Legislative Update – March 25

March 25 – Weekly Update

Thanks for hanging out with us for the virtual Sacramento Summit. This was definitely the first delegation trip where the majority of delegates were (probably) in pajamas during meetings… but special shout out to those of you who put on “fancy” shirts for the occasion, you looked great.

Our Time to Vaccinate campaign is well under way! Sign up to show support for the health and wellness of San Diego’s workforce by supporting employees getting vaccinated. When you sign up, your company’s logo will be added to the campaign and you will receive a vaccination handbook with helpful information and best practices for you and your employees. Need some musical encouragement? Check out the remix of Hamilton-famed tune “My Shot”, done by medical professionals in honor of the vaccine.

It’s go time: earlier today Governor Newsom announced that California is expanding vaccine eligibility for individuals 50+ beginning April 1, and those 16 and up beginning April 15.

Business News

Chamber members Viasat won an additional five year contract with Navy Exchange Service Command.

Cubic Corp. has received a second acquisition offer. Last month, Cubic’s board of directors was ready to accept an initial acquisition offer from Veritas Capital and Elliott Management. With a higher offer from Singapore-based ST Engineering, Cubic is ready to negotiate.

Cubic subsidiary Nuvotronics has won a $5 million contract to create a Wideband Global Satellite Surrogate Payload for the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center and Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate (a mouthful). In other words, a high altitude balloon.

After a year of shut downs, Legoland will reopen with restricted capacity on April 1! SeaWorld is also prepping its reopening- so while you can go see your fish-friends, you won’t be able to do any rides yet. Either way, this is a great way to get out of the house without going far for entertainment (#ShopLocal!)

From our #SacSummit, there was a mention from Go-Biz Chief Dee Dee Myers that there would be guidance for conventions next week. Stay tuned!

DoorDash has entered the COVID testing space. They announced they’ll be delivering at-home COVID test kits that can get results within 48 hours in several markets (San Diego didn’t make the cut).

Our former VP of Leadership & Engagement, Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, made business headlines this week with her transition to CEO of Episcopal Community Services. Congrats to another valued member of the Chamber family.

The COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant opens for a new round TODAY. If you have applied before, there is no need to reapply. If you have questions on applying, tune into the SBDC Round 5 webinar held every day at 11 am.

Legislative Update


Biden is continuing with his governing strategy to make it rain. Following the passage of the $1.9 trillion relief plan, the federal infrastructure bill is clocking in at $3 trillion…. And California is already thinking about how to spend its allocation of the money. But first thing’s first: getting it passed. Secretary Buttigieg even made a visit to the Hill to start selling.

San Diego getting the DC spotlight: Cindy Marten had her first interview with the Senate in the process of being confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Education.

The AstraZeneca vaccine showed preliminary results of 79% efficacy during their stage three trial. However, there has been some concern that AstraZeneca for two months, extending the March 31 deadline until May 31. The extension still has to pass the Senate, but is expected to be approved.


Last Friday, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a plan to implement travel restrictions on nonessential travel across Mexico’s northern and southern borders. This announcement comes as Mexico is under pressure to reduce the U.S.-bound migration from Central America. At this point, restrictions have only impacted land ports of entry at the Guatemala and Belize borders. Baja Governor Bonilla issued a statement to confirm no action has been or is planned to be taken at our regional ports of entry.

Following last week’s announcement of the extension of U.S. travel restrictions impacting land ports of entry until at least April 21, DHS issued a statement indicating an evaluation of metrics that would allow for a resumption of travel. According to a report by CNBC, the White House is looking toward the middle of May to relax restrictions across the Mexican and Canadian borders and on inbound travel from the UK, Europe, and Brazil.

The Biden administration is finalizing plans to loan millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico and Canada. This action will not have an impact on vaccine supply within the U.S, but we suspect would make Mr. Rogers proud.

Vaccine superstations are now operating across the state of Baja and include the Toros baseball stadium and UABC University in Tijuana. Individuals over 60 years old can pre-register for the vaccine and will receive a notification when they are able to schedule an appointment.

Last week, the House passed the American Dream and Promise Act, and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would create a path to legal status and eventual citizenship for millions of immigrants across the country. President Biden urged the Senate to take action. In addition to providing protection to DACA recipients, Temporary Protection Status holders, and farmworkers, these bills would also have a significant economic impact in the pandemic response and economic recovery.

Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s border czar and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, met with Mexican officials to develop an effective and humane plan of action to manage migration and address the influx of migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum. Jacobson also issued a message to migrants reiterating that traveling to the border and/or waiting at a migrant camp does not provide priority status in a legal path to citizenship.  VP Kamala Harris will lead the administration’s efforts and strengthen diplomatic relations with Central America.

Katherine Tai was sworn in as U.S. Trade Representative last week. She’s the first trade representative since the George W. Bush administration to be approved unanimously by the Senate. USTR stated she is pursuing a meeting with her Canadian and Mexican counterparts to follow up on the implementation of USMCA.


