Legislative Update – December 2

We hope you had a calm Black Friday, an expensive Small Business Saturday, an internet-riffic Cyber Monday, a generous Giving Tuesday and find yourself here, on Reading Thursday. (We had to try, we are sorry).

But seriously, we are now beginning our descent into holiday times in 2021. We thank you for choosing the San Diego Regional Chamber for your sometimes-funny news updates, as we know you probably have other, albeit less entertaining, choices.

And if you just can’t wait to see your Chamber friends in person, don’t miss the Tribute Awards on Tuesday, December 7th. It’s our annual event to recognize and celebrate our incredible cross-border region and it’s going to be great.

Business News

Special thanks to our sponsors Manpower: We are hiring all skill sets from Production Workers, Call Center Reps through to Engineers and Programmers! Don’t hesitate to refer anyone who is looking for work to Manpower.  Click here to apply today!

Santa is going to be late this year. Warehouses in the Inland Empire are a critical final step in the US supply chain, and warehouse vacancies have dropped to a historic low of 0.7%. Between backlogs at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and limited space in IE warehouses, consumer wait times have spiked just in time for the holidays.

Qualcomm has announced their latest chip: the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. ​​The new chip promises to deliver extreme performance and efficiency in computing with “60 percent greater performance per watt over the competitive x86 platform.” We’d be lying if we claimed to truly understand all that but suffice it to say it’s the best, most robust chip they’ve ever created, and that’s saying something.

San Diego Habitat for Humanity has a new CEO! Congratulations to Kwofi Fafa Reed who will officially start on December 6.

Legislative Updates


Tomorrow, the government could shut down. Years ago, that would have been a pretty big “whoa” thing to say. But in current times, we’re getting rather used to the  will they, won’t they game in DC. Most signs point to they will fund the government, via a stopgap measure that will carry us through February (when we’ll probably just copy and paste that earlier sentence, seriously) at which point maybe there will be a longer-term agreement. It doesn’t look like the short-term funding solution does much differently, but it does set aside funds to evacuate refugees from Afghanistan. Some Republican Senators are giving big thumbs down vibes saying they can’t get behind anything until the President backs off his vaccine mandate. The President, deciding to really just get out there and tempt fate has said, “…unless someone decides to be totally erratic, I don’t think that (shutdown) will happen.” KNOCK ON WOOD, MAN.

C’mon, Senate! You’re this close to passing SALT reform. As we’ve reported, and as you’ve read because you’re a diligent newsletter reader, Congress passed the spending plan that included the SALT reform that California generally wants. Senate leaders met on Tuesday about the idea of raising the cap from its existing $10k to $80k.

Pro tip: Any time you see “DARPA” in the headline, click it. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, aka the place where a lot of really weird and sometimes scary things are developed, has announced it will begin the DOD’s first in-space manufacturing research program. In. Space.

NDAA most likely won’t pass until next year. The Senate voted on Monday 41-51 to end debate on the bill, which needed 60 ayes to move into final passage. Negotiations will continue to determine which and how many amendments will be considered. Next, the Senate needs to pass their version of the bill, then both houses need to go into conference before passing the final bill.

Things are so challenging that even American hero Sully, the pilot who landed a plane in a river, has had his confirmation hearing to be the US Ambassador to the ICAO held up since June.

In what might be the opposite of good news, remember how we told you about the birds that were found to be able to procreate without sex? Well, it was announced this week that there are robots that are able to reproduce. This is fine, everything is fine.


A reminder that things could be worse: a snowstorm trapped 50 people inside a remote pub in northern England for a few days. They did however get to pass the time by playing board games and eating roast dinner. On second thought, that doesn’t sound too bad at all. Their main concern was running out of sausages.

Japan announced that they will suspend entry of all foreign visitors from around the world as the new Omicron coronavirus variant spreads. The variant was identified by researchers in South Africa days before the first case was confirmed in the United States (that was in California…Yikes!!).

Barbados has officially become the world’s newest republic! In an overnight ceremony, Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as president and officially removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The Prince of Wales and Barbadian singer Rihanna attended the event, which coincided with the country’s 55th anniversary of independence.

United States Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar was present at the Second Meeting of Governors of the Southeastern States of Mexico along with other American companies from the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico. The meeting focused on three points that demonstrate the commitment of the United States Government with the Mexican southeast on infrastructure, environmental conservation and development of the digital economy to open endless opportunities for families from the south, generate development and create jobs.

American and Canadian truck drivers crossing into Canada will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid by January 15, 2022. Truck drivers were previously classified as essential workers and exempt from crossing restrictions that were in place for “non-essential” travelers. The US is  also expected to announce that starting January 22, nonresident travelers crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers, government and emergency response officials, will be required to be fully vaccinated. The vaccine mandate will not apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents re-entering the U.S.

