Legislative Update – October 7 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – October 7

Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down this week, and we all pretended we didn’t absentmindedly click those icons dozens of times waiting for the refresh. Related: Zuckerberg is having a really bad week.

We hope you enjoyed the lightning show a few nights ago, and now that you’ve found your umbrella (or made your annual umbrella purchase like some of us), don’t put it away because we have rain coming again tomorrow!

The LEAD Visionary Awards are on Wednesday, October 27th. We aren’t biased or anything, and we definitely don’t share office walls with our LEAD friends, but we’re confident this is going to be a great event that you don’t want to miss.

Business News

SeaWorld is on standby to assist animals affected by the oil spill in Orange County, and, don’t you just love ‘em for it?

We’re getting a new terminal! Our beloved, and very well-used, T1 has crossed another major milestone to its redevelopment when the board voted this morning to approve the maximum contract price and the master project schedule.

Sharp HealthCare recently began construction of their new Prebys Innovation and Education Center, a new hub for Sharp innovation!

The holidays are right around the corner (breathe, it’s okay, we promise). If you are a small business and want to be featured in the Small Business Majority’s 2022 Gift Guide, you can submit your info here.

On Wednesday, Home Depot and Walmart announced their new partnership for home delivery. Walmart’s GoLocal service will start taking Home Depot deliveries in select stores, with plans to expand operations by the end of the year.

Republic Services celebrated the grand opening of their Otay compost facility located in Chula Vista.

Legislative Updates


Federal:
 

The debt limit debate continues to keep us on our toes, which is not as exciting as it sounds. McConnell announced a senate deal to avert crisis, and expects votes as soon as tonight. However, there’s already some grumbling about a “total capitulation” by the Republicans, because nothing is easy. So if the vote is successful (we’d gamble yes), we get to revisit all of this again in December.

Some clarifications from the White House Safer Federal Workforce Task Force: Religious and medical exemptions from vaccination from federal employees may be denied for certain jobs where no other safety protocol is sufficient.

How will OSHA regulate and enforce this? Well, TBD.

The Task Force also released guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors, and a helpful Q&A (how to determine a medical or religious exemption, applications for remote work, etc.) Agencies can begin disciplinary actions on November 9th for employees who refuse vaccination.

Not enough salt? The 2nd Circuit ruled against states that brought suit against the SALT cap that was part of President Trump’s tax reform.

Senator Warren is pushing ahead with a bill to require anyone who pays out in a ransomware attack disclose that pay to the Department of Homeland Security. She even got a bipartisan assist from Senator Portman.

President Biden makes big news by making changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by…. Making it work. Kidding! (kind of) The program has historically rejected 98% of applicants, which spurred the administration to reform eligibility. They say that the waiver “alone would bring 550,000 borrowers closer to student-debt relief automatically). Do you qualify?

Energy Star is also making moves, albeit very quiet ones. They recently announced that zero gas appliances will be shown on its next “most efficient” list, which is a nod to the regulatory trends to move toward electric appliances and building. For anyone wondering why you care what Energy Star recommends, it’s a subset of the EPA.

International:

Looking to tap into new international markets? The Ahlers Center at USD is launching the Global Market Navigator Program specifically designed for San Diego exporters. This six-part lecture series will provide participants with the practical tools and techniques to ramp up their international sales presence.

Mayor Gloria travelled last week to Washington D.C. to lobby officials on issues impacting San Diego, such as lifting border restrictions and securing funding to address transboundary pollution at the Tijuana River Valley. Supervisor Nora Vargas joined virtually and also recently shared that the County secured $2 million to address transboundary pollution as part of the County’s $13 million ARPA fund allocation for investments in stormwater, sewer, and drinking water infrastructure.

President Lopez Obrador will travel to Baja next week for three days to meet with state authorities to discuss efforts to integrate migrants from South America and other Mexican states. He was last in our region back in June when he visited Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada and San Quintin. #BCinMX: Governor-elect Marina del Pilar was in Mexico City this week and met with the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs to discuss efforts to advance border infrastructure, ensure water sanitation, promote economic development, and migration issues.

Following the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, federal authorities from both countries will convene to kick off a High Level Security Dialogue to build on recent discussions to prevent cross-border crime and pursuing criminal networks while promoting human rights. The U.S. delegation includes DHS Secretary Mayorkas and State Secretary Blinken.

Five new mayors took office across Baja last week, including Monteserat Caballero as the first elected female mayor in Tijuana’s history. The Chamber has met with Mayor Caballero and looks forward to continued collaboration with the City of Tijuana under her leadership.

The Mexico Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai was inaugurated this week under the name Weaving lives. The Pavillion incorporates a unique hand-woven façade by the emblematic weavers of Etzatlán, Jalisco, where it shows its cultural potential to the millions of visitors expected during the next six months.

The BajaMak industrial expo will take place on October 21 in Rosarito. The annual event aims to strengthen regional supply chains through industrial exhibitions, B2B meetings, conferences, and workshops. To join and/or participate as an exhibitor, visit their website.

