Legislative Update – June 10 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – June 10

San Diego is officially in the yellow tier…if only just for a week. What does this mean? Outdoor music venues would increase to 67% capacity, restaurants and gyms can open at 50% (indoor and outdoor), indoor bars can be at 25% or 100 people (whichever is less), outdoor gatherings would increase to 200 people, and a full list can be found here. So enjoy your mai-tai while you listen to music outside and lift weights. Let us know how that goes.

Thanks to those of you that joined us for a very thorough look at the very confusing return to work guidance in today’s Back in Business webinar. Special shout out to the County of San Diego and Procopio for lending us their all-stars so we could keep going, “wait, what? Huh? Seriously?” while they told us how employers need to prepare to welcome their staff and clients back into the office. If you missed it, a recording will be available on our website soon.

Business News

Do you have a business success story? Is your business/minority business leading in your field? Or maybe you’re a nonprofit whose mission is all about the community… If so, we want YOU to apply for the Chamber’s 2021 Small Business Awards, where we honor our region’s top small businesses that are driving the San Diego economy forward. Applications are quick, easy and free for members – submit your application below or nominate a business you know by Friday, June 18, 2021.

SDSU is partnering with businesses to provide interns for your staffing needs! The University’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center places student interns with valuable computer science skills, who can support certified Salesforce developers, Java developers, full stack developers and a variety of other web development projects. They also place finance and marketing interns. If you are interested in having your business participate, you can apply for the program here!

Introverts can finally shop in peace. San Diego’s first fully automated and cashier-less store opened to the public in East Village, courtesy of Accel Robotics.

Legislative Update

Federal: 

Congressmember (and Chamber-endorsed friend) Scott Peters is hosting a webinar on local research and breakthroughs around Alzheimer’s today, and you can catch it on Facebook live here. Tune in to learn how San Diego has been at the forefront of treatments.

International:

RESULTS ARE IN!! 93 million Mexican voters headed to the polls last Sunday to elect members of the lower house of Congress, 15 governors, 30 state representatives, and nearly 1,900 municipal governments. The president’s MORENA party will now hold  between 265-292 seats in the 500 person lower chamber, falling quite short of their current two-thirds majority. MORENA will depend on its allies (Labor Party and Green Party) to pass legislation requiring a simple majority.

In the governor race, MORENA will hold 11 of the governor seats including Baja California and Baja California Sur. Former Mexicali Mayor Marina del Pilar Avila will become Baja’s first female governor, joined by another 6 female governors shaping Mexico’s political history. MORENA also won all municipal elections across Baja: Montserrat Caballero (Tijuana); Norma Bustamante (Mexicali); Dario Benitez (Tecate); Armando Ayala (Ensenada); and Araceli Brown (Rosarito).

Despite the mixed results from the midterm elections, President Lopez Obrador stated that he is still planning to implement a recall referendum as promised during his campaign – a chance to vote him out of office in 2022.

VP Harris visited Mexico City this week to meet with President Lopez Obrador. The conversation included commitments to expand bilateral economic cooperation, discuss a shared vision for security, strengthen labor cooperation, and work together to address migration in Central America.

This follows an announcement of the U.S. donation of 1 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Mexico. The Mexican federal government announced that the vaccines will be distributed amongst individuals aged 18-39 in border communities to help lift travel restrictions impacting the U.S.-Mexico land ports of entry.

In Baja, vaccine registration for this age group is now open and is expected to begin soon. In addition, the cross-border vaccination program led by San Diego County, the Mexican Consulate in San Diego, and UCSD Health will be expanded. For details, please send us an email to kzamarripa@sdchamber.org.

As we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will travel to Mexico City next week to discuss the gradual opening of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The cities of Tijuana, Ensenada, Tecate, and Rosarito moved into the least restrictive green tier as of Monday. This means:

  • Students are back to school (finally!).
  • Sports events are back, operating at a 50% capacity.
  • Movie theatres, museums, casinos, restaurants, bars, event venues, and cultural events may operate at a 75-85% capacity.
  • Public transportation, shopping centers, places of worship, hotels, hair salons, public spaces, super markets, and small events (friends and family) may now operate at a 100% capacity.
  • Concerts, recreational centers, amusement parks, and other massive events may take place upon authorization from Baja’s Secretariat of Health.