CalChamber has released their annual 2021 job killers list.

California is pushing for the state auto standards to be used as a national model. Last Friday, Senator Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein submitted a letter to the White House urging stronger national standards for greenhouse gas emissions, fuel economy and zero emission vehicles.

One of the stranger parts of COVID: having to qualify all activities by order of risk. The state’s Department of Public Health has officially categorized drumlines and choir as low-contact. Cheerleading, and flag-football, are moderate-contact activities.

With Becerra’s confirmation as HHS Secretary, all eyes focused on the Newsom appointment. Sacramento Mayor and legislative heavyweight, Darrel Steinberg, got the “not you” notification. Congressmember Schiff was also told “not you, either” which was awkwardly covered in the media.  The ultimate winner was Assemblymember Rob Bonta.

AB 247, introduced by Assemblymember Ramos and co-sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, would protect employers with less than 100 employees from COVID-related liability. The bill is supported by a NFIB study finding that 98% of their small business members support COVID related liability protections.

California’s budget remains on fire, with revenue coming in at over $14B above expectations. At this rate, the Governor can work on buying the love of any recall supporters. Not that he’s worried about that…


On Friday, bidding was reopened for the city’s gas and electric franchise agreement. Speaking of utilities: San Diegans are going to see a $17 credit on their energy bills in April. Don’t spend it all in one place! (and again, #ShopLocal)

The Convention Center continues to play unexpected roles for the most vulnerable populations. It is currently preparing to shelter unaccompanied migrant children. Currently, asylum seekers are held in federal detention centers to wait for trial. This weekend, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra asked San Diego leaders to help house migrant children under the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) that has jurisdiction over this population.

The only museum dedicated to Marine Corps aviation, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, is closing April 1. Congressmembers Scott Peters and Darrell Issa have been advocating for the Pentagon to help save the museum, and the Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park has jumped in to help. The museum will be open until this Sunday, March 29, and is asking visitors to share stories of what the Flying Leathernecks means to them.

Signing up for vaccine appointments have been frustrating for most people. Andre Le, an employee at Google, created an automated Twitter account (@CovaxSd). The Twitter bot scans for appointment availability at Sharp HealthCare run sites every 5-10 minutes and tweets out the link and location for the appointments.

Two new vaccination clinics opened at SDSU and the Mexican Consulate, and will focus on serving communities hardest hit by the pandemic. The clinics are part of Project SAVE (Scheduling Assistance for Vaccine Equity), and will set aside doses for residents living close to SDSU and work with promotoras to fill reserved appointments.

On Friday, San Diego joined the statewide vaccine provider network contracting with Blue Shield.

The County of San Diego recently released their draft RHNA site inventory maps of the Housing Element update for public review. Staff will be holding a public webinar on March 27 to receive more input and will present the site inventory options to the Board for consideration on April 7.  Comments on options for the site inventory will be accepted by April 2.

Kudos to the City of San Diego as they continue their #DigitalDSD efforts by launching a number of new online permits and approvals beginning March 29. Stay tuned for similar efforts underway that will help small businesses and restaurants in the coming months!

The City of San Diego announced on Thursday that they will be proposing a 5% wastewater increase rate to begin in January 2022. Their proposal will first go to the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee on April 7.

The Port of San Diego is seeking public input on their Maritime Clean Air Strategy Discussion Draft.

Upcoming Hearings

  • SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on March 26 at 9:00am
  • San Diego City Council will be in legislative recess from March 22-31
  • State Legislature will be in legislative recess upon adjournment of session beginning March 25-April 4
  • City of San Diego Planning Commission was adjourned this week and will meet April 8th

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Round FIVE of GO-Biz grants opens TODAY. Details here… AND webinars explaining how to apply and how it works here.
  • The CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund provides assistance for eligible expenses to businesses in the City of San Diego and City of Chula VIsta impacted by the pandemic.
  • Applications for the County of San Diego’s 2021 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) have been extended to March 31, 2021. Click here for more information on the County’s program.
  • The San Diego Housing Commission, along with the assistance of many Community Based Organizations, is administering the City of San Diego’s 2021 COVID-19 Housing Stability Assistance Program is open as of March 15, 2021. Interested applicants can sign up for more information here.
  • Apply for your first or second PPP Loan now! Learn more here.
  • City of Oceanside COVID-19 small business grant program: Small businesses able to demonstrate a loss in profit caused by the COVID crisis can qualify for a grant of $1,000 to $7,5000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is accepting applications for a small business hiring credit against California state income taxes or sales and use taxes. The credit (authorized by SB 1447) is available to certain California qualified small business employers that receive a tentative credit reservation. Learn more here.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund is offering small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees loans up to $100,000. Learn more and apply here.
  • The County’s Small Business Stimulus Grant Program is accepting additional applications. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 100 full-time employees and are following sectors (restaurant, gym fitness center, yoga studio, movie theater, museum, zoo, or aquarium) that were impacted by moving from the Red to Purple Tier OR part of the event industry. 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.
  • 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.