The North American Development Bank (NADB) will host an online public meeting of its Board of Directors tomorrow at 11:30an. This meeting will allow participants to exchange information about NADBank’s work and environmental projects and issues impacting our region. The Chamber recently issued a letter of support for the expansion of projects this institution can finance along our border including sustainable energy and water infrastructure projects.


Musical chairs continued…Governor Newsom has appointed Assemblymember Ed Chau as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. In addition, as lines continue to be redrawn, a few state legislators have announced they plan to run for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nightmare before Christmas, anyone? The state has rolled out a list of toxic sites (400, to be more precise) that are at risk of flooding due to sea level rise. And, yes, San Diego made the list. Even if your neighborhood isn’t here, you can bet that this resource will likely influence policy going forward at the state and local levels.

For veteran state-spectators, projects coming in over budget is about as dependable as the whole wash-your-car-and-it-rains thing that we all love. Example #77735165: the state’s capitol annex (aka the weird building attached to the capitol building where the offices are), is being completely renovated to the tune of $1.3 billion, a good chunk higher than original projections.

In 2018, California passed legislation to require publicly held companies to increase the number of women serving on their boards. Lawsuits promptly followed. Yesterday, the trial finally kicked off, alleging that the law is sex discrimination.


The omicron variant has been reported in the US, but cases from the new variant have not yet been reported in San Diego. The county health department stated that with limited information on the new variant, public health recommendations will remain the same: masking indoors, vaccinations, and good hygiene.

UC San Diego is preparing to detect the new variant as early as possible. The university has been using wastewater detection methods to identify coronavirus earlier than typical COVID-19 testing, and is now using the same technology to find early Omicron cases. How can they tell the difference between variants? The omicron variant has a deletion in the spike protein gene.

At a special hearing, the San Diego City Council voted 8-1 to approve an emergency ordinance mandating vaccines for City employees.

The City of San Diego’s DSD issued a public notice that the annual user fee increase will go up to 6.1% in 2022. Projects submitted by December 31, 2021 will not be subject to the increase.

Speaking of DSD, the department has launched their new program to apply for a discretionary permit online. To help customers learn more about this latest feature, they’ll be hosting webinars every Wednesday during the month of December. Learn more about meeting dates and find recordings of previous webinars here.

Stocking stuffing season is upon us, so make sure you’re up to speed with the latest street vending rules and regulations – set to be confirmed on December 14 by the San Diego City Council.

San Diego State University will expand their Steps to Family Child Care Program (STEPS), which focuses on supporting business licensing for culturally and linguistically responsive child care services. A new $245,000 grant from the Blue Shield Foundation will allow SDSU and nonprofit partners to expand into Afghan and Iraqi communities in El Cajon.

Home price appreciation is slowing down in San Diego. Although housing prices are still strong, the rate of price increases is slowly declining. San Diego is now tied for third place with Miami, Dallas and Las Vegas for the top three housing markets in the nation.

SANDAG will present their proposed final 2021 regional plan and EIR on December 10. The draft Regional Plan must be updated every 4 years and is key to how the San Diego region will grow and get around in the future. 

Next week, the San Diego City Council will proclaim December 7th Barbara Ryan and Dennis Dubard Day for their years of service to the San Diego region in their respective fields. We will miss you both here at the Chamber!

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The County is hosting a public engagement workshop on December 6 to receive input on the North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP). Staff will be presenting their revised direction by the Board to develop a draft plan that aims to balance biological diversity and urban growth.
  • The Board of Supervisors will receive an update on the Palomar Airport Master Plan and its Program Environmental Impact Report on December 8.
  • The draft roadmap for the County’s new Office of Environmental and Climate Justice is available for public review and comments can be submitted by December 13. The office will focus on reducing health hazards in the region.
  • The Planning Commission will hear an update on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on December 10. The Chamber continues to monitor how changes to the current policy and potential mitigation options could affect future development in the County. If you have any questions, please contact Angeli Calinog.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

Upcoming Hearings

  • The San Diego City Planning Commission will meet on December 2.
  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on December 3.
  • The San Diego City Council will meet on December 6 and December 7.
  • The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will meet on December 7 and December 8.
  • The San Diego City Council’s Land Use & Housing Committee will meet on December 9.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The California Competes Grant guidelines for FY 2021-22 have now been posted. The application period will start on January 3, 2022 with $120 million available. More information can be found here in the coming weeks. Applications must be submitted by January 24.
  • 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.