Legislative Update – September 24

2020 is sparing nothing. Friday, the death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was announced. She was 87, an icon, and deeply respected. Undoubtedly, she is also the only Justice to have a cool nickname (“Notorious RBG” in case you lived under a rock), become a meme, and inspire women everywhere to rock a killer accessory while being a total bada** in her field. Needless to say, she will be missed.

WE’RE RED! Our region collectively breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Governor’s data showed that businesses would not be moved into a more restrictive tier on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the county announced the region’s conducted over 1,000,000 COVID-19 tests. (P.S. Wear a mask!)

We’re also … winning? The Padres gave San Diegans another huge boost making it to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. A little bit of hope and some happy experiences mean even more these days. Go Padres!

Business News:

Happy National Small Business Week! UCSD published a new Small Business COVID-19 Safety Toolkit with quick resources on federal, state, and local guidelines.

The College Area Business District is launching a Youtube series “Corbin on the Street” highlighting diverse business owners and districts in San Diego. Check out their latest episode here.  On Wednesday, Councilmember Chris Cate took to Twitter to showcase a San Diego high school student’s effort to support local Asian businesses.

Reunited at last! Illumina announced the acquisition of Grail Therapeutics in a historic $8 billion deal. Grail, a spinoff of Illumina based in the Bay Area, specializes in blood tests for early cancer detection.

In more good news for the Padres, the Padres Development Team won the bid to redevelop Tailgate Park. The plan includes a 1600 space parking structure, retail, office space, housing, and urban parks.

Legislative Update:


President Trump is wasting no time to replace Justice Ginsburg, stating on Monday he plans to announce his Supreme Court nomination this weekend.

After the Trump administration was set to ban downloads of Tik Tok and WeChat on Sunday, a deal with Oracle and Walmart was approved to take over US operations.

Political nerd? Election got you feeling antsy? Check out this fun (?) 57-slide deck all about what November 3 and the weeks following could look like from DC-based Mehlman Castagnetti.

On Tuesday, the House passed a stopgap spending bill after bipartisan negotiations. The measure included federal aid for farmers and funding for nutritional assistance for children who typically receive free and reduced lunch. The deal prevents a government shutdown until at least December 11.

Vaccine development continues to lean in the political direction, as President Trump stated Wednesday, the White House “may or may not” approve tougher FDA guidelines for emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Halloween this year will be scarier than usual. The CDC issued guidelines for safe celebration with moderate and low-risk activities, like a masked haunted forest. Check out some safer versions of our favorite San Diego fall activities here.


The State of Baja’s Secretariat of Health has provided an overview of the COVID-19 curve across the state, and in comparison, with the rest of Mexico and the world. The report includes a map with confirmed and active cases per municipality and neighborhood to help track the spread of the virus. In addition, there is information on hospital occupancy at the state’s COVID-19 designated centers. An update on Baja’s confirmed COVID-19 cases and efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus 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). For more information on Baja’s COVID-19 confirmed cases per municipality, please click visit the state’s COVID-19 website.

The Mexican Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (CILA) recently took over the management of Pump Station CILA in Tijuana. This pumping facility can divert up to 1000 L/S of water flows that take place during dry weather season in the Tijuana River over for treatment at the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Ysidro, or San Antonio de Los Buenos wastewater treatment plant in Tijuana. CILA announced it has allocated a bid to a local contractor to operate the PB-CILA pump station on their behalf, and since the implementation of this agreement, there have been fewer transboundary flows reported. This is due to increased maintenance of the facilities, strict adherence to operational procedures, and increased coordination with U.S. authorities.

Baja’s Water Management, Sanitation, and Protection Agency (SEPROA) announced a contract was also awarded to a regional company for the acquisition and installation of pumping equipment at the Colorado River to ensure water supply in Tijuana and Rosarito. In addition, the agency began preliminary works for the installation of water infrastructure to clean the New River’s channel.

Finally, please save the date 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 announce that the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau will be joining us this year!

To submit nominations for award recipients please contact Kenia Zamarripa, Director of International Business Affairs, at


California stopped taking new unemployment claims for two weeks as the state Economic Development Department checks for fraud and processes its 600,000 case backlog.

On Wednesday, Governor Newsom announced $37.7 million will be awarded to San Diego as part of the Homekey Program. The funding will go toward the purchase of two hotels to convert to permanent rental housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, if approved by San Diego City Council next month.

Governor Newsom signed several bills enhancing worker protections related to COVID last week. SB 1159 expands workers’ compensation for employees who contracted COVID and includes new reporting requirements for employers. AB 685 created a statewide reporting standard for employees exposed to COVID effective January 2021. More details on how this affects employers can be found here.

SB 1383 was signed last Thursday, expanding job-protected family leave for employees to bond with a newborn, care for themselves or a sick family member. The law builds on the Paid Family Leave Program and expands eligibility to those who work for small employers.

The sale of gas cars could be banned in California by 2035 and replaced with zero-emission vehicles. On Wednesday, Governor Newsom announced he asked the California Air Resources Board to phase out gas vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


In good news – San Diego’s unemployment rate has decreased to 9.6% as of August compared to 12.1% in July.

San Diego’s gas and electric franchise is officially up for bid. The bid terms include savings for ratepayers, worker protections, enhanced performance audits, and a commitment to help further the city’s climate action goals. So far, San Diego Gas and Electric, Berkshire Hathaway, and Indian Energy are expected bidders.

As school goes online this fall, affordable childcare is a necessity for families with school-aged children but not accessible for all. Acknowledging the strain on low-income families, the YMCA is offering part-day and full-day scholarships for their child care programs. The application can be found here.

On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2, with Supervisors Cox and Fletcher voting no, to rescind an application for Project Homekey funding to purchase a motel in La Mesa for permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. The board also heard an update on the county’s COVID-19 metrics. Supervisor Desmond made a motion to send a letter to the governor asking for local control in the county, which resulted in a lengthy conversation, ultimately ending with modification. Supervisor Desmond modified the motion to support Dr. Wooten’s efforts working with the state regarding the adjudication process and revision of reopening criteria as it relates to the pandemic’s effects in the county, which passed 4-1, with Supervisor Fletcher voting no.

The County Board of Supervisors will meet next week on Tuesday, September 29  (agenda here) and Wednesday, September 30 (agenda here). On Tuesday, the board will receive an update on the county’s response to COVID-19 and ratify any related actions. The board will consider funding for businesses that applied for the county’s Small Business Stimulus Program Grants in districts 1 and 3. The board will also hear the report regarding the feasibility of on-site childcare at county campuses. 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 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.