Legislative Update – September 9 - SD Regional Chamber

Legislative Update – September 9

President Biden rolled out vaccine mandates that are almost certainly going to be challenged in court. Big toplines: mandatory vaccines for large employers of 100 or more, doubling of fines for folks who are non-compliant on planes, and requirements that healthcare workers be vaccinated. As of this writing, the President has just signed two executive orders requiring federal workers and contractors be vaccinated. So by the time you read this, probably more will have happened so you should probably google that.

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress named their new country the “United States”, replacing the “United Colonies”. The more you know ✨💫

Business News

Great news for our Chamber member, Chosen Foods! Chosen Foods LLC has reached an agreement to partner with Butterfly, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in agriculture & aquaculture, food & beverage products, food distribution and foodservice. Headquartered in San Diego, Chosen Foods is an avocado-centric brand that brings sustainably sourced, high-quality avocado products to families nationwide. Keep on growing, Chosen Foods!

Call to Action: New Urban West’s Trails at Carmel Mountain Ranch is on its way to City Council on Tuesday, September 14 at 2:00pm and we need your advocacy! Learn how you can provide support here.  The Chamber is proud to support this project which will provide 1,200 homes, preserve 110+ acres of permanent open space, and near jobs & transit.

Legislative Updates


Federal:
 

Here we go: Two staff sergeants have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA about the vaccine mandate. They argue that those that have already had COVID-19 should not be required to get vaccinated. Wait til they see the Biden EO’s.

It’s baaaaaack: the CFPB isn’t messing around under the Biden administration, and they want you to know that. A memo that was recently made public outlined a robust return to their enforcement efforts and a revived focus on those homeowners hurt by COVID. More simply put, “The bureau is looking closely at how consumers have been treated amid the confusion and uncertainty everyone faced….there are direct concerns for anybody with consumer facing businesses…and how it changed to reflect the COVID-19 mandates,” according to CFPB leadership.

The August jobs numbers really missed the mark. Like big time. Huge. The US put up 235,000 new jobs in August, much below the projected 725,000 number. While the recovery generally has been steady and encouraging, the US remains 5.3 million jobs behind where it was in Feb-2020 (aka “the before times”).

Mo’ money, mo’ problems, ammiright Chuck Schumer? The $3.5 trillion spending proposal has Sen. Manchin writing op-eds asking for a “strategic pause,” to which Senator Schumer has basically said, “no way, bro.” The price tag has given Senate Dems lots of feelings, from Sen. Sanders saying it’s probably too low, to Sen. Manchin & Sen. Synema saying it’s much too expensive. There’s a soft deadline of 9/15 language release of the plan, but hard to tell if they will be able to herd all the cats when everyone heads back to DC.

Chamber member Aya Healthcare has released a study on the issues surrounding the nationwide nursing shortage and insights on how to heal and advance a post-pandemic workforce.

International:

U.S. and Mexico officials met in Washington, D.C. this morning to start a High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED). This formal convening will center on binational collaboration in economic recovery, promoting sustainable economic and social development in Southern Mexico and Central America, investing in people and human capital (focus on education), and securing the tools for future prosperity.  Chamber member Monarch Global Strategies also issued this thorough analysis on the HLED.

Baja Governor-elect Marina del Pilar Avila met with Lieutenant Governor Elena Kounalakis to identify opportunities for binational collaboration and boost economic development on both sides of the border. Avila also announced that the state of Baja will open an office in Silicon Valley to promote tech innovation in the Cali-Baja region, and to strategize ways to connect talent across both states.

With 102 votes in favor and two against, the Mexican Senate passed the Presidential Mandate Revocation bill which would allow the early termination and removal from office of President Lopez Obrador next March. In Mexico, Presidents remain in office for a six-year term. The bill specifies that the revocation process will only proceed at the request of citizens. The bill is now waiting for a vote at the Chamber of Deputies.

Advancements on border infrastructure? Yes, please! The new northbound pedestrian bridge extension opened on Sunday at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The bridge will connect the port to the Otay Mesa Transit Center and facilitate mobility.

Mexico’s Supreme Court voted unanimously to decriminalize abortion. The ruling comes as a powerful women’s movement is transforming Mexico, where 6 female politicians will take office as Governors this fall and already represent half of Congress.

After a 17-month closure, schools in Mexico have reopened for the 2021 school year. Despite early predictions of 20 million students going back to class, only about 12.6 million students showed up this week. Think Tanks suggest schools should adopt measures to attract students who dropped out during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chamber member Tijuana EDC extends an invitation to join their 2nd Borderless Business Congress taking place October 4 – 9. In partnership with the Chamber and other business organizations, our dynamic binational region will be showcased virtually and onsite to demonstrate our unique strengths and resources which make us a hub for foreign direct investment across industries.

State:

The recall election is only days away, so get those ballots in! Some candidates have been using some *interesting* ads

Governor Newsom has proposed $16.7 million in aid and a partnership with Airbnb for arriving Afghan refugees.

California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) has launched calosba.ca.gov: a new website that provides state resources for the small business community including a technical assistance program, financing information, a business learning center, information on permits, licenses, and regulations and more.

SB 95, the bill that would extend the paid sick leave program under COVID and address liabilities for employers enforcing vaccine requirements is dead.

Congratulations to Chamber member, Clarissa Falcon of Falcon Strategies, for being appointed to the California Transportation Commission!

Local:

San Diego County homebuilding is up nearly 25% in the first half of this year. At this pace, we could reach 10,000 new homes by the end of the year – although that’s still short of what we need to alleviate the housing shortage.

San Diego is dedicating $1 million towards a new workforce development program coordinated by the San Diego Workforce Partnership addressing education, job training and placement for people between 16 and 24.

San Diego State recently received $9 million in federal grants to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The grants will focus on preventing COVID-19 in schools, households, and addressing vaccine hesitancy. A key component of the grant will incorporate widespread at home testing.

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The County is currently pursuing recent Board direction to establish Fair Employment Standards on County construction projects and county-owned leased property.  A virtual public input roundtable is scheduled for tonight, September 9 at 6:00pm. The Board is tentatively scheduled to consider adoption of an ordinance on October 5. More information on the ordinance is available on the County website.
  • The County is holding a public workshop on September 13 at 6:00pm to seek input in the development of the regional decarbonization framework. Joining the workshop will be Elena Crete, Climate & Energy Program Manager for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
  • The County is holding a public webinar to receive input on their socially equitable cannabis program and ordinance development for the five existing dispensaries on September 13 at 6:00pm.

It’s San Diego Design Week! This annual five-day celebration of our binational design community has a number of virtual & in-person programs and events you can check out this weekend.

Upcoming Hearings

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The City of San Diego in partnership with The San Diego Foundation is offering the Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund. Applications will be accepted until September 24 at 5 pm. Grants are not first come first serve, and all applications will be reviewed after September 24.
  • The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in California or stay and grow in California. Businesses of any industry, size or location are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted from July 26, 2021 – August 16, 2021 for the first period.
  • 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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