Legislative Update – September 10

In San Diego, we tout our region’s unique ability to collaborate. That has held especially true this week as the Valley Fire continues to impact our county. The Navy and Marines from NAS North Island, Camp Pendleton, and MCAS Miramar have joined CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire in the fight and while it’s far from over, we received some positive news this morning that the fire is now 32% contained.

Thank you to the first responders and public health responders who are working to keep our community safe.

We’d also like to give a shout to SDG&E for their efforts during the heatwave to keep the power on for San Diegans and their work to mitigate additional fire risk.

Business News:

The San Diego Airport Authority welcomes Margaret Noble as the Fall 2020 Performing Arts Residency Program artist. Her work will be accessible to travelers and airport visitors through December 2020.

In last week’s update, we discussed the CDC’s announcement to states to get ready for vaccine distribution in October/November. Public health experts raised doubts about the super-expedited timeline, politics are involved, and on Tuesday, nine Pharma companies issued a joint pledge to not compromise public safety as the race to find a vaccine continues.

Monday, AstraZeneca (one pledge signer) announced they would pause their late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials after one participant came down with side effects.

Port of San Diego  CEO and Chamber Board Member Randa Coniglio has announced her retirement.

Legislative Update:


Senate Republicans have unveiled their proposed stimulus (aka the “skinny stimulus”). It was blocked by Senate Democrats today, but this is yet another step in the negotiations for what ultimately passes. Specifically, it proposed $10 billion for the post office, another round of PPP funds, and business liability protections. You can find a nice summary here.

The Department of Labor has published a new proposed rule about clarification of employees vs. contractors, adding another layer to the gig-worker debate raging in California.

The Senate returned Tuesday and the House is back in session next Monday.

Also, for those of you who have yet to complete the census, go ahead and rectify that oversight here.  (It’s cybersecure and cannot be used for anything other than statistical analysis.)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reopened Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers at the Otay Mesa and Calexico East Ports of Entry. Interviews for conditionally approved Global Entry, SENTRI, and FAST-South applicants are available by appointment only and must be scheduled online. For more information including enrollment center hours of operation, please visit CBP’s website.

To help facilitate border crossings for our workforce, the Chamber is working with CBP to organize mobile enrollment events at work sites. Applications submitted at these events will be reviewed within a month and be offered interviews in an expedited matter. If you are interested in offering this at your company, please contact the Chamber at kzamarripa@sdchamber.org.


This week, the state began sending out new supplemental unemployment benefits to unemployed Californians as a result of an executive order signed by President Trump in August. Unemployed individuals will now receive an additional $300 per week on top of their normal state assistance check, as compared to an additional $600 per week, which was provided through the CARES Act and expired in July.

In addition to other bills, Governor Newsom signed legislation designed to support small businesses navigating the pandemic. Specifically, businesses with less than 100 employees can receive up to $1000 in tax credits per new employee hired by December 1, 2020.

The state data released Tuesday shows San Diego is headed in the wrong direction on the Governor’s new tier system. The county’s positive case rate rolling average, 6.9%, is barely in Tier Two (meaning substantial risk). If the positive case rate continues to increase, we are at risk of moving into Tier One (meaning widespread risk), initiating tighter restrictions on activities. Two weeks of data are required before a county moves forward or back a tier. The county relayed that there are recent data issues, but that should not impact the region negatively in terms of the tier report.


Monday, SDSU announced an extension of their on-campus housing stay at home order due to additional positive cases. The university also requested that students living off-campus also comply. As of Wednesday, there were 440 positive cases and an additional four probable positive cases.

On Tuesday, during a special council meeting, the San Diego City Council approved two new emergency ordinances proposed by Councilmember Chris Ward: emergency recall/retention and temporary supplemental sick leave. Both proposals are very similar to bills passed by the state last week, AB 1867 (supplemental sick leave) and AB 3216 (emergency recall and retention).

