Legislative Update – April 15 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – April 15

With vaccines continuing to roll out, the June 15th date set for potential reopenings, and a Padres’ no-hitter, the possibilities seem endless. Case in point: Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is teasing a possible run for President.

Today also marks a huge vaccine eligibility turning point: all Californians ages 16 and up are now eligible.

Business News

In good news for recent graduates, the job market is on the rise after the pandemic created the worst job market in years. The strength of San Diego’s biotech industry and reopening of the tourism sector is expected to drive new employment opportunities. After cancelling summer internships, Chamber members Viasat were able to offer permanent roles for graduating students.

Legislative Update


Federal:
 

Senator Padilla joined 20 of his colleagues on a letter to President Biden to push for recurring direct payments.

Vaccination is well under way, so when is it safe to not wear a mask? Researchers at 20 universities are conducting a national study with 12,000 college students to learn whether the Moderna vaccine stops transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID 19.

Vaccine trials have also begun for children.  Stanford just began its test of the Pfizer vaccine in kids 5 years and younger. Moderna is beginning a phased trial  for kids under 11.

Clarence the Comfort Dog took hearts by storm after he attended Capitol services for Capitol Officer William Evans. Clarence is a specially trained dog who comforts first responders (and brings joy via social media news).

Pass the SALT. A bipartisan Congressional caucus just stood up to repeal the state and local tax deduction cap of $10k that was passed during the 2017 tax reform, that disproportionately hit Californians.

President Biden released his FY 2022 budget request last Friday, including $753 billion dedicated to national security funding. The budget documents hinted towards addressing China as a primary challenge, an enhanced focus on R&D, prioritizing shipbuilding and addressing climate change as a national security issue. A more detailed version of the budget is expected in May or June.

Senior administration officials have said President Biden plans to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, without conditions. Addressing pushback from within his administration, Biden stated on Wednesday that robust military presence has “never proved effective” and “our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way, US boots on the ground. We have to change that thinking.”

President Biden also announced his intent to nominate key leadership for DHS, including Chris Magnus for Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, and Ur Jaddou for Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The FDA and CDC has called for a temporary pause of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after 6 cases of rare blood clotting. Unexpectedly, the CDC deadlocked on Wednesday during a vote about how to proceed.

International:

According to our partners at the U.S. Chamber’s new Transatlantic Economy 2021 report, the U.S. and Europe continue to enjoy the world’s largest commercial relationship, with over $1.5 trillion worth of trade every year. In addition, there’s $6.5 trillion in two-way investment that supports 16 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mexico is undergoing the first phase of the clinical trials for their own COVID-19 vaccine denominated “Patria”.  If successful, the vaccine could help Mexico and developing nations that have struggled to secure doses from foreign companies so far.

The Biden administration is vetting Ken Salazar, former Colorado senator and Secretary of the Interior under Obama, to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

Roberta Jacobson, who the Chamber worked with during her time as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, stepped down from her role as Coordinator for the Southwest Border. A statement from the National Security Council stated that Vice President Harris will take the lead on the Administration’s efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle.

As we continue to move toward economic recovery, we ask for your input on the financial implications of streamlined cross-border trade processing at land ports of entry for the business sector. Please take a few minutes to respond to an online survey with The George Washington University here.

United by the international border, the cities of San Diego and Tijuana submitted a bid for the 2024 World Design Capital competition. The designation would bring a year-long programme of events in which our region would showcase best practices in sustainable design-led urban policy and innovation. This would be the first binational destination to be recognized, and first U.S. city to make the cut.

In Tijuana, housing demand has exceeded supply causing an 8-10% increase in rent according to the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will host a public scoping meeting on April 20th at 6:00pm as the agency works on an environmental impact statement for a list of 10 projects that would reduce transboundary pollution impacting the Tijuana River Valley in our region. Written comments may be submitted to the EPA by May 20th to Tijuana-Transboundary-EIS@epa.gov.  You can register for the meeting here.

State:

A recent analysis of enrollment data shows that California Community College enrollment has decreased since the start of the pandemic.

The state released updated guidance for indoor seated live events and performances, private events, and restaurants, bars and wineries. Under the orange tier, indoor seated venues can open with live audiences as long as workers are tested weekly, tickets are delivered digitally, and eating is spaced six feet apart. 35% expanded capacity is permitted if guests show either a negative test result or proof of vaccination.

Private events guidance was updated yesterday and goes into effect today. Private events under the orange tier are limited to 100 attendees, and 300 with proof of vaccination. Read more here.

Covered California is reopening sign-ups for its exchange through the end of the year.

Worried about variants? The California Department of Public Health has you covered. You can see their numbers, updated regularly, here.

Big problems getting big money. The Governor signed into law the $563 million wildfire prevention plan today. Also scary: scientists are saying that there is record low moisture in fire-prone areas this year. This is fine. Everything is fine.

Local:

Mayor Todd Gloria has revealed his proposed “Back to Work SD” plan for the fiscal year, aka his budget.

The proposed spending plan focuses on six areas: getting San Diegans back to work, protecting core services and jobs, expanded homelessness efforts, reimaging policing and public safety, and tackling climate change. The budget proposal can be found here.

UC San Diego leaders announce the return to in-person teaching with normal classroom occupancy for the fall 2021 term. The university has incorporated a “Return to Learn” program where faculty and researchers are eligible to use their on-campus research and academic spaces again and student residence halls will go back to original design capacity. The program has been supported by the national expectation that 90% of adults will be vaccinated before the end of August and that all UCSD campus employees and most graduate students have already been offered vaccination appointments.

While we look forward to the end of the tier system in June, we’re still in the orange tier. Here’s what you need to know.

Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove was honored for his historic no-hitter with a mural at his alma mater, Grossmont High School. And since the game last week, fans have been coming in droves to support his parents coffee shop in Alpine. We love when San Diegans #EatShopPlaySD.

Save the date for April 27, when we’ll join Biocom California and Downtown San Diego Partnership to discuss why now is the right time for life science to locate downtown. Register here (it’s free!)

Last week, the County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a set of guiding principles and begin discussions with San Diego Community Power, a community choice aggregator intended to provide clean, renewable energy at competitive rates.

As part of its #ThinkBlueSD campaign, the city of San Diego is conducting a stormwater survey to identify and prioritize future maintenance to enhance public safety and reduce flood risk. You can take the survey here.

San Diego Restaurant Week is happening now until April 18! Check out participating restaurants here.

Looking ahead: The San Diego City Council is considering keeping remote public comment at future council hearings.

The short-term vacation rental policy odyssey has come to a close. After years of almost-compromises and many hours spent at Golden Hall, Mayor Gloria signed the STVR policy that recently passed out of council 8-1.

The County of San Diego is hosting a virtual workshop for the Climate Action Plan Update on April 21st at 6:00 pm. Sign up here.

Upcoming Hearings

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Round SIX of GO-Biz grants opens April 28th. Details here… AND webinars explaining how to apply and how it works here. Round FIVE notifications began April 5th.
  • 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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