Legislative Update – October 29

October 29 – Weekly Update

The final presidential debate was surprisingly civil, thanks to the moderator’s mute button (where has that been all of 2020?). This election is on track to have the highest voter turnout rate in a century.

Despite being knocked out of the World Series, three Padres were selected for All-MLB teams. And congratulations to the Dodgers for winning their first title since 1998. We’re not bitter or anything.

Have a safe and happy Halloween🎃 (And keep wearing your masks!)

Business News:

We all know San Diego has the best craft beer. This year, fourteen San Diego craft breweries made us proud at the Great American Beer Festival (take that, LA!).

On Tuesday, Carlsbad-based Callaway Golf announced its acquisition of Topgolf International in a $2 billion deal.  Topgolf has successfully recovered 85% of last year’s visitor count as it has been able to quickly meet COVID-19 regulations and social distancing requirements. San Diego may get its own location if the Port of San Diego agrees to the proposed 68,000 square foot facility on East Harbor Drive.

Senators have called the CEO’s of Alphabet, Facebook, and Twitter to the proverbial Zoom carpet, to discuss whether those companies have taken advantage of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Congress wants to update the rule. Big Tech’s not so sure.

We thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, but Rubio’s has filed for bankruptcy. Pending court approval, the San Diego-based chain plans to restructure current debt and work with their primary lender to keep their restaurants open.

Cox Communications donated $300,000 to San Diego Oasis to establish a technology, wellness, and education center for aging adults. The center focused on the effects of aging and technology literacy will be the first of its kind in the US.

UnitedHealth Group is partnering with UC San Diego and UC San Francisco to increase the number of mental health professionals in California. Together, they created $8 million in grants to expand opportunities for underrepresented students pursuing careers as social workers, psychiatrists, counselors, and psychologists.

Legislative Update:

Federal: 

On Monday, Amy Coney Barret was confirmed to the Supreme Court as the 115th (and only 5th female) justice by a vote of 52-48. The confirmation was the closest to a presidential election in US history, and the first conservative court majority since the 1930’s.

A week before election day, all relief package negotiations were called off. Depending on when you last read the news, most quotes from leadership indicate that relief will not come before a new administration is sworn in, or re-elected.

The President’s Chief of Staff went on record saying that America “was not going to control” the spread of Coronavirus. Inarguably a strange tactic a week before an election.

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced all Americans will have access to COVID-19 vaccines at no cost, once they are available.

Remember business interruption insurance and its possible role in providing relief for some businesses? Instead, litigation continues to be filed across the country with what appears to be mixed success. You can track the suits, their outcomes, and notable trends here.

The administration is considering a rule regarding health care information sharing, or to be more precise, information blocking. In short, the CURES Act specified that your electronic health care information must be made available to you, with certain exceptions defined as blocking. However, the November deadline for compliance may be pushed back given the burden of COVID-19 on the health care system.

State:

Washington, Oregon, and Nevada have joined California’s vaccine review group. They will jointly review any COVID-19 vaccine that is purchased by the federal government for safety. How this could impact the timeline or roll out of a vaccine once available remains unclear.

Additionally, it may be a while before everyday Californians have access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Newsom predicts that widespread distribution won’t be available until the third quarter of 2021. The state has outlined a three phase plan to distribute the vaccine, with health care workers first, critical populations second, and everyone else last.

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have announced they will require visitors from California to quarantine for two weeks if they travel, in response to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases.

Californians who are 70 and older can renew their licenses via mail, per an executive order signed by the Governor this week. The intention is to make sure vulnerable senior citizens are spared a lengthy DMV visit.

California Health and Human Services announced theme parks will only be permitted to open if the county is in Tier Four, or the Yellow Tier. The California Attraction and Parks Association are concerned about indefinite delays on reopening.

GoBiz announced a new partnership with the Eva Longoria Foundation, in addition to Stockton Strong/Goodstock Productions and local Small Business Development Centers, to help small business owners increase their online presence and invest in e-commerce technologies in advance of the holiday shopping season.

Local:

Last week, the City of San Diego Planning Commission recommended the approval of the Riverwalk San Diego development, a proposal to redevelop a 270hole golf course in Mission Valley into a transit oriented mixed use development. The project is slated to be heard by the San Diego City Council on November 17.

Keeping an eye on the ongoing Franchise Fee renewal process in the City of San Diego, SDG&E submitted its bid for the city’s franchise agreement. SDG&E is the current holder of the agreement which is due to expire on January 17, 2021. Two other companies, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and Indian Energy of Orange County had previously indicated interest in submitting bids ahead of this past Friday’s deadline, but to date, neither have confirmed whether they followed through with a submission.

Like many public agencies, the City of San Diego will continue to face tough budget decisions as a result of COVID-19. The Independent Budget Analyst’s office published a 120+ page report on the police budget, which councilmembers indicate they will be using in making upcoming budget decisions.

Introducing “Weekyays!” The San Diego Tourism Authority reported that the hotel revenue forecast is down 53% for 2020 at a Council Committee meeting. In response, the Committee voted to provide a $5.3 million infusion to the industry in support of the “Yay! Weekyays!” marketing campaign targeting visitors in hotels Sundays-Wednesdays.

San Diego’s unadjusted case rate was a high 7.4 per 100,000 residents this week. Once again, high testing rates led to an adjusted case rate of 7.0 cases per 100,000 residents. For now, we remain in the Red Tier. On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors requested the state gives more local control regarding COVID-19 related restrictions. The Board also approved the extension of annual deadlines for a number of permit fees for local businesses through March 31, 2021.

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.
  • 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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