SAVE THE DATE! Our upcoming International Business Affairs Forum will take place virtually on November 11 at 10:00a.m. Register here and stay tuned for more information.

State:

Governor Newsom has less than a week left to get through the bills on his desk, as he faces down the October 10 bill signing deadline.

But remember last week when the Governor announced all teachers and students who are eligible must receive the vaccine to participate in in-person learning? Of course you do, you read these emails and you are IN.FORMED. Anyway, there’s a loophole, and Senator Pan might be closing it via legislation next session. Stay tuned.

Field trip, anyone? The First Partner’s Office and the Natural Resources Agency is offering a free California State Park Adventure Pass for fourth graders and their families in 19 parks across the state.

The oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach has revived efforts to restrict offshore drilling. State legislators are calling for an end to offshore drilling, but their jurisdiction only goes so far (three miles from the coastline, to be exact). US Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein are helping the effort by pushing for S. 59 – West Coast Ocean Protection Act to ban oil drilling in federal waters off the West Coast.

CARB has published its draft strategies for their State Implementation Plan, which is the process by which they meet GHG emission reduction goals. The 61 page report is accessible here.

Local:

Supervisor Nora Vargas introduced a board letter that will lead to the creation of the Office of Economic Prosperity & Community development in San Diego County. This department will help boost our economy & close economic gaps for communities of color, we are proud to have the Chamber working in support of that effort!

The City of San Diego would like to remind you that minimum wage will be $15 starting in January 2022. Not in the City? The state minimum wage will also increase, to $14 OR $15 per hour, depending on how many employees you have.

The SBDC is partnering with the county to help small businesses learn how to do business with the County. Starting this week, a new module will be held on the first Wednesday of the month. Register here.

The County and its Live Well partners have received $9 million in grant funding to address childhood obesity. A couple of the initiatives that will be funded through these grants will address COVID-19 health disparities and health literacy.

#DigitalDSD Update: The City of San Diego’s development services department will resume virtual structural recheck appointments for resubmittals that have minor remaining issues. While we’re on the topic, don’t forget to take advantage of other #DigitalDSD services include all new permits being processed online and virtual or in-person appointments.

SDSU has joined a $102 million initiative to plan for ways to support more diverse school principal recruitments.

Over $1 million in property tax bills have been mailed out and are available to view and pay here. This year’s property taxes are expected to generate $7.6 billion in local revenue to support public health, public schools and essential services.

We love sustainability and housing: The San Diego Green Homes Tour is set for Sunday, October 17 from 11 am – 4 pm. The event brings together hundreds of members from the community to showcase innovation in green building and design.

The City of San Diego has received federal funding for a Regional Cyber Innovation Center, which hopes to establish coordinated cybersecurity efforts and awareness.

Do you live or work Downtown? Help our DSDP friends out and complete their 2021 Demographic Study Survey.

The public comment period for the SANDAG Regional Plan’s environmental impact report (EIR) ends on October 11. The EIR assesses how the plan will impact air quality, water, land use, greenhouse gas emissions, and more. SANDAG’s responses to public comments are expected to be released by the end of this year.

Other highlights from this week’s County BOS Hearings include:

  • Directed staff to advance efforts and move forward with an economic analysis of a Working Families ordinance
  • Directed staff to report on ways to improve IHSS and provide support to workers and clients
  • Directed staff to coordinate efforts with Congress for Afghan refugee housing and resettlement
  • Approved zoning changes to allow the five existing cannabis facilities the option to expand and sell recreational products
  • Approved vaccination requirements for new County hires

And from this week’s City Council Hearings:

  • Unanimously approved Cross Border Xpress’ expansion plan to begin construction
  • Unanimously approved UC San Diego’s proposal to amend the Uptown Community Plan to begin reconstruction of the Hillcrest Medical campus
  • Approved Mayor Gloria’s proposal to establish a $5 million tenant Legal Defense Fund, to be administered by the SDHC

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • Have you checked out what’s in the 2021 Land Development Code Update yet? There are 36 items that make amendments to the general zoning and fiber optic ordinances (cough, and maybe no more drive-thrus, cough). Staff anticipate that the Update will be heard at the Planning Commission in late October.  If you have any questions or want to engage via the Chamber, please contact Angeli Calinog.
  • The online engagement survey for the University City Community Plan Update is now live and open until October 31. The plan has different housing and job options for five focus areas in the community to weigh in on.

Upcoming Hearings

  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on October 8.
  • The San Diego City Council will meet on October 11 and October 12.
  • The San Diego City Budget and Government Efficiency Committee will meet on October 13.
  • The San Diego City Active Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will meet on October 13.
  • The San Diego City Land Use and Housing Committee will meet on October 14.
  • The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will meet on October 19 and October 20.
  • The San Diego City Planning Commission will meet on October 21.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • 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.
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