Legislative Update – May 6


Let the (recall) games begin!  John Cox launched a new campaign ad that included a 1,000 lb. Kodiak bear named “Tag.” Honestly, we’re just embarrassed for the bear.

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month and small business month. In San Diego, the AAPI community represents 12 percent of our population and 95 percent of all businesses are small businesses. Over the past year, we saw a surge of AAPI hate incidents, and 90 percent of Asian owned businesses lost revenue in the US. The Asian Business Association is leading support for small businesses, and other San Diego organizations are coming together to spread awareness. Earlier this week, Mayor Todd Gloria announced the formation of his administration’s AAPI Advisory Group.

Why May? On May 7 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the US and on May 10, 1869, the first transcontinental railroad was completed by thousands of Chinese workers.

Business News

The latest forecast for the San Diego Tourism Authority predicts a 74 percent increase in this year, with a full recovery to pre pandemic tourism levels by 2024. The projections have some limitations, depending on future COVID restrictions and the return of large conventions. Some good indicators: 30 conferences and events are scheduled for the remainder of the year, including Comic-Con and trade shows.

The County of San Diego is offering a free Safe Business Practices Certification Course on June 3 and June 4. The certification will be led by a Public Health Nursing Educator to prepare businesses to provide a safe environment for employees and customers. If you’re interested in participating, email

After 13 months, Disneyland has reopened. The only other unscheduled closures in park history were after the assasination of JFK and 9/11. For the tourism industry, this moment signals the turning point of the pandemic. New safety protocols are in place including staggered lines, masking requirements and reservation systems.

I Love a Clean San Diego and the City of San Diego are partnering to conduct door-to-door outreach for Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese speaking communities to promote recycling in multi-family residential units.

TIME Magazine has released their 100 most influential companies list. Many are based in CA and some of our Chamber friends made the list! Congratulations to Zillow, Walmart, Amazon, AT&T, Illumina and Airbnb.

Legislative Update


The FCC has published information about its Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides cash to help families pay for internet access. Enrollment begins on May 12. At a cool $3.2 billion it’s already garnered the attention of two Republican Senators asking for an audit of the program.

Teenagers: prepare yourselves! The FDA is getting ready to announce that the Pfizer vaccine is suitable for 12-15 year olds as soon as next week. Now if we can just recruit TikTok to help us convince them, it should be smooth sailing from here.

The expectation that the telehealth boom is here to stay has resulted in the CONNECT for Health Act from Senator Schatz and some of his legislative friends. The bill would permanently remove geographic restrictions on Medicare coverage and empowers the HHS Secretary to waive a series of other restrictions.

The smarty-pants have weighed in: Harvard will require all those on campus in the fall to be vaccinated.

Employers are still waiting for guidance from EEOC regarding vaccination policies and general return to work issues. SHRM’s CEO made the case for immediate guidance to be released at their hearing this week.

The Biden administration has supported waiving intellectual property protections for the COVID-19 vaccine. The WTO General Council will formally vote on a global temporary waiver for intellectual property protections on COVID vaccines in June. Although opposed by some countries including Germany, ambassadors hope to compromise by waiving IP protections for a few years until the pandemic subsides.

The Department of Labor rolled back a rule from the Trump administration that made it easier to classify an employee as an independent contractor. It doesn’t really apply to California thanks to AB 5 (which is also mentioned again below), but nonetheless impacts firms operating outside of the Golden State.


Did you have a happy cinco de Mayo? Here in the States, everyone loves another reason to drink margaritas and eat tacos, but did you know it is NOT Mexican Independence Day? May 5th is the anniversary of a battle where the Mexican town of Puebla beat French invaders led by Napoleon back in the sixties. We owe our favorite Mexican holiday to President Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy”, which was meant to strengthen relations with Latin American countries. Cinco de Mayo became rapidly trending under this policy, and eventually became an unofficial holiday. Click here to see how Arizona celebrates by hosting weirdly adorable Chihuahua races.

CALTRANS and Baja’s Secretariat of Infrastructure and Urban Development (SIDURT) released the California-Baja California Border 2021 Master Plan (BMP). Developed in collaboration with regional stakeholders including the Chamber, its aim is to coordinate planning and delivery of ports of entry and transportation infrastructure projects serving the ports in our region. The plan provides five key recommendations with action items to reach each goal, including the expansion of border collaboration and coordination, and to manage the border as a system.

Mayor Todd Gloria met with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to discuss the negative impacts that border restrictions have had on San Diego’s economy. Secretary Mayorkas noted that multiple factors are considered monthly as decisions are made to extend border restrictions due to the pandemic. As we continue our advocacy efforts to urge the Biden Administration to lift border restrictions, we ask for your input on the economic implications these restrictions have had on your business. Please send any information, data, or statements on how border restrictions have impacted your business via email to

Any football fans out there? Alfredo Gutierrez from Tijuana has been drafted by the NFL to join the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive linebacker. He was chosen thanks to his participation on an international program with players from all over the world since January. Great success to this Tijuana local!

