Legislative Update – July 1 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – July 1

Business News

The City of San Diego has launched a small business support service in order to support the city’s economic recovery! Through the new Small Business and Restaurant Assistance (SBRA) program, eligible small businesses will be able to receive support in navigating the City’s permitting and planning processes, having construction processes expedited, and expanding/upgrading their operations. Many small businesses and restaurants which have under 25 employees will qualify for the program.

A McKinsey survey found that workers are split between full remote work, fully in person, or somewhere in between. We’ve mastered WFH over the past year, but hybrid workplaces are new territory. Check out this WSJ piece on navigating the new hybrid office.

Legislative Update


Federal:
 

The House Appropriations Committee is continuing to work towards markups of two military spending bills, with a Pentagon spending bill set to be reviewed by the House Defense Appropriations sub-panel on June 30th. The Committee will mark up further legislation concerning veterans funding and military construction that same day, with $10.9 billion to be put aside toward Pentagon infrastructure projects. Last Friday the legislation passed through a subcommittee with relative ease, although top Republicans expressed opposition.

Two bills aiming to bolster American  technology research with challenging China’s influence in mind are expected to reach the floor this week – HR 2225 and HR 3593 – both of which would dedicate $128 billion into national labs and the office of science.

It’s impossible to write about the possible infrastructure deal in advance and expect it to still be right when we push send on Thursday. But- as of now it looks like there’s still, maybe, a deal there. Check out this article with coverage on how our own Rep. Peters is thinking about it.

International:

Happy Canada Day, eh? In news from the northern border, Canada estimates that 75 percent of eligible individuals will be fully vaccinated by July 21. As the country’s case rates and hospitalizations continue to decline, federal authorities decided to loosen border restrictions on eligible travelers starting July 5. As part of this first phase to ease border restrictions, travelers must also electronically submit COVID-19 related information into the ArriveCAN app.

July 1st also marks the first anniversary of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), one of the largest and most significant trade agreements and a key component of the North American partnership.

Last week, Mayors Todd Gloria (San Diego), Alejandra Sotelo-Solis (National City), Serge Dedina (Imperial Beach), and Supervisor Nora Vargas joined at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to urge the administration to lift travel restrictions impacting land ports of entry. President Lopez Obrador stated he is in talks with the U.S. federal government to lift restrictions starting with the Cali-Baja region, following the distribution of 1.2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine amongst individuals aged 18-39 across Baja.

California and Mexico signed an MOU reiterating their commitment to ensure the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry (Otay 2) is up and running by 2024. This project will contribute to significant economic growth for our region and stimulate cross-border trade by providing secure, reliable, and predictable crossings with a goal of wait times no longer than 20 minutes. Read more about it in SANDAG’s twitter thread.

Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized the recreational use of cannabis. This decision comes after Congress failed to pass a law to regulate recreational cannabis back in April. Adults can now apply for permits to grow and consume cannabis.

President Lopez Obrador broadcasted his third State of the Union address this morning and shared the status of Mexico’s recovery from the health and economic crisis brought by the pandemic. You can watch the recording here.

Our friends over at the MAPLE Business Council invited the international business community to share their efforts on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Get inspired and learn more about their work here.

The North American Development Bank (NADB) is now receiving proposals for projects in the Arizona/Sonora and California/Baja California border regions. Eligible projects must meet the EPA’s Border 2025 U.S.-MX Environmental Program goal of protecting the environment and public health in the border region.  Informational webinars will be held throughout the application period which ends August 2.

State:

State leaders have officially agreed to extend CA’s eviction moratorium to September 30. Furthermore, the state has committed to cover 100% of the back rent owed by tenants who have been unable to pay throughout the pandemic.

Governor Newsom has also signed the state’s budget, which includes $600 payments to millions of low and middle income Californians.

Newsom may be making it rain, but his team probably had a very bad night when it became clear that due to an administrative misstep, his party affiliation would not be listed on the ballot in the upcoming recall.

Local:

On Tuesday, the City Council designated June 30 to be Colonel Charles B. Dockery Day in the City of San Diego.

She’s a beaut: the Mid-Coast trolley went live with its first test-run on Tuesday. Full operation is expected by the end of the year.

The City of San Diego’s Planning Department will be holding five public workshops in July to discuss upcoming changes in the 2021 comprehensive land development code update. 49 items total are within this year’s update, which will all be covered at different points across the various workshops. Chamber staff are seeking industry input on the code changes that will be discussed on July 8 and July 9. Email Angeli Calinog your feedback at acalinog@sdchamber.org.

The City of San Diego’s inclusionary in lieu fee for new residential developments increased on July 1, as a part of a five year annual increase approved by the 2019 city ordinance. The applicable square foot charge (to be multiplied by the total square footage of a proposed development) has been increased from $15.18 per square foot to $17.64 per square foot.

The County adopted a $7.23 billion dollar budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, a 10.4% increase over last year’s budget. Budget highlights include:

  • An anticipated allocation of $650 million in ARPA funding focused on economic recovery
  • $226.9 million toward continued response to COVID-19 and health equity measures
  • $283 million set aside for community investments including new fire stations and libraries
  • $813 million to redesign and enhance behavioral health programs and services
  • The creation of a Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities department
  • 1,000 new county positions

The County of San Diego has released updated signage for current face covering guidance, which can be found available in six different languages!

Back in May, Superior Court Judge Richard Whitney declared that the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (SB 330), which aims to address the state’s severe housing shortage by blocking local government policies that restrict further development, was indeed able to override the referendum that overturned the development of the proposed North River Farms project in Oceanside. If Judge Whitney’s ruling is upheld, referendums will become a much less effective means of restricting housing developments. This year, the Chamber supports a related bill (SB 8) which seeks to extend the provisions of SB 330 to 2030.

Our Convention Center is set to welcome back conventions and visitors in August – a welcome return to business following the closures that resulted from the pandemic.

The San Diego International Airport has partnered with San Diego Community Power to soon run on 100% renewable and emissions-free energy!

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve launched a new website dedicated to providing resources to companies that employ Guard and Reserve members.  This includes a free resource guide, information on tax incentives and more.

Upcoming Hearings

  • SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on July 9.
  • The County of San Diego Planning Commission will meet on July 9.
  • San Diego City Council will meet on July 12 (Special Hearing).
  • The County Board of Supervisors will meet on July 13.
  • The City of San Diego Planning Commission will next meet on July 15.
  • The City Budget and Government Efficiency Committee will meet on July 21.
  • The City Land Use and Housing Committee will meet on July 23.
  • The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Committee will meet on July 26.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • 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.
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