Legislative Update – September 17

Happy Constitution Day! This week also marks six months since the Chamber’s policy team began sending our weekly Legislative Update. Like Venus, one of the brightest objects in the night sky, we hope it’s one of the brightest emails in your inbox. (And hey, if things on Earth keep getting you down, there’s always life on Venus).

Next Wednesday at 10:30am, the Chamber Foundation, in partnership with SDG&E, will host the All Our Talent Legislative Summit, highlighting women in policy-making roles who have been working on issues related to women’s advancement in the workplace. Sign up by clicking the link above.

The Chamber’s 2020 [Virtual] Small Business Awards are right around the corner, on October 8! This year, through a new Small Business Scholarship program, the Chamber will be awarding four Bronze-level Chamber membership renewals to current Chamber members who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance. In addition, three members will be recognized for outstanding achievements in the following categories: Community Minded, Creative Pivot, and 2020 Success Story. Nominations and applications are open until September 30.

Business News:

The City of San Diego’s Small Business Relief Fund has awarded over 2,000 grants for businesses in the city supporting over 10,000 jobs. The program, which launched in March, pooled local, federal, and fundraised dollars, to assist businesses that experienced significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s almost the holiday season (!) and UPS is announcing they’ll be hiring 100,000 people to handle what they’re calling the holiday “e-commerce boom.”

Oracle announced it has been chosen to be the US-based partner to the controversial-but-ever-popular, TikTok.

UC San Diego received state approval last Friday to launch a voluntary smartphone tool to help control the spread of COVID-19. The program will be piloted at UC San Diego using the Google Apple Exposure Notification (GAEN) Express Tool to provide anonymous exposure notifications while maintaining user privacy. If the pilot program is successful, it may be used as a model for the state.

General Dynamics NASSCO received a $35.6 million Department of Defense contract to increase berthing space on Sea Base ships. Updates will be made San Diego should be completed by January 2024. The Navy recently issued funding for MCAS Miramar’s new child development facility, which is expected to be completed by September 2022 and serve over 450 children.

Legislative Update:


The House returned from August recess on Monday. Legislators are already expressing concern over the limited number of voting days left before the election and Congress’s ability to pass another coronavirus relief package. Frustrated with the lack of action on relief aid, on Tuesday, the House Problem Solvers Caucus released its own coronavirus relief package proposal. Highlights include another round of stimulus checks, more PPP funding, $100 billion for health care (testing and contract tracing, health care provider support, and forgiveness of Medicare loans to providers), state and local aid, worker, and liability protections, and unemployment insurance. The full framework can be reviewed here.

The Census ends September 30! Make sure you (and everybody you know) complete it before the end of the month to ensure resources and representation for our communities.

The temporary restrictions on non-essential travel across the shared ports of entry between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico will be extended for an additional thirty days to October 21. The Chamber met with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau and shared concerns about the impact border restrictions have on our cross-border economy.

The State of Baja announced that the 2020-21 school year will take place remotely to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. The instruction excludes higher education, with universities to determine when to resume in-person studies based on local circumstances. Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) continues to broadcast educational programs nationwide for grades K-12.

A new COVID-19 testing site has opened on the patio of the Mexican Consulate General in San Diego. The site operates each Monday from 8:30am to 3:30pm and offers free tests for all interested individuals. No appointments are necessary.

In Tijuana, Baja’s State University (UABC) has opened a COVID-19 testing site at their campus. Free tests are available for medical workers and students from 8:00am to 10:00am. Appointments are necessary and may be scheduled by phone at (664) 979-7577.

The Mexican Government, through the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) announced Transparencia Integral, S.C. as the right of way negotiator for the Otay Mesa East Land Port of Entry project. A bid was also granted to Cal y Mayor to take the lead in the coordination of all government agencies involved in Mexico and supervise the construction and operation of the port of entry. 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.

San Diego State University, in partnership with the University of San Diego, University of California San Diego, and CETYS Universidad in Tijuana, is currently accepting project proposals for their Cross-Border Consulting program. This initiative provides high-quality, actionable recommendations meticulously researched and professionally presented by MBA and graduate students from regional universities. Students work with clients for a period of four months to find solutions to address their global opportunities and challenges. For more information on how to leverage one of CBC’s teams to assist your business, please contact Nancy Nicholson at (619) 807-0376

Please save the date for this year’s International Tribute Awards taking place virtually on Thursday, December 3. 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. To submit nominations for award recipients please contact Kenia Zamarripa, Director of International Business Affairs, at


At Wednesday’s press conference, Governor Newsom said the state would not remove SDSU’s COVID-19 case count from the county’s overall numbers.

Assemblymember Gonzalez sent a letter signed by 23 bipartisan elected officials urging the Governor to end his COVID-caused playground closures.

Some production sets in Hollywood are reopening, and COVID-liability waivers abound. This will be an important “scene” as all businesses contemplate how to protect themselves from litigation, while also working to provide the safest scenarios for employees and patrons. Story here.


On Monday, Mayor Faulconer officially endorsed Measure E, the proposed removal of the 30-foot height limit over the Midway District. In August, Brookfield Housing and ASM Global won the bid to redevelop the Pechanga Arena with plans for a new sports arena, housing, and commercial development – including a lot of buildings over 30 feet.

On Tuesday, Chamber CEO, Jerry Sanders, testified at the County Board of Supervisors hearing. He provided insight on the effects the pandemic has had on small businesses in San Diego. The Chamber received recognition from Supervisor Jacob for our commitment to prioritizing a smart and safe reopening approach. Supervisor Desmond made a motion to fully reopen businesses but it failed due to no second by any other member of the board. The board also voted to send a letter to the governor requesting SDSU’s case count not be included in San Diego County’s overall case numbers (as stated above in the state section, the answer was no).

The board approved $14.5 million in COVID-relief grants from the county’s Small Business Stimulus Program. The board also unanimously voted to direct the chief administrative officer to study the feasibility of learning hubs for children of county employees.

COVID is expected to cost the City of San Diego $300 million in lost tax revenue.

As of Tuesday, the county’s COVID case rate was 7.9 per 100,000 residents, above the 7.0 case rate limit to remain in Tier 2. If the case rate exceeds 7.0 for another week, San Diego will move to Tier 1 and initiate tighter restrictions on reopened businesses and activities. The next round of data will be released Tuesday, September 22.

Also Tuesday, San Diego City Council unanimously approved a year-long program to allow instructional studios, barbershops, hair salons, massage establishments, nail salons, gyms, fitness centers, and religious organizations to operate outdoors.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, visited San Diego and joined Mayor Faulconer and county health officials for a tour of Operation Shelter to Home at the Convention Center. They also toured Helix, a genomics company, who has partnered with the county to provide COVID-19 testing.

As schools transition to distance or hybrid learning for the fall, internet access at home is more front of mind than ever. San Diego for Every Child published a report showing that south county and rural areas have both the lowest percentage of internet access in San Diego County and have been hardest hit by unemployment caused by COVID-19.  While improving internet connectivity and investing in devices is needed, it’s likely not enough. The recommendations offer a more comprehensive approach to structural inequality in learning and focus on supporting parents, educators, caretakers, and others to provide an engaging and healthy learning environment during these difficult times. Learn more here. (Also, stay tuned for news about the Chamber partnership with Cox and Computers 2 Kids for an upcoming computer drive!)

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.