On Monday, a subway car in Mexico City plunged from a height of about 50 feet after the metro line’s bridge collapsed under its tracks. At least 25 people died and dozens more were injured. The Topos, a group of Mexican volunteers that formed spontaneously in response to a huge earthquake that hit Mexico City in 1985, were immediately at the scene to help local firefighters and rescue units. The Topos have helped in earthquakes worldwide including in Japan (1995), Colombia (1999), Haiti (2010), Nepal (2015), and in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami.

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Mexico City on June 8 to meet with President López Obrador and discuss migration issues and joint efforts to promote economic development in the south of the country and Central America. Being her first trip abroad as vice president, Harris will also visit Guatemala with the purpose of establishing a strategic partnership with these countries.

The Mexican Ministry of Economy will host WomenExportingMX, an e-business matchmaking event that seeks to strengthen export opportunities for Mexican businesswomen. The event takes place May 11-14, and combines business meetings along with a specialized training program on foreign markets and advantages for both buyers and suppliers in the context of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Free registration is available here and closes on Sunday.


On Monday, the Department of Public Health released updated mask guidance. While it was supposed to bring the state in line with the latest from the CDC, they decided to keep you guessing and only most of it lines up. Key difference: if you’re unvaccinated you should still be wearing  a mask exercising outdoors and when gathering outside even if your pals are all vaccinated. The latest CDC guidance relaxed that generally.

The courts sided with Governor Newsom in a suit brought by Assemblymembers Gallagher and Kiley.  In an appeal, the court said that Newsom’s reliance on executive orders to manage the state response to the pandemic was okay. Gallagher and Kiley will now ask the state Supreme Court to take it up.

AB 5 continues to play out in courts. A recent court decision in California moved to lift a preliminary injunction against applying AB 5 rules to truckers (in the most simple terms). This throws the industry into upheaval after it was generally thought that the hiring of independent owner-operators was outside of the scope of the controversial gig-economy law passed.

Here’s your weekly reminder that we are in a housing crisis: CIRB (Construction Industry Research Board) has reported that the state’s housing production was down almost 9% in 2020, with only 100,550 new permits. This is the second straight year that production has declined.

Registrations for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will open on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m. EDT and applications will open on Monday, May 3, 2021. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted.

State legislatures in one budget committee have rejected a proposal from Governor Newsom to create a new, sparkly-titled, Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages. Instead, the hearing focused on truly wretched stories of how EDD is still not meeting the job of supporting California’s unemployed.


Some vaccination sites will be offering evening hours beginning today. Sites in Oceanside, Chula Vista and El Cajon will offer doses from 1-8 pm, including second doses from an initial vaccination received elsewhere.

This week, San Diego watched on as our friends up north made it into the yellow tier. We are still in the orange tier with an adjusted case rate of 5 per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 2.2%. We would need an adjusted case rate of less than 2 a positivity rate of less than 2% to advance to yellow.

You can now switch from paper to digital with the City of San Diego’s Development Services department. Check out the public notice and the benefits to making the digital switch here.

The County of San Diego has released their draft budget for fiscal year 20211-22 today. The budget portal, which includes timeline and public input opportunities, can be found here. The Board of Supervisors is set to adopt a final budget on June 29.

The County Board of Supervisors took action on a number of items earlier this week, including:

  • Approved to provide legal representation for detained immigrants facing deportation. The Immigrant Rights Legal Defense Program is the first of its kind in the country.
  • Approved the creation of an Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement, which will supplement state and federal agency efforts, provide information to workers on workplace standards and help them navigate complaint processes.
  • Adopted a countywide temporary rent cap and eviction moratorium that would be in effect until 60 days after the Governor’s stay-at-home order ends – potentially June 15.
  • Rescinded the McClellan-Palomar Airport Master Plan Update and its environmental impact report (previously approved in 2018) due to a court ruling, and directed staff to return in six months for options to consider moving forward.
  • Approved the following environmental items:  a native plant landscaping policy, an organic waste recycling plan, and directing each county department to create sustainability plans.

The Miramar Air Show, originally scheduled for September 24-26, is officially canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns.

Congratulations to the first co-ed graduating class out of the Marine Corps West Coast Training Depot!

Upcoming Hearings

  • The City of San Diego is in budget review committee mode. The next City Council hearing will be on May 17 (which will be a special public input hearing on the budget).

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • Round SIX of GO-Biz grant  closed on May 4 – Notifications will roll out beginning 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.
  • 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 and applications are still open. Learn more and help spread the word 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.