Legislative Update – April 1 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – April 1

Back in 1582, France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, which started the new year on January 1 instead of April 1. People who mixed up the dates were called “April fools”, and now we have a day in honor of pranking each other. The more you know.

Today is the day! Petco Park reopens, welcoming fans in person for the first game of the 2021 season as the Padres host the Arizona Diamondbacks. Feel free to insert your favorite snide remark about how we don’t like the visitors and wish them nothing but doom, gloom and despair. Go Pads!

As we gear up to return to in person learning in San Diego, some teachers in Oakland have used the “zombie walk” to help students social distance.

Business News

Don’t call it a comeback: Comic-Con has announced “Comic-Con Special Edition”, which will be an in person event November 26-28.

Beginning April 9,  San Diego will service nonstop jet flights to Las Vegas from its Signature Flight Support terminal. A private jet experience for $99 (with drinks and gourmet snacks)? Sign us up.

Commercial space in San Diego could stay hot. CBRE announced San Diego ranked #17 out of the top 20 metros for commercial real estate investors in 2021.

The PPP deadline has been extended to May 31. Don’t wait to apply!

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant opens next week on April 8. The SBDC is holding two sessions TODAY to learn more about how to apply.

Cubic’s Nuvotronics received a $10 million DoD contract to support their “5G to Next G” Program, which will improve wireless communications in the military.

A recent Marijuana Business Daily article found that more women are entering the cannabis market, making up 33.6% of buyers in a survey of 4 states.

The Old Globe announced a two-year residency program for artists of color.

Illumina has announced they will oppose the FTC and proceed with its acquisition of GRAIL, which works on early cancer screenings. Earlier this week, the FTC filed to block the $7.1 billion deal, arguing that the vertical merger would limit innovation in the market for early detection cancer tests.

Legislative Update

Federal: 

The Senate has confirmed Marty Walsh as the Secretary of Labor. For those of you tracking, the administration is pushing along at a brisk pace for getting its nominees confirmed. However, there’s some rumbles from the Pentagon that the military side of things isn’t moving quickly enough.

The CDC has extended the eviction moratorium through June.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is rescinding some of its COVID policies, and is returning to stricter enforcement.

Borrowers whose student loans have defaulted will get some relief. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced that the one million individuals won’t go into collections for federally guaranteed student loans.

Ready, set, lobby: Yesterday, President Biden unveiled the American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion proposal which hopes to create more jobs and rebuild infrastructure over eight years. The plan would be funded by a 28% corporate tax rate, which was cause for Senate Republicans to quickly declare their opposition.

International:

Victim of the urge to become a YouTube influencer, an Italian mafia fugitive was arrested in the Dominican Republic after the police found his online cooking channel. Sadly, his videos and recipes are no longer available.

In great COVID-19 news for the state of Baja, Tijuana broke the national record and vaccinated over 45,600 people in only 2 days. Vaccine superstations and other designated sites continue to operate. In anticipation of the Easter holidays, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a message urging border communities to refrain from non-essential travel. An update on Baja’s confirmed COVID-19 cases and efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus is shared daily by Baja Governor Jaime Bonilla through official social media accounts (Twitter | Facebook).

Tijuana Mayor Karla Ruiz shared a report of her first 60 days in office, which included funding for over 100 community projects across the city, efforts to increase public safety through new infrastructure and enhanced enforcement, and 37 day clinics.

How do you say “woof” in Russian? We don’t know either. But, Russia announced the first COVID vaccine for dogs. If you love pups by the way, the White House is hiring for a Presidential Dog Trainer (be sure to read that to the end!).

In election news, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA, President Lopez Obrador’s political party) announced its candidates for municipal elections in Baja: Montserrat Caballero for the City of Tijuana; Norma Bustamante for the City of Mexicali; Dario Benitez for the City of Tecate; and Armando Ayala and Araceli Brown, who will seek reelection for Ensenada and Rosarito, respectively. For the governor race, Mexicali Mayor Marina del Pilar and former Tijuana Mayor and businessman Jorge Hank Rhon continue to lead the charts. Elections will take place on June 6.

State:

Reminder: The 79th Assembly District special primary election is on April 6. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, a runoff will be held on June 8.  The Chamber has endorsed Dr. Akilah Weber, current La Mesa City Councilmember, in the race.  If you have a mail-in ballot, learn where to drop it off here.

The majority of Californians are hopeful about the end of the pandemic. A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 74% of residents agree the worst of the pandemic is over, compared to only 58% back in January. (Wear. Your. Mask.)

Assemblyman Ramos announced the formation of the California Native American Legislative Caucus, the first of its kind. On Twitter, he outlined the caucus’ focus on “educating the Legislature and Californians about Native American culture, history and ensure inclusion of the state’s First People on policy issues shaping the state.”

