Legislative Update – November 24

This newsletter is a short one, like we hope this week is for you. This year, we’re grateful for booster shots, in-person happy hour, people who aggressively over-decorate early for the holidays, and oh yea, you! These weekly notes to you wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without your ideas, input, and responses that keep our community intact.

We hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday, and that you manage to avoid all talk of politics around the dinner table. Cheers!

Business News

Get your jingle-jangle on with SeaWorld San Diego as they return to their annual Christmas Celebration. Now through January 2nd, you can distract your children with lights, snowfall, and Elmo’s Christmas Wish Show. We’re willing to bet it’s a good time for parents, too.

The San Diego Regional Airport Authority has announced its San Diego Flyer– which is a quick electric shuttle service that will connect folks from the Old Town Transit Center to the Airport.

The FCC voted to approve Verizon’s purchase of Tracfone this week, which positions Verizon as one of the largest prepaid service providers in the country.

Dollar Tree’s communications team is probably gearing up for quite the effort, as the chain announced that in Q1 of 2022, most of its products will be priced at $1.25.

Legislative Updates


The administration has swung back on the stay that the 5th Circuit ordered on the sweeping vaccine rules issued by OSHA earlier this month. The cases that opposed the mandate resulted in a halt of the implementation and enforcement, and have now all been consolidated into the 6th Circuit. It is there that the administration has requested the court remove the stay and allow the order to go forward. TBD on the outcome, but for anyone keeping track at home, this is another right-leaning court with 10 of the 16 judges appointed by Republican presidents.

The Build Back Better bill has finally been scored by the CBO. In other words, we know how much it will cost. Unlike the piles of cash that spilled onto the freeway last week (hey, give that back!), if you’re in line for BBB $$, you’re sitting pretty. The $1.7 trillion bill would add $160 billion to the national debt over the next ten years, according to the CBO. On the other hand, reviewers also say it would increase growth, and then on the third hand (which we know you don’t have- probably), some people are quick to question the credibility of the CBO. Why this matters? The ultimate cost of the BBB bill will be an important consideration for Senators who haven’t committed to a yes or no vote.

President Biden announced that he has asked Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to stay on for a second term. Following positive remarks round Powell’s steering of the economy through the pandemic, the pick is indicative of a “stay the course” approach by the administration. Senator Warren has already announced she will vote against him.

Sometimes, we can’t do anything to improve upon what an article says. This is one of those times: “Continuing her long crusade to get Congress to do something, anything about the country’s debt limit, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told NPR she’ll be advising Congress soon as to how long ‘lawmakers have to raise or suspend the debt limit before the government runs out of cash’”. You’ll recall the federal government has until December 3rd to fund the government.

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Charles Sams III as National Park Service Director. Sams is the first Native American to lead the NPS and first confirmed director in almost five years.

Rollin’ in the dee-EE-eep (in Adele’s voice): The Biden administration has announced it will release 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve to address the gas prices that have us all grumbling. But be warned: most experts say this isn’t a long-term fix and instead a short-term measure to stop the pain for travelers over the holidays.


We are counting the days for this year’s International Tribute Awards taking place on Tuesday, December 7th at the Westgate Hotel. Join us to recognize the individuals and businesses that lead binational initiatives bridging the U.S. and Mexican economies. This year’s award recipients are:

  • International Business of the Year: Taylor Guitars
  • International Leader of the Year: Melissa Floca, Sr. Advisor, Cross-Border Initiatives at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice
  • Cross-Border Collaboration: San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas; Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego; and Luis Lutteroth, President of Consejo de Desarrollo de Tijuana (CDT).

The historical 2021 North American Leaders’ Summit marked the first face-to-face meeting between President Biden, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Lopez Obrador. The three officials reiterated their commitment to strong and renewed partnership, and pledged to work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic and advance global health; foster competitiveness and create the conditions for equitable growth; and coordinate a regional response to migration.

U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan visited Tijuana as a follow up of the summit mentioned above. They met with elected officials from San Diego, Baja, and representatives from the Mexican federal government to discuss continued collaboration on projects and funding to address transboundary pollution impacting our region. This included an update to share significant progress made to reduce pollution levels, efforts to promote water reuse in Tijuana, and the rehabilitation of the San Antonio de los Buenos treatment plant. The Chamber also joined regional stakeholders in a meeting with Roberto Velasco, Unit Chief for North America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez to discuss these efforts and advocate for projects and policy initiatives that will enhance our region’s border infrastructure and economic development.

Tijuana’s Public Utilities Commission (CESPT) held a separate meeting with local stakeholders and environmental groups in the city to provide an update on their work to ensure water services including water treatment across the state. This included progress in the rehabilitation of the IBWC Pumping Station (PB CILA) and efforts to address the recent flooding at the Playas de Tijuana ramp.

The UK Department of International Trade will host a webinar on business opportunities for UK organizations thanks to USMCA. The trilateral agreement allows foreign businesses to position themselves in the North American market through Mexico’s export platform and to improve their participation in regional value chains. Click here to register and view the full agenda.


To ease supply chain/port backlogs, the state has made a move to increase the maximum weight that trucks can carry to, simply put, get more stuff on trucks and the heck out of port waiting-rooms. Trucks will be able to carry a load of up to 88,000 lbs, up from 80,000 lbs. FWIW, Oregon allows maximum weights of 105,000 lbs per truck. Just sayin’.

The state has proposed an increase to its cannabis cultivation tax to go into effect January 1, 2022. In an interesting approach to political negotiating, one cannabis firm, Flow Kana, has announced they will withhold their taxes until the Governor changes that policy. Stay tuned.

Governor Newsom has appointed Alice Reynolds, Senior Advisor to the Governor for Energy, as the new President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Reynolds replaces Marybel Batjer who announced her retirement back in September and will be officially stepping down on December 30.

The UC System announced that they will no longer require any tests for the undergraduate admissions process.


Eleven miles has never been so dang exciting. This week, the Blue Line officially opened to a big celebration. The Midcoast trolley now provides a one-ride way from the Border all the way up to employment and education hubs in UTC, and everything in between.

The San Diego City Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency Committee voted to move forward with a $20,191 Cannabis operating fee to fund the Cannabis Business Division (which is within the Development Services Department). Included in the fee is a plan to create one more position for a total of five in the Division. The proposal must still go to the City Council for final approval.

This week the City of San Diego launched a pilot program to sanitize the City’s sidewalks. “Sidewalk Reset” aims to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors and keeps sidewalks cleaner for longer.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was unanimously re-elected as Chair of the MTS Board of Directors. The Chair position will be a 2-year term ending in 2023.

Looking for something else to do instead of black Friday shopping? Comic-Con *Special Edition* is this weekend from November 26-28 and there’s still tickets left. While it’s not the same as years past, there will still be fun exhibits and panels for attendees to enjoy.

The City of San Diego’s Taste of December Nights will be back from December 3-5 at Balboa Park. This year, the event will host food vendors and food trucks in a drive-thru setting.

Upcoming Hearings

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The California Competes Grant guidelines for FY 2021-22 have now been posted. The application period will start on January 3, 2022 with $120 million available. More information can be found here in the coming weeks. Applications must be submitted by January 24.
  • 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 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