Legislative Update – August 26

We have less than one week until our annual Mexico City Summit! Participants will have the opportunity to meet with key federal officials and diverse business industry leaders to discuss border infrastructure, transboundary pollution and trade and economic opportunities. You won’t want to miss the special in-person reception afterwards, outdoors, at Coasterra (Happy hour with an ocean view? We’re there.)

Business News

San Diego’s unemployment rate is still high at 6.9%, even though the region has added over 60,000 jobs this year. The highest job increases were in tourism, hospitality and business services, yet companies are struggling to fill positions. Pandemic related anxiety, school closures and lack of childcare are some of the reasons cited by analysts as to why employees are not returning to work.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced this week the company will give temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees in their properties around the world. Airbnb has been working with the International Rescue Committee, HIAS and Church World Service to quickly provide funding and housing for arriving refugees.

This year has been a roller coaster, and in 2022 we’ll have a real one: SeaWorld announced Wednesday that its new coaster will open in March after delays due to COVID-19.

Legislative Updates


This week, the Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval and Pfizer Inc. announced they will apply for authorization for a third booster shotModerna started a rolling submission of their study data to the FDA in June, one month after Pfizer. Johnson and Johnson has not submitted a request for full approval yet.

Speaker Pelosi notched a major win by getting every democrat to vote in favor of the $3.5 trillion budget plan (note, this is more like an outline at this point) before the infrastructure bill is brought forward. Remember, this was a sticky situation with both bills drawing fire from moderate and more progressive members of the Democratic caucus. The infrastructure bill is slated for a vote in the house on September 27th.

The administration will be working with big tech to improve cybersecurity.  Following some high profile attacks recently, the government is hoping to improve cybersecurity and corresponding infrastructure.


Spotted: Actor and film director Mel Gibson grabbing lunch with Baja governor-elect Marina del Pilar Avila at Tijuana’s iconic 1920s restaurant Caesars. Baja’s emerging film industry is on the rise and looking to play a role in the state’s economic growth.

President Joe Biden appointed the second woman and first Latina to lead the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). Maria-Elena Giner previously served as General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) where she focused on policies that addressed U.S.-Mexico cooperation on water, energy, and climate change.

With thousands of people scrambling to flee Afghanistan, international allies are taking action to help refugees settle around the world. As mentioned above, Airbnb, will provide free housing for 20,000 displaced Afghan refugees and encourages hosts around the world to donate stays at their properties during times of crisis. South of the border, Mexico welcomed a group of Afghan journalists and their families from different newspapers, including the New York Times, along with a group of young women who are part of a renowned robotics group.

You really can’t make this stuff up: Sri Lanka banned ‘drunk driving’ on elephants (yes, that is a thing). After years of reports of animal cruelty, the country rolled out new rules to protect elephants from further exploitation. New measures also prevent baby elephants from working and ensures they are kept with their mothers, as well as the use of elephants in films.

Chamber member Tijuana EDC extends an invitation to join their 2nd Borderless Business Congress taking place October 4 – 9. In partnership with the Chamber and other business organizations, our dynamic binational region will be showcased virtually and onsite, to demonstrate our unique strengths and resources which make us a hub for foreign direct investment across industries.


The “golden state stimulus” is going to start hitting bank accounts this week. These tax rebates, targeted for individuals making $75k or less, have three different rounds to provide direct monetary relief.

We’re in the last three weeks of the legislative session and legislators have made progress on the following noteworthy housing bills: Chamber-supported SB 10 (Wiener), a bill that would enable local jurisdictions to streamline the approval process of lots up to 10 units in a transit-rich area, passed Assembly 41-9 and is back in the Senate. Chamber-supported SB 9 (Atkins) would rezone parcels within a single-family residential zone to allow creation of ADUs without additional local review. Today, it passed Assembly 44-16 and is headed back to the Senate.

California lawmakers are considering putting forward a bill that would require all California residents to provide proof of vaccination to enter many indoor facilities including restaurants, hotels, spas, sports arenas, etc. as well as requiring businesses to ask their employees to get the shot or do weekly testing. The introduction of the proposal and timeline is still unclear, but a decision is expected in the coming days.

Proposition 22, the initiative to carve out a mechanism for the gig-economy to continue on, was declared unconstitutional in court. It’s likely that an appeal is coming from industry, and ultimately the issue could end up before the California Supreme Court. In the meantime though, What does that mean for now? TBD while an interim ruling comes from the judge.


2021, we had such high hopes for you. As COVID cases continue to stay alarmingly high, the County is recommending masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Last Friday, the City of San Diego officially launched the construction of Pure Water, a phased multiyear infrastructure project that will provide almost half of the needed water supply to San Diego by 2035, reducing the need for imported water in the future. Mayor Todd Gloria, state, and federal leaders celebrated the historic occasion at the North City Water Reclamation Plant in the University City neighborhood.

The Asian Business Association is launching a survey project to get feedback from over 7,000 API business owners in San Diego, Chula Vista and National City on the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey will address issues API business owners face related to employee retention, financial assistance and hate crimes.

The County and City are partnering together to create harm reduction shelters to address homelessness in the region. The “safe havens” are designed to help those with substance addictions by providing specialized services in a smaller setting than bridge shelters.

This week, local officials took the first trip on the new UC San Diego Blue Line trolley extension. The full line will open to the public in November, connecting the US/Mexico border to north UTC. On Saturday, SANDAG and MTS will be hosting the “Mid-Coast on Morena Community Appreciation Festival” where attendees can ride the trolley before it opens this Fall.

Upcoming Hearings

  • The County Board of Supervisors will meet on August 31 & September 1.
  • The San Diego City Council will be in summer recess until September 13.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The City of San Diego in partnership with The San Diego Foundation is offering the Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund. Applications will be accepted until September 24 at 5 pm. Grants are not first come first serve, and all applications will be reviewed after September 24.
  • The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in California or stay and grow in California. Businesses of any industry, size or location are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted from July 26, 2021 – August 16, 2021 for the first period.
  • 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 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.