The California Air Resources Board is asking for feedback from businesses about how AB 32 has impacted them. As you know, these opportunities to provide real information for regulators are CRITICAL. Take the short survey here.

Today, updated state guidance for live events and performances goes into effect. Read it here.

Local:

Action Alert: Measure C will return to City Council on April 6th. You may remember the Chamber-supported initiative to expand our convention center, improve roads, and fund homelessness programs that was on the ballot pre-Covid that just narrowly missed garnering ⅔ of the vote. However, following recent court actions, the measure likely only needs a simple majority which it most certainly enjoyed. We need to make sure our Councilmembers hear the need for the approval of this measure loud and clear: it’s never been a more critical time. You can see the full Council agenda here.

Also in Council agenda news: Councilmember Stephen Whitburn is bringing forward a proposal to defer fees and assessments for police regulated occupations and businesses, which comes at an important point as many employers are surveying their options as we inch toward recovery.

We are still in the red tier this week. As of Tuesday, the state had administered 3.4 million doses to individuals living in the Vaccine Equity Quartile, with the 4 million target expected to be reached later this week. Once the 4 million target is reached, the orange tier parameter will be loosened from 3.9 cases per 100,000 to 5.9 cases per 100,000. San Diego needs 3 weeks of qualifying metrics, so we can expect a move to the orange tier on April 7.

As of today, those older than 50 will be eligible for vaccination. Everyone else, get ready to make those appointments April 15! Our team has had some success with the San Diego vaccine Twitter bot.

The San Diego Loyal Soccer Club partnered with the Chicano Federation this week to celebrate Cesar Chavez day with a mural and succulent garden in Shelltown.

Unemployment in San Diego has dropped to 7.2%, compared to 8.1% last month.

Home prices in San Diego broke records last month with a median price of $672,750.

Calling Supervisorial District 4 Residents: the County’s Law Enforcement Review Board has a vacancy. (Also, not that we’re saying you didn’t know where District 4 is, but… it’s La Mesa, most of downtown, Kearny Mesa…. Map here).

The City’s Get it Done app has a few new updates which include allowing users to submit reports in Spanish and viewing nearby requests from others.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend and ride the recently renamed Greg Cox San Diego Bayshore Bikeway! The route can be found here.

Scooters are back in San Diego, with six companies now authorized to operate in a competitive local market. Back in 2019, City Council approved initial regulations for shared mobility devices. Councilmember Marni Von Wilpert has said she will bring the issue back to council this year to improve safety regulations and promote equitable access across communities in San Diego. Meanwhile, illegal scooter impoundments have companies asking for help from authorities.

Upcoming Hearings

  • San Diego City Council will meet on April 6
  • City of San Diego Planning Commission will meet on April 8 (agenda not yet available as of 4/1)
  • County Board of Supervisors will meet on April 6 & 7 (agenda not yet available as of 4/1)
  • State Legislature will be in legislative recess upon adjournment of session beginning March 25-April 4

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Round FIVE of GO-Biz grants opens TODAY. Details here… AND webinars explaining how to apply and how it works here.
  • The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides assistance for eligible expenses to businesses in the City of San Diego and City of Chula VIsta impacted by the pandemic.
  • The San Diego Housing Commission, along with the assistance of many Community Based Organizations, is administering the City of San Diego’s 2021 COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program is open as of March 15, 2021.
  • Apply for your first or second PPP Loan now! Learn more here.
  • City of Oceanside COVID-19 small business grant program: Small businesses able to demonstrate a loss in profit caused by the COVID crisis can qualify for a grant of $1,000 to $7,5000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is accepting applications for a small business hiring credit against California state income taxes or sales and use taxes. The credit (authorized by SB 1447) is available to certain California qualified small business employers that receive a tentative credit reservation. Learn more here.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is accepting additional applications. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 100 full-time employees and are following sectors (restaurant, gym fitness center, yoga studio, movie theater, museum, zoo, or aquarium) that were impacted by moving from the Red to Purple Tier OR part of the event industry. Learn more and apply here.
  • City of San Diego Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit – Businesses (restaurants, retail stores, gyms, hair salons, nail salons) can now expand into the public right-of-way, parking lots, and public spaces. Information on how to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Business Operations Permit can be found here.
  • Businesses can reach out to their nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which has developed the Small Business Survival Resources Guide to help business owners navigate through the chaos COVID-19 is having on our communities. SBDC can help with applying for 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.
  • The State Treasurer’s Office has published this list of Federal, State, Local, Private, and Non-profit resources available to small businesses.
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