Legislative Update – October 15 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – October 15

October 15 – Weekly Update

Congratulations to our Small Business Awards winners! Computers 2 Kids, FASTSIGNS, and GoBeRewarded demonstrated resilience, innovation, and compassionate leadership during this year’s pandemic response and recovery.

And congratulations to you! You’ve made it seven months into some variation of quarantine, sweat through heatwaves, virtual learning, and have sent in your ballot early OR made a plan to vote! (This is a not so subtle hint you should have received your ballot and we are encouraging you to vote). It’s been a wildly challenging year, but we’re surviving, together, and we’re sending you a virtual high five, a fist bump, a hug, and a cheers.

Business News:

SDG&E released its sustainability strategy last Thursday titled “Building a Better Future: Our Commitment to Sustainability”. The strategy outlines the company’s climate action plan and is organized around principles of environmental stewardship, carbon neutrality, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and grid modernization. Read it here.

Yesterday, Sempra Energy’s board of directors received the National Association of Corporate Directors NXT Award for Diversity and Inclusion and today, named to Forbes’ JUST 100 List, which recognizes companies doing right by the communities, stakeholders, employees, customers, and the environment they operate in and work with. Congrats!

San Diego International Airport has achieved the Airports Council International World’s Health Accreditation for its “Let’s Go Safely” program.

Walmart is now a health insurer. The retail giant launched Walmart Insurance Services this month.

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, OUSD (R&E), has chosen Naval Base San Diego as one of 5 tranche sites for its 5G to Next G Initiative.  A smart warehouse will be developed on the site to test new technologies and improve NAVSUP FLCSD logistics and efficiency.

COVID-19 works hard, but San Diego biotech works harder. As of October, 61 San Diego based companies are contributing to the pandemic effort by innovating vaccines, tests and treatments for COVID-19.

Legislative Update:

Federal: 

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began four long days of confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney  Barrett. With Congress focused on the hearing, coronavirus relief negotiations are taking a backseat. The Senate is planning to pass its $500 billion version of a relief package next week, modest in opposition to the $2.2 trillion bill passed by the House last week.

The US Small Business Administration released a simplified loan forgiveness application for PPP loans under $50,000. The application can be found here. For application assistance and business resources, contact SBA’s local San Diego office or the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center.

A troubling 900,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week, reports the Department of Labor. This is up over 70,000 from the week prior and an indication that the economy’s ability to stabilize before the end of the year may not be possible.

International:

Baja’s Secretariat of Health report provides a COVID-19 curve across the state, and in comparison with the rest of Mexico and the world. It also includes a map with confirmed and active cases per neighborhood and hospital occupancy at the state’s COVID-19 designated centers. In anticipation of flu season, the state is working to ensure access to flu shots in each municipality.

The State of Baja has awarded a bid for the development of a photovoltaic power plant. NextEnergy will sign a 30-year contract to provide the state its own supply of electricity. The state’s current 3,040-megawatt demand often causes energy and water deficits, especially during the periods of high temperature, forcing it to rely on private companies and volatile prices. Deficits have further increased this summer due to a greater percentage of individuals working and studying from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The solar plant project is estimated to decrease the energy deficit by 20-30 percent and help reduce electricity bills across the state.

Tijuana Mayor Arturo Gonzalez has taken a leave of office to focus on his campaign for Governor. Karla Ruiz, formerly Tijuana’s Secretary of Education, will serve as interim mayor and is the first female mayor in the city’s history. Upcoming elections for governor, as well as for local offices across Baja, will take place in June 2021.

Join us at our next International Business Affairs Forum taking place via zoom on Thursday, October 21 at 10:00am. The virtual meeting will feature a conversation and Secretary Luis Salomon Faz Apodaca, appointed by State of Baja Governor Bonilla to lead Baja’s recently established Water Management, Sanitation, and Protection Agency (SEPROA). We will also hear from Rigoberto Laborin, Undersecretary of SEPROA and former Director of Tijuana’s Public Utilities Commission (CESPT), and Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

Our guest speakers will provide an overview of SEPROA’s efforts to address transboundary water pollution impacting our binational region and their work to ensure water supply and service across the state.

The Chamber, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Water Environment Federation, will co-host the U.S.-Mexico Border Water and Wastewater Market Intelligence Roundtable. The virtual meeting will take place Thursday, October 22 from 10:00am to 12:00pm PST. This event is designed to ease market entry and bolster exports for U.S. water technologies, products, and services along the U.S.-Mexico border. Attendance is free but registration is required.

Lastly, 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 in 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!

State:

New state guidelines released last Friday allow for outdoor private gatherings with up to three households with facemasks on. Party on, Wayne.

California’s Work Share Program has been around since the 1970s, but long application processes prevent businesses from benefiting from the resource. AB 1731, a bill by Asm. Boerner Horvath, expedites the application process for the program, which allows businesses to reduce payroll costs if they agree to avoid laying off employees during a recession. Employees can receive unemployment insurance benefits to make up for lost hours and keep their jobs.

Confused about the landlord/renter relief and new housing directives from the state that are COVID related? There’s an upcoming HCD-hosted webinar we’d like to direct your attention to.

The state is trying not to rain on your holiday plans (A for effort) and has released guidance for Halloween plans. They have discouraged trick or treating, but instead recommend small get-togethers with costume contests and pumpkin carving. More here.

Local:

San Diego remains in the red tier with an adjusted case rate of 6.8 per 100,000 residents, a slight increase from last week. The health equity testing positivity rate, which measures the testing positivity rate in vulnerable communities, has decreased to 5.7% compared to 6.2% last week.

The County Board of Supervisors agreed this Tuesday to dedicate $7 million in CARES Act funding to business relief. An additional $3 million was allocated for rental assistance and $2 million for local food banks.

The PB Parking Advisory Committee is proposing a parking meter pilot program in the Garnett business district. The proposal seeks to install 350 parking meters for one year to determine how it would impact parking availability. Supporters estimate the initiative will generate $320,000 in local revenue annually for traffic and safety improvements.

More parking news: Parking enforcement resumes today in the City. Keep an eye out for that curb color, or risk a ticket.

Capital Opportunities & Resources:

  • 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 – tomorrow, 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 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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