Legislative Update – October 1

October 1 – Weekly Update

Fires, and Purple Tiers, and debates. Oh my. In what promises to be an added cyclical stressor on San Diegans is the Tuesday “will-they-won’t-they” game of our tier designation by the state. We remain, yet again in the red tier, however, there was a considerable question about how likely that would be. San Diego must meet specific metrics to remain red and must improve our outbreak numbers to be considered for the Orange, more permissive, tier.

There was a debate. There are still fires. It’s October and honestly, how did that even happen?

We hope you’re well. Next week we’ll bring some snazzy good news for you… like the names of our small business award winners. (psst: register here for the 10/8 Small Business Awards virtual event)

Business News:

A federal judge cut TikTok a break (and parents everywhere shared a collective eye roll). Just before an executive order would ban the social media app, and dance-craze incubator, the judge provided a reprieve citing free speech rights and due process.

San Diego biotech is moving downtown. IQHQ recently acquired around 5 blocks of downtown property at Manchester Pacific Gateway to create San Diego’s Research and Redevelopment District. The development plans to combine life science labs and workspaces with restaurants, retail, and green space.

Fall and winter college sports could be back in action quicker (and safer) than expected thanks to San Diego based and Chamber Member, Quidel. The diagnostic company signed a deal with the Pac-12 Conference in September to provide daily rapid COVID testing for student-athletes.

The shift to remote work has generated new growth for San Diego’s fastest-growing software startup, Seismic. The company just secured a record $92 million in growth capital to expand internationally and develop software tools for sales enablement.

San Diego Startup Week will take place over the month of October this year in a new virtual reality experience (think The Sims). Instead of a jam-packed week of events, the month-long format allows participants to better balance conference events with work and childcare.

Despite the pandemic, more people are starting businesses this year than last. In 2020, 3.2 million applications for employer ID numbers have been filed compared to 2.7 million in 2019.

Legislative Update:


President Trump announced Amy Barrett as his selection for the Supreme Court this Saturday, pushing for a confirmation before the November election.

On Wednesday, Pelosi and Mnuchin met in a last-ditch attempt to reach an agreement over a federal coronavirus relief package. Mnuchin is expected to propose a $1.5 trillion package, while the most recent Democratic plan stands at $2.2 trillion. In the absence of a compromise, House Democrats are prepared to vote on the $2.2 trillion package.

San Diego House representatives Levin, Peters, and Davis passed a series of bills to help veterans last week. Some of the bills include housing assistance for homeless veterans, job training, and assistance to veterans’ families.


The State of Baja announced a decrease in the number of active and new COVID-19 cases across the state and, in accordance with their reopening plan, the following changes have been implemented:

  • Restaurants, hotels, recreational centers, public pools, gyms, spas, casinos, hair salons, parks, museums, cultural centers, and places of worship may operate at up to a 50% capacity.
  • Supermarkets may operate at up to a 75% capacity, providing access to only one person per family (with exception of minors accompanied by an adult).
  • Sports events may take place with no audience present.
  • Mass events, bars, and nightclubs remain prohibited until further notice.

Businesses are still required to comply with health protocols based on their size, operation, and industry. An update on Baja’s confirmed COVID-19 cases and efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, as well as information on the state’s reopening status, is shared daily by Baja’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Alonso Perez Rico, and Baja Governor Jaime Bonilla through official social media accounts (Twitter | Facebook).

Registration is now open for this year’s International Tribute Awards taking place virtually on Tuesday, December 1. Join us to recognize outstanding individuals and businesses that have made a significant impact on the international efforts bridging U.S. and Mexican economies every year. We are excited to have U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau joining us this year!


The passage of SB 1159 and AB 685 last week raises a lot of questions for employers. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission updated guidelines for employers to ensure a safe work environment for employees during the pandemic. For a breakdown of the guidelines by San Diego lawyer/business law professor/absolute genius, Dan Eaton, read here.

On Tuesday, Governor Newsom announced he signed a slew of bills, including Todd Gloria’s AB 2371, the California Environmental Quality Act: City of San Diego – Old Town Center Redevelopment. The bill will expedite SANDAG’s central mobility hub on the NAVWAR site, and was supported by the Chamber back in June. Asm. Tasha Boerner-Horvath also got a bill signed, AB 1731, which streamlines work-share programs. He’s also vetoed Chamber-opposed AB 3216 (Kalra), which was the right to recall bill..

The state is moving to reopen playgrounds, most of which have been closed down with caution tape and locks. Parents and legislators have been arguing, since the beginning of the pandemic, that closing sections of outdoor play for children is counterproductive at best, and further exacerbates inequality for kids without access to safe outside playspace at all. Full rules for playground opening here.


This week, the County Board of Supervisors voted to expand the county COVID small business loan program to include businesses in the City of San Diego. Currently, $1 million have been allocated to small businesses in unincorporated areas, with $4 million unallocated. The Board also voted unanimously to develop a new Climate Action Plan (CAP). Back in June, a state court struck down the County’s 2018 CAP because of its use of carbon offsets and Wednesday’s action is the first step in creating a new plan.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher launched an electric bike campaign in his district called Pedal Ahead. Program participants can loan out an e-bike for two years if they bike an average of 5 miles a day, and can keep the bike after the end of the program.

On Tuesday, the City Council met, in what felt like a marathon of a meeting. The Council voted to continue using the Convention Center as temporary housing for San Diegans experiencing homelessness through December. They also approved 3Roots, a Chamber-supported housing development in the former Hanson quarry in Mira Mesa. The plan includes transit-friendly residential development, restaurants, office space, and a recreation center. Finally, the Council also voted to approve the ordinance to establish San Diego’s first Office of Race and Equity. The office will provide technical support to City Council staff, elected officials, and law enforcement to address structural racism and socioeconomic disparities in San Diego.

San Diego Courts are planning for a return to in-room juries to address the (gulp) 20,000+ backlog of cases caused by Coronavirus.

After months of extending waivers for parking fees, the City of San Diego’s parking enforcement is back! While enforcement begins today, SDPD will only begin issuing citations with fines on October 15.

More good news for kids and parents! San Diego Unified announced that it will begin bringing some students back to school for in-person learning beginning October 13. Specifically, elementary-age students with special education needs and those experiencing high levels of learning loss will be invited back to school in this first phase of reopening.

Capital Opportunities & Resources:

  • City of Oceanside Small Business Grant Program – Oceanside, in partnership with the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and MainStreet Oceanside, is allocating over $3 million in CARES Act funding to small businesses affected by the pandemic. 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.
  • San Diego County Small Business Stimulus Grant – Businesses must have fewer than 100 employees, be headquartered in San Diego County, have a 1-year operating history, and have experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to be eligible. Apply here.
    • Applications are due on the following dates:
      • Districts 3 & 4 – October 16
      • Districts 1, 2, and 5 deadlines have passed
    • 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 City of Escondido has partnered with the San Diego North Economic Development Council to administer the Small Business Grant Program to Escondido small businesses. Learn more here.
    • The State Treasurer’s Office has published this list of Federal, State, Local, Private, and Non-profit resources available to small businesses.