl Warren, named for the late Supreme Court chief justice who championed civil rights expansion.


Upcoming Hearings & Public Input Opportunities

  • The San Diego City Council will next meet on January 23 and January 24.
  • The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will next meet on January 24 and January 25.
  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on January 27.
  • The County of San Diego will be holding public outreach events in each supervisorial district in January on the progress of their proposed local climate solutions, which includes projects like the regional decarbonization framework. Event details can be found here.
  • The County of San Diego’s 2023 Housing Zoning Ordinance Update, which aligns their current regulations with new state housing laws,  is out for public review. Public comment is due by February 13.



Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • San Diego County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant funds are still available for local small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic. County Districts 1, 2, and 3 are still accepting applications. Learn more here.
  • Small business owners may currently receive $2,000 per employee that participates in the paid family leave program. Small business owners can apply here.
  • Businesses can reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide. SBDC can help with applying for COVID-19 relief, guiding you through available resources, and assisting with cash flow concerns, supply-chain interruptions, workforce capacity, insurance coverage, and more–all at no cost!


Future Chamber Meetings (Virtual) & Committee Actions:

Chamber Summit

We will be welcoming business groups, chambers, and business improvement districts from across the region to share best practices and learn about pressing policy priorities in our region on January 23 from 2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Featured Speakers Include:

  • Paloma Aguirre, Mayor, City of Imperial Beach
  • Dike Anyiwo, Senior Government Relations Officer, SANDAG
  • Steve Lockett, Deputy Director, San Diego County’s Economic Development & Government Affairs Office
  • Ed Othmer, California Stormwater Sector Lead, Stantec

Sustainability & Industry Committee:

Our next meeting will be on February 2, 8:00am via zoom.

Health Committee:

Our next meeting will be on February 8 at 8:00am. Hybrid meeting option TBD.

Cannabis Working Group Forum:

Our next meeting will be on February 15, 9:00am via zoom.

Transportation & Land Development Committee:

Our next meeting will be on February 21, at 8:00am. Hybrid meeting option TBD.

Economic Development Strategy Working Group:

Our next meeting will be on February 16, 9:00am via zoom. This is expected to be our final meeting.