Legislative Update – May 27

Maybe it’s all the winning that the Padres have been doing, or that the sun is finally coming back out, but we’re feeling good! Seaworld’s water park is reopening, the Loyal’s home opener is this weekend, over 3.57 million vaccination doses have been administered, and San Diego is starting to (somewhat) get back to normal. Here’s a list of local things to do this Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day commemorates those that died in service of the US Armed Forces. In 2000, Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, to hold a moment of silence at 3 pm local time around the country.

#VaxFTW! Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $116.5 million vaccine incentive program – the largest in the nation. $15 million in cash prizes for 10 winners will be selected on  6/15 and $50k for 30 winners on 6/4 & 6/11. Already vaccinated are automatically entered to win and the next 2 million that get fully vaccinated can get a $50 card. If you win, we humbly suggest sponsoring a Chamber event or two.

Business News

Thanks to Chamber members Viasat, basketball fans won’t have to miss a game while they fly. Viasat has partnered with the NBA to create the new NBA League Pass, a live game subscription service available to airline passengers in flight.

EDC has partnered with GoSite to provide free digital tools to up to 100 service-based small businesses. Applications are accepted from women, minority, veteran, and other economically under-resourced groups.

We’re collecting nominations for this year’s Small Business Awards! Help us recognize the standout businesses who have gone above and beyond in the community and those driving toward success. The categories are: Community Minded, Best Success Story, Outstanding Minority, Woman Veteran, DBE-Owned Business, and Customers First. Applications and nominations are due on June 18.

June 15 is fast approaching, and we know you have questions. Join us on June 10 to hear from County leadership about what they’re doing to support businesses returning to the office after a year of telework, and find out what legal considerations you should take to keep your workplace healthy and productive.

Legislative Update


Better late than never…the Biden administration will send the detailed $6 trillion FY 2022 budget proposal to Congress tomorrow, making it the latest submission in the last century. What didn’t make it in there? Border wall funding. What did? Capital gains tax rate increases. $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending- lots in defense here. And the usual obligatory spends.

Biden’s infrastructure bill will also include a fun little UFO shout out: a report will be required to be made to Congress within 6 months regarding UFO’s. There is exactly one person lobbying about this (proving, definitively, that there is indeed a lobbyist for everything). Senate Republicans have made a $928B counteroffer to the Biden infra bill, released today. Unclear whether or not they keep the UFO thing.

Give me a boost? Booster shots for vaccinated individuals are likely going to be needed. Moderna shared on an earnings call that they conservatively think immunity will wane between 6-8 months after the second dose (but are hopeful it will actually be longer than that). Be prepared for another round of campaigns getting people their booster shots… and if you’re an employer, maybe think about how you’re going to coordinate that for your team.

The Senate has confirmed the first female Army Secretary, Christine Wormuth.


Our region continues to be a model for U.S.-Mexico collaboration! Our friends over at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego, in partnership with San Diego County and UCSD Health, announced a cross-border vaccination program where 10,000 vaccines were granted by the County to vaccinate Mexican workers at US-owned assembly plants in Tijuana. The vaccines are free and are being administered by medical staff from UCSD at the San Ysidro land port of entry. If you’d like more information about the program, please send us an email to

President Biden also announced the U.S. will donate 80 million COVID-19 vaccines to other countries in need.

With northbound waits of up to six hours at the San Ysidro land port of entry, border restrictions and delays continue to impact our region. Our land ports experience more than 40,000 daily vehicle crossings and wait lines measuring up to six miles. At the Chamber, we urge the federal government to lift restrictions and have shared an overview of the negative economic impact these restrictions have had on our business community.

The Chamber’s upcoming International Business Affairs Forum will take place virtually on Thursday, June 17 at 10:00am. Register here to join experts and industry leaders who will share an overview of efforts to improve air quality in our region, cross-border collaboration, and the role the business sector plays in achieving this goal.

