Legislative Update – June 18 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – June 18

This week, in a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court decided that the Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964, also protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, just this morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot continue with its plan to terminate the DACA program, which the Chamber has strongly supported for several years. Read more about this decision and the vital role Dreamers play in the U.S. economy in the International Business Affairs section of this email below.

This afternoon, Governor Newsom announced Californians are now required to wear facial coverings in indoor or outdoor public spaces. Guidance from the Department of Public Health can be found here. Also this afternoon, the County announced there have been eight COVID-19 community outbreaks within seven days. Businesses approved to reopen tomorrow can proceed with reopening. Businesses in line to reopen after tomorrow are on hold. The County continues to caution following the facial covering and social distancing guidelines. The County will update its facial covering guidance to match the state’s.

Federal:  

This week, the Federal government announced two major updates for capital funding to small businesses. First, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program application was reopened. You may recall that funds in this program were depleted only a few weeks after the CARES Act expanded it. Businesses can now apply for the low-interested long-term loan and receive a $10,000 advance/grant even if they later choose to reject the loan.

Additionally, the SBA released a new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) EZ Forgiveness Application for borrowers that are self-employed with no employees, did not reduce the salaries of their employees by more than 25%, OR experienced a reduction in business activity but did not reduce the salaries of employees by more than 25%. All other businesses that borrowed money must complete the Full Forgiveness Application.

The deadline to apply for a PPP Loan is June 30th. Funds are still available but in limited supply. All interested businesses should speak with their financial institutions ASAP.

REMINDER: Complete the 2020 Census and encourage your employees to do so as well! The census is important because, not only does it decide the amount of federal funds allocated to the state, but also census data is frequently used in business planning research to forecast and plan for growth, jobs, and ROI in the coming years. Read more here.

International:
The Cities of Tijuana and Ensenada announced the reopening of some businesses including restaurants, hotels, parks, and outdoor recreational centers. Companies are required to obtain a COVID-19-Free Work Spaces certification through Baja’s State government and comply with a list of precautionary measures including limiting access to 25% of their capacity. Local authorities are conducting inspections to ensure establishments comply with health protocols.

The temporary restrictions on non-essential travel across shared ports of entry between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico have been extended for an additional 30 days to July 21. As businesses have begun to reopen and to ensure our cross-border workforce continues to have access to the ports of entry, the Chamber has urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to restore operating lanes and staffing at our ports of entry to decrease wait times at the border. As a result, CBP officials announced updates to operational hours at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, restoring 24-hour operations for Otay Mesa vehicle and pedestrian lanes starting June 21. Please visit the official web and social media pages for updates on port operations.

Cross Border Xpress (CBX) will resume 24 hour northbound operations starting July 5 and continues its southbound operations as normal, open 24 hours a day. For more information, visit the CBX website.

State:

On Monday, the state senate voted to approve budget bill SB 808. Governor Newsom has yet to sign off on a final budget for the upcoming year. The Governor expressed strong disapproval of the senate-backed budget and negotiations have resumed with the legislature to find a compromise. The constitution requires a budget be passed by July 1 and we expect negotiations to continue through next week.

The state announced additional industry guidance as it continues its formal reopening plan. New guidance documents released this week include expanded personal care services (nail salons, massage therapy, tattoo, and piercing parlors) and wedding ceremonies at places of worship.  Personal services businesses can open their doors to customers beginning tomorrow, June 19.

California Insurance Commissioner Lara issued an order adopting new emergency workers’ compensation rules as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Insurance companies are now required to recalculate premiums for policyholders, which will create savings for businesses that are struggling financially.

On Monday, Governor Newsom signed an executive order expanding the capability of counties to enroll residents into CalWORKs programs. Read the full executive order here.

Local:

Yesterday, San Diego City Council approved the sale of the Mission Valley Stadium site to San Diego State University. With an 8-1 vote, the Council finalized the language of the sale and purchase agreement. All that remains is one final approval, called a “second reading,” and escrow is expected to close in August.

This week the City announced it will resume parking enforcement on July 1. You may recall that parking enforcement across the city was temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. From July 1st through the 15th, all vehicles violating street sweeping, metered parking, time limits, and yellow commercial zones will receive written warnings. From July 15 and beyond, full enforcement goes into effect for all curb colors.

On Tuesday, San Diego City Council unanimously approved a decision to allocate $22.5 million in State Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) funding to go toward operations and programming, rental assistance or subsidies, outreach services, as well as prevention and diversion programs.

This week the San Diego Unified School District met to discuss how to move forward with reopening. Core to the conversation is what type of model parents want for their children — normal in-person school, online learning, or a blended model that combines both. San Diego Unified’s board approved a reopening plan Tuesday that will let families choose from two options: full, in-person learning or distance learning with options for on-site activities. Meanwhile, the San Diego County Office of Education released new guidance to help schools plan for reopening.

Last week, the County announced a new website to schedule COVID-19 testing. You can search by testing location or by date available here. Appointments can be made up to one week in advance.

The County Board of Supervisors will meet next week on Tuesday, June 23 (agenda here) and Wednesday, June 24 (agenda here). Due to the Governor’s Executive Order, in-person attendance is prohibited. Information on how to participate in the teleconference, view online, or submit comments can be found here.

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