Legislative Update – July 8 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – July 8

In political news, the date for the recall election has been set: September 14th. And the field, already spicy, is now just getting crowded. This week, we saw Assemblymember Kevin Kiley and Steve Lodge jump in. (Who is Steve Lodge? SO glad you asked. He’s the ex-husband of RHOC Star Vicki Gunvalson).

Get ready, registration is live for our annual Mission to Washington DC! As part of the delegation, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in high level meetings with US administration officials and agencies, advocate for local issues, and network with elected officials and San Diego business community leaders. And by popular demand, we are back at the JW Marriot this year.

Business News

Chamber member Hines Global Income Trust has recently acquired Miramar Activity Business Center, a 161 square foot complex with five industrial flex buildings. The deal is Hines’ third industrial acquisition in California this year.

San Diego Blood Bank is partnering with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, on a new research study involving plasma from donors who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The intent of the study is to test antibodies raised by COVID-19 vaccines found in the plasma of participants against new variants of the COVID-19 virus as they emerge. We need participants and are hoping you can spread the word.

UC San Diego Health has announced that its patients and employees can now access the SMART Health Card Verifier App to provide and access their vaccination information.

Legislative Update


Federal:
 

The White House COVID Coordinator went on the record to say that if booster shots are deemed necessary, the federal government is ready to deploy.

If you’re a restaurant looking for relief funds, you need to submit your application for money to the SBA no later than July 14th. The SBA has been only mildly successful in getting funds out the door, but the need remains.

San Diego County would receive $97 million for transportation and road projects with $25 million toward SANDAG’s Central Mobility Hub should the INVEST in America Act pass. The act has been approved by the House and changes are expected to be made in negotiations with the Senate.

Jobless claims rose last week, an unexpected turn of events. New claims for unemployment hit 373,000 which was 2,000 more than the prior week.

Still not sure what cryptocurrency is? Me too! But Senator Warren has sent a letter to the SEC asking for feedback about how investors are, or are not, protected.

Mortgage applications have fallen for the third straight week. Because there are just not that many millionaires in existence who can afford the totally ridiculous home prices, this is probably not totally shocking.

International:

Have you ever dreamed about a shorter work-week?  The Reykjavík City Council and the Icelandic federal government conducted a series of trials of a four-day week where workers received the same compensation for shorter hours. Results showed that productivity was either maintained or improved in the majority of workplaces.

Following our binational region’s leadership, Texas will donate 50,000 doses of the J&J vaccine to their Mexican neighbors. The cross-border vaccination program will first cover manufacturing workers in Ciudad Juarez.

Mexico announced vaccination for individuals aged 18-29 will start soon nationwide. The Mexican federal government also announced the issuance of a vaccine certification for individuals looking to travel internationally.

As we impatiently wait for the end of travel restrictions impacting our land ports of entry, and fearing a negative call from the U.S. federal government, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard urges the Biden administration to lift restrictions based on vaccination rates in individual cities. This follows the border vaccination program enabled by the U.S. donation of 1.3 million doses of the J&J vaccine, with San Diego and Tijuana at comparable rates as a result. He also stated he will ask the U.S. for a review of essential travel across land ports of entry if restrictions continue.

Travel is opening up in the EU thanks to the implementation of a COVID-19 digital certificate. The EU has also eased travel restrictions for a list of countries including the U.S. and Canada. Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated are also now able to enter the country without having to quarantine.

Mexican government officials met with U.S. Senators on Tuesday to discuss bilateral cooperation on migration. Border infrastructure projects such as the Otay Mesa East POE were also discussed to increase efficiency, security, and global competitiveness in our region.

USTR and the U.S. Department of Labor met with their Mexican and Canadian counterparts for the first meeting of USMCA’s Labor Council.  The group discussed the “domestic mechanisms, institutions and procedures that each party is employing to advance the fulfillment of the agreement”, Mexico’s implementation of its historic labor reform, and areas for ongoing cooperation and capacity building.

Registration is now open for the CBP 2021 Virtual Trade Week. The event will take place July 20-22 and will include discussions on 21CCF, E-Commerce, Forced Labor, Export Modernization, CTPAT, and 1USG.

The City of Chula Vista will hold a series of redistricting workshops to allow the public to submit questions, suggestions, and relevant information for consideration. Redistricting  occurs every decade following the release of census data to redraw boundaries for the four City Council districts.

Take a look here for info on the upcoming workshops and other opportunities to get involved.

State:

AB 104 (Lorena-Gonzalez) passed into law this week, allowing K-12 students some flexibility after a year of distance learning. Students and parents will have the option to retake a grade or change their letter grades from the past school year to a pass/fail system. High schoolers will be able to recover their credits in a fifth year of high school or may be granted exemptions from certain degree requirements to graduate on time.

Making it rain, part 77: in the budget, rebates are back for buyers of electric cars. Questions about owning an electric car? The County of San Diego just launched their Electric Vehicle Consumer Guide website.

UC San Diego has released a study on population growth in California. Key findings: there is no evidence showing an increase in people leaving the state, middle-class Californians are the most concerned about making it in the Golden State, and many residents still believe in the California Dream. Their findings can be found here.

At the Capitol, masks are back. (That was short lived). Thanks to an outbreak amongst 9 staffers (c’mon guys), masks are required for visitors and employees.

The US Supreme Court also threw out a rule that required non-profits to report their donors to the IRS.

You can probably file this under “should have seen that coming” but there were 35,000 families in the state that filed to open their own home school program during the oh-so-unpopular zoom school pandemic phase.

Local:

With great heat comes great responsibility. Make sure you’re complying with Cal/OSHA standards for workers who are outdoors during this heat wave. Also, drink water regularly and stand up and stretch from time to time. It helps.

Don’t forget to get your second shot! (Seriously. Don’t forget. You’re making the team look bad).

$$$ The County of San Diego’s Small Business Stimulus Grant program has reopened. Check out their website for updated eligibility information and FAQs. The SBDC also offers an on-demand webinar here.

The County Board of Supervisors’ are expected to finalize their Housing, Safety and the newly created Environmental Justice Element at their July 14th hearing. The Housing Element is updated every eight years to reflect the changing housing needs and goals of the county and the latest draft can be found here.

The County’s Planning and Development Services is hosting a public input workshop on July 15 to present potential changes to land use designations and zoning for the Valley Center Community Plan Update. The draft changes will go through a public review period from July 15-August 14.

San Diego County’s property tax roll hit a record $627 billion this year.

The City of San Diego’s Development Services Department new and improved online permitting system for Building and Engineering permits will go live on July 19! To upgrade the system, new building and engineering applications will be suspended from July 13-19. These new updates will make the permitting process more intuitive and streamlined.

Speaking of Development Services, the small business support program has been launched for restaurants and small businesses navigating DSD. Following discussions with the Chamber and our local Restaurant Association chapter, DSD’s leadership rose to the challenge (and fast) by kicking off this new program.

Commuters who choose an alternative commute can register for reimbursements for up to three emergency rides per year (up to $100 in value) thanks to SANDAG’s guaranteed ride home program! Alternative commutes encompass carpools, vanpools, transit, biking, or walking. Enroll now to be covered from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

The County of San Diego is holding a business sector telebriefing next Wednesday, July 14 from 9:30-10:30. The featured speaker will be Marie Kenny, partner at Procopio (and former Chamber webinar rockstar) and leader of the Firm’s Labor and Employment practice group. You can find the webinar link here and submit questions in advance of the meeting here.

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 & July 14.
  • 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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