U.S. Trade Representative Tai participated in the inaugural USMCA Free Trade Commission meeting last week.  The committees responsible for overseeing the implementation of USMCA provided an overview of their assessments to Ambassador Tai, Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier, and Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng.  A trilateral statement at the end of the Commission directed the Committees to explore new approaches to better engage with underrepresented communities on trade issues and announced the first-ever USMCA SME Dialogue on 13-14 October in Texas.

Calling all members engaged in cross-border trade in the San Diego-Tijuana-Tecate region: SANDAG and Caltrans are conducting a survey of prominent companies as part of the ongoing planning process for the Otay Mesa East Land Port of Entry, which is scheduled to operate by 2024. Participants have the opportunity to provide recommendations for improvements to border crossing operations as this important regional project moves forward. Please click here to submit your input.


Last week, the Cal/OSHA board postponed a decision to allow vaccinated employees to work without masks or social distancing. Officials are aiming to ease regulations effective June 15 to better align with the state’s reopening. An additional board hearing is scheduled for next week, and the new proposed regulations should be live for public review tomorrow. Read CalChamber’s take here.

The program that provides money to cover back rent is getting streamlined after localities, including San Diego, reported that they likely won’t be able to use all the money allocated.

Governor Newsom’s May Revise is out. The projected $75.7 billion surplus is allocated to investments in K-12 education, childcare subsidies, higher education, emergency rental assistance and much, much more. For business relief and economic development, the proposal includes extensions to the California Competes and Main Street Small Business tax credits and new grant funding.

The economy is showing positive signs, but there may be room for concern for California. The latest report from the Department of Labor shows that CA represented 17% of the total new jobless claims… but we only represent 11% of the labor force. But don’t tell that to business: the Legislative Analyst’s Office has published a report of new businesses by industry and it looks like employers are firing on all cylinders.


SANDAG’s Draft 2021 Regional Plan is officially out for public review until July 30. The $160 billion plan focuses on 5 areas (big moves): complete corridors, a transit leap, mobility hubs, flexible fleets, and next operating system technology. The plan will be presented to the SANDAG Board of Directors tomorrow.

Our friends at the San Diego Association of Realtors have said that open houses (also known as the phenomenon of finally getting to see the inside of that weird neighbor’s house) can resume.

The County has weighed in on when to mask up. Check out the list of times you should be rocking a face covering (yes, we know, the CDC also has guidance but they also said you have to follow local laws and regs).

On June 3rd, the City of San Diego’s Planning Commission will hear a proposal on non-residential parking reform in transit priority areas and neighborhood commercial uses, which recommends zero minimum parking requirements. Further information on reform efforts can be found here. The Chamber is in support of the current proposal.

The County has reported 457 fentanyl-related overdose deaths, a 202% increase from 2019. To help address the behavioral health crisis, will now allow community organizations to offer nasal Naloxone,  a medication that reverses an opioid overdose, to the general public.

Reminder that you can convert your submitted paper applications and plans from paper to digital with the City of San Diego’s Development Services department. Check out the website to see the benefits to making the digital switch.

Remember the bear used in John Cox’s recall campaign speech? A group of San Diego animal rights activists have filed a lawsuit to get him off the campaign trail.

The Ocean Beach Pier is partially reopening tomorrow.

In a 6-3 vote, City Council approved the new electric and gas franchise agreement with SDGE. The 10 year agreement will automatically renew for an additional 10 years, unless ⅔ of City Council votes to void the renewal. Under the current agreement, SDGE will pay $80 million for the gas and electric franchise, and $20 million to help the city’s climate equity goals.

Upcoming Hearings

  • SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on May 28.
  • San Diego City Council is in legislative recess from June 1-4.
  • City of San Diego Planning Commission will meet on June 3.
  • County Board of Supervisors will meet on May 27.
  • County of San Diego Planning Commission will meet on June 11.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Round SIX of GO-Biz grant  closed on May 4 – Notifications began on May 7. Details here… AND webinars explaining how to apply for future rounds 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.
  • 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.