The Chamber’s upcoming International Business Affairs Forum will take place virtually on Thursday, June 17 at 10:00am. Register here to hear from SANDAG, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the UK Government, and industry leaders who will share an overview of efforts to improve air quality in our region, cross-border collaboration, and the role the business sector plays in achieving this goal.

State:

As many of you are already well aware, Cal/OSHA approved revised regulations at their June 3 Board meeting, which placed employers in an unnecessarily difficult position. But….

Last night, Cal/OSHA held an emergency meeting after receiving a letter from the California Department of Public Health providing updated mask guidance that would likely cause significant confusion. Cal/OSHA decided to withdraw the ETS approved at the June 3 meeting (mentioned above), meaning it will not go into effect on June 13. This gives Cal/OSHA until the next regularly scheduled meeting on June 17 to adopt revised ETS that better aligns with CDPH guidance. These revisions would not go into effect until June 27. In the meantime, employers are stuck with the current ETS guidance which requires vaccinated and unvaccinated employees to maintain masking and social distancing measures. The Chamber team will update our Return to Work Guidance as soon as substantive information is released. Yes, our brains hurt.

Local:

One week before the state retires the tiered system, San Diego reached the yellow tier. San Diego has had six consecutive days of less than 100 confirmed cases or COVID hospitalizations. You can review the full activity and business tiers chart here.

Channel your inner Simone Biles for this next stage of local policymaking gymnastics. Last Friday, City Attorney Mara Elliott filed a validation lawsuit arguing that Measure C  was approved by voters. That same day, activist group Alliance San Diego filed a separate suit attempting to confirm the exact opposite result. We’ll see who sticks their landing at some point, but as a reminder Measure C passed with a simple majority last March, but did not reach (although they were close) the ⅔ majority needed for a tax increase. In April, City Council announced that the ballot measure was approved by simple majority, but will not begin funding for the convention center until the court makes a decision.

#DigitalDSD Update: Next month, the City of San Diego’s Development Services Department will launch updates to their online permitting system including building, grading, and engineering permits. DSD will host three separate webinars for customers where you can get more information and helpful tips on how to use the new online features.

The City of San Diego’s Planning Department is seeking input on the development of their Spaces as Places proposal. Check out their website for more information on their upcoming online workshops (both happening today!). They also encourage business community feedback through their survey found here.

Does San Diego owe you money? The City of San Diego has reported $1 million in unclaimed funds. Check out if you or your business is owed here.

Congratulations are flowing from across the state to Adel Hagekhalil, who was formally confirmed this week as the new General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District, making him the 14th GM in the near century-old institution.

Also in the water world news this week, the city of San Diego is planning a structural assessment of some of its aging water dams. This process is expected to last five years and will provide the city with detailed information needed to forecast and prioritize repairs across its system.

The City of Chula Vista will soon be launching their Choose Chula app to support small businesses and spur economic recovery.  If you are a business located in the City, you can still apply to be featured in the initial app launch by June 11 at 5:00pm. Over 60 businesses have applied to be featured in the app so far and their goal is to get 100 by the time the app launches on June 15.

The Board of Supervisors finalized the County’s framework on how to spend $650 Million in ARPA funding, approving the following (partial list):

  • $232.5 million to for prior and ongoing COVID-19 response costs(Plus $75 million being held for future evaluation
  • $56 million for small business and nonprofit stimulus (Including $5 million for arts community
  • $85 million for homeless services
  • $40 million direct stimulus payments for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • $15 million for legal services and counseling for tenants facing eviction and landlords in financial need
  • $32 million for infrastructure projects

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve the development of a county Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.

Upcoming Hearings

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Round SIX of GO-Biz grant closed on May 4 – Notifications began on May 7. Details here… AND webinars explaining how to apply for future rounds and how it works here.
  • 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.
  • Apply for your first or second PPP Loan now! Learn more 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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