The Emergency Recall and Retention Ordinance will require hotels with 200+ rooms or commercial properties with 25+ security/janitorial staff to prioritize rehiring of laid-off staff based on the amount of time they have worked for the employer. Laid-off employees that have been offered to be rehired will have three days to decide if they want to accept the position. This ordinance will go into effect immediately and will sunset in 6 months or on December 31, 2020, when the state law (AB 3216) is expected to go into effect. The Councilmembers came to this agreement after Councilmember Kersey proposed three amendments (relating to the number of hotel rooms, number of janitorial/security staff, and number of days employees have to accept job offers) accepted by Ward and other members of the council (7-2, Cate and Sherman voting no).

The Temporary Sick Leave Ordinance, pushed by Councilmember Ward, was intended to act as a “stop-gap” in the rare case that state law AB 1867 was not signed by the governor. The local ordinance, which is nearly identical to the state law, would require employers with more than 500 employees nationwide to provide their employees with two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave, exempting healthcare providers, delivery workers, emergency responders, and companies with generous leave. While this ordinance was approved by the council (7-2 vote, with Cate and Sherman voting no), it will not be brought before the council for a second reading or final approval because Governor Newsom signed AB 1867 into law last night.

Notable credit rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service, issued a statement on Wednesday asserting that the halted rent payments from the City of San Diego on the 101 Ash St building have “limited implications for the city’s credit quality and publicly issued debt” which is encouraging.

Yesterday, the county announced additional testing sites, free and no appointment necessary. There are other county locations where appointments are necessary, which can be found here. At yesterday’s press briefing the county also relayed that testing and public health screenings are being completed for evacuees of the Valley Fire.

The county has updated the Safe Reopening Plan to allow for employees to temperature screen themselves at home. The latest version of the county’s Public Health Order can be found here.

Starting next week, the county will transition the COVID-19 press briefings to once per week. The press briefings will be held on Wednesdays at 2:30 pm (reminder, state COVID-19 data is now released on Tuesdays).

The County Board of Supervisors will meet next week on Tuesday, September 15  (agenda here) and Wednesday, September 16 (agenda here). On Tuesday, the board will receive an update on the county’s COVID-19 response and ratify any related actions. Additionally, the board will vote on whether or not to approve funding for the county’s Small Business Stimulus Program Grants for districts 1,2, 4, and 5. In-person attendance is still prohibited. Information on how to participate in the teleconference, view online, or submit comments can be found here.

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 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.

International Business Affairs:

The Mexican Government, through the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) announced the appointment of a project manager for the Otay Mesa East Land Port of Entry project. The bid was granted to Cal y Mayor, which will take the lead in the coordination of all government agencies involved in Mexico and supervise the construction and operation of the port of entry. SCT also issued a federal notice seeking proposals for a right of way acquisition negotiator which will be granted in the next few days. The project will contribute to significant economic growth for our region and stimulate cross-border trade by providing secure, reliable, and predictable crossings with a goal of waits no longer than 20 minutes.

Join us at our next International Business Affairs taking place via zoom on Thursday, September 24 at 11:30am. The meeting will feature Secretary Luis Salomon Faz Apodaca, appointed by the State of Baja Governor Bonilla to lead Baja’s recently established Water Management, Sanitation, and Protection Agency (SEPROA). We will also hear from Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina. Secretary Faz Apodaca 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. As they approach the end of a 60-day plan to remove an estimate of 300,000 cubic meters of sediment and solid waste along the Tijuana River channel, the State of Baja has announced that we have had seven consecutive days now without transboundary flows.

As part of its tenth anniversary, the Tijuana Innovadora movement announced its Tijuana is the Future event, a platform to promote our region and its competitive advantages in relation to social and economic development. This is achieved through a citizen platform integrating creative proposals for social innovation, technology, workforce employability, and infrastructure, all of which strengthen our community. Event details and registration are available on Tijuana Innovadora’s website.