Legislative Update – May 28

Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer. While domestic and international tourism to the region remains down, many San Diegans celebrated the warm weather and enjoyed new liberties granted by the County Health Department. While San Diego has developed a good reputation from the State authorities in Sacramento on its handling of the virus, some local businesses have failed to comply with standards set by the County. If you or your business have any questions regarding reopening guidance from the County, please reach out to a member of the policy team or your membership relations manager.


Today the House is scheduled to vote on bipartisan legislation to amend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill, called the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, would extend the time period, from 8 weeks to 24 weeks, that small businesses have to spend the money before it is converted from a grant to a loan. Additionally, the legislation would allow businesses to spend 40% of the funds on non-payroll costs, rather than the 25% originally permitted.


The City of Tijuana presented an Economic Recovery Plan that includes a three-month, interest-free grace period for businesses to pay their property taxes, renew business licenses and other permits, as well as a rapid business opening system enabling small and medium-sized businesses to open within 3 days. Starting June 1, the plan will follow the Mexican federal government’s guidelines to reopen social, economic, and educational activities in stages following a color-coded system that outlines which sectors and activities may resume operations and when.

Otay Mesa Port of Entry Expansion

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced the start of the Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry Expansion Project. The Chamber’s advocacy efforts urged funding for these needed improvements to reduce inefficiencies costing both countries over $7.2 billion annually. The $137.2 million modernization and expansion project includes the expansion of northbound commercial truck inspection areas, increasing the pedestrian inspection facility from six to twelve lanes, and the construction of visitor parking and employee parking structures.

Last year, the Otay Mesa Port of Entry processed over $18 billion in exports and $34 billion in imports in fiscal year 2019. The expansion of California’s busiest commercial truck border crossing will help facilitate trade and commerce in our region. The Chamber’s advocacy efforts urged funding for these needed improvements to reduce inefficiencies in commercial traffic costing both countries a combined $7.2 billion in lost economic output every year.

The project is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2021. Additional information on the Otay Mesa LPOE Expansion Project is available here.

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Starting July 1, 2020, the USMCA Free Trade Agreement goes into effect. If your goods qualify for the USMCA, then they may be exempt from Canadian and Mexican duties.  Register now for this two-part webinar series taking place on June 1 and June 3 to learn what changes the USMCA FTA has for your company, how to qualify your goods, and how to properly declare them. For questions or further information, please contact brian.beams@trade.gov.


Earlier this week, the California Department of Public Health announced that counties statewide can reopen places of worship for religious services and retail stores for in-store shopping. Additionally, hair salons and barbershops are allowed to reopen in many counties across the state. New restrictions apply to these industries, including maintaining social distancing when possible. Houses of worship must operate at 25% capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees. Barbershops and salons are permitted to cut and color hair, but shaving, eyebrow waxing, and other facial procedures are not yet permitted. Nail salons remain closed.

The State must pass a balanced budget by June 15. Earlier this week, the Senate Budget Committee released its version of the FY21 budget. The Senate version of the budget includes two major proposals related to economic recovery: a tenant rent forgiveness program and a $25 billion economic recovery fund to be spent over two years. The Senate rejected many of the Governor’s proposed cuts to health care and education, including $8.1 billion cuts to K-12, childcare, and community college funding. The Senate’s version of the budget assumes that the funds expected from the Federal Government are allocated to the state and creates a trigger to cut certain programs in the case that the funds do not materialize.


After receiving guidance from the State, on Tuesday, the County announced reopening guidance for hair salons and barbershops, one-on-one sport instruction, and places of worship. Prior to reopening, businesses must complete the County’s Safe Reopening Plan. The County also updated its Public Health Order, requiring businesses to temperature check and conduct health screenings of employees.

The County and Rady Children’s Hospital announced a partnership to provide daily COVID-19 testing for up to 2,000 children and their families throughout the region for the next six months. Additional testing sites in rural areas of the County open next week and appointments can be made by contacting 2-1-1.

The County Board of Supervisors will meet next week on Tuesday, June 2 (agenda here) and Wednesday, June 3 (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.

Tomorrow, the City Council is holding a Special Meeting at 10 a.m. to review the draft purchase and sale agreement of the Mission Valley stadium site to SDSU. The hearing agenda can be found here.