January 13- Weekly Update

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a decision (a 6-3 vote) on the President’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 employees or more: Nope.

In striking down the directive from OSHA, the right-leaning Justices based their decision on who has the authority to require a mandate and stated that “states and congress do”, but not OSHA. The dissenting calls the ruling “not wise.” Meanwhile, everyone has Omicron.

If you are now scratching your head about who is allowed to require vaccines and wondering if maybe you’ve fallen into a time loop where the same questions are asked and never answered, we’re here to help. Employers are still allowed to require their employees be vaccinated. You are still allowed (encouraged!) to encourage vaccines if a mandate feels like a lot of paperwork. Vaccines remain the best path out of the pandemic, even though this 400th month of 2020 is taxing us all.

Business News: 

TuSimple recently made its first semi-truck driverless run in Arizona. The company believes self-driving technology will strengthen US supply chains by being able to make longer journeys faster, safer, and more fuel efficient.

The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis and the major blood supply shortages for all blood types have impacted patient care. Along with the San Diego Blood Bank, the Red Cross encourages individuals to schedule their donation today, or reach out to the Blood Bank’s recruitment department or call 619-400-8124 if your business is interested in hosting a mobile blood drive.  Appointments are encouraged but not required.

Legislative Updates


Federal:
 

Noses at the ready! The Centers for Medicaid Services released the official guidance on COVID-19 tests being reimbursed by private or group insurance plans as of January 15th. Check it out here. But some quick numbers: 8 tests per month per individual will be covered at up to $12/test. Tri-agency guidance summary also available here.

It’s a week of hitting records that nobody wanted. First: record cases, but you knew that already. Second, a new record inflation rate- 7%, the highest in forty years. But your wallet knew that too, didn’t it?

The IRS thought you might need some more not-great news, so they bravely stepped up to tell you that tax filing season begins on the 24th. But also, don’t ask for a lot of help because they have backlogs. Nailed it.

The Biden administration has made the buff people (and the aspiring!) upset. A coalition of gyms and health clubs has asked for additional support as they’ve faced pressure from COVID and COVID-related restrictions and were, seemingly, rebuffed (get it?!) by comments from WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki. This at a time during a major surge where many industries are starting to wonder about another stimulus effort from the feds.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published an analysis that says the three main credit reporting bureaus may be in hot water about responding to customer complaints about errors on credit reports. CFPB, which has gotten some new energy under the Biden administration has put the bureaus on notice as being in violation (possibly) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

International:

North Korea claims Kim Jong II invented burritos and you could almost hear Mexicans everywhere going “HOLD ME BACK BRO, HOLD ME BACK!!”. The country has also claimed that they discovered a mythical unicorn lair and that their fierce leader climbed an active volcano. Yeah, okaay.

Remember that one time a mafia fugitive got caught after posting a YouTube cooking video? His cooking skills landed him in jail after 7 years on the run. Now, after 20 years evading the police, another Italian mafia fugitive got arrested in Spain after being spotted on Google Street View.

Update on the USMCA drama: the U.S. prevailed in the dispute over dairy. Canada was a happy loser, though, noting that the dispute settlement panel recognized the legitimacy of Canada’s supply management system. That said, Mexico is still upset and requested that independent trade experts determine whose interpretation of the rules of origin is correct.

This month marks the anniversary of Brexit. What on Earth did that achieve? There were some changes for businesses including new import/export declarations and tariffs on goods which originated outside of the EU/UK regions. Lots of confusion usually follows new trade agreements, and 2022 may bring more stability than 2021.

Baja’s Economy and Innovation Secretary, and former Tijuana Mayor, Kurt Honold visited Mexico City to meet with federal authorities and other diplomatic bodies to discuss efforts to attract foreign investment and economic development in our border region. His emphasis was on electric vehicle manufacturing, creative industries, maritime infrastructure, railways, and border infrastructure.

Baja suspended the return to face-to-face learning which was previously announced for this upcoming Monday. Kudos to moms that continue to multitask at home. They deserve all the wine they want.

The CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife announced its 2022 Draft Proposition for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection project funds (psst…this grant includes priority for border projects). An online public meeting will be held on January 19, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. to review the draft solicitation and gather comments from the public.

The 33rd Annual Meeting of Mexican Ambassadors and Consuls took place this week where diplomats reaffirmed their commitment to serve their country and highlighted objectives for the new year including actively cooperate for economic recovery, continue with the promotion and consolidation of women in politics, promote options to migratory phenomena, and highlight multilateralism.

Baja’s Maquiladora and Export Industry Association will host its first monthly meeting via Zoom on January 18th at 8:00a.m. Special speakers include Baja’s Economy and Innovation Secretary Kurt Honold, and our very own Jerry Sanders! Click here to register.

State:

Governor Newsom unveiled his 2022/23 budget proposal in a marathon press conference on Monday. Toplines: $286.4 billion budget with an anticipated $47B surplus (whoa). This includes the $2.7B he announced for expanded COVID testing and vaccine. He did include $3B over numerous years to address the gaping unemployment insurance fund debt which could bring some relief to employers who would otherwise foot that bill. $40 million to waive filing fees for new business, and an additional $150 million to continue the small business COVID-19 grant program. There’s a TON more, but this is a newsletter not a book report, so you can check out the official summary here, or this twitter thread. (*Disclaimer: this is a proposal. Lots of negotiating will happen between now and the unveiling of the May Revise).

Yesterday, the Governor made a stop in San Diego to provide more budget proposal details on his plan to spend $2 billion on combating homelessness.

The state’s hospital association has popped a flare and says that the hospital system will be “overwhelmed” due to Omicron in the next 4-6 weeks as they project record hospitalizations. This as some are hoping that we have reached the “peak” in new cases. Please, be very careful out there everyone.

As we mentioned last week, single-payer health care discussions are back and AB 1400, Democratic lawmakers’ proposal for CalCare, advanced out of the Assembly Health Committee. The bill needs to advance out of the Assembly by the end of the month and The funding measure, ACA 11, is still yet to be heard in a committee.

Campaign szn is a go. The special primary election for Assembly District 80 will be on April 5, and the general election for this one will be on June 7 (yes, the same day as primaries for 2022 midterm elections).

Local:

If you missed last night’s state of the city, Mayor Todd Gloria tweeted his speech here and you can watch the video here. The Mayor focused on four issues: infrastructure, public safety, homelessness, and housing.

The City’s Planning Department is now taking 2022 land development code (LDC) update suggestions. Updating the code ensures consistency with new federal, state and local laws, and also helps streamline the development process. Suggestions must be submitted by March 31.

San Diego is now accepting applications for Spaces as Places, a program that allows eating and drinking establishments to apply to receive a two-year permit to expand outdoor experiences into the public right-of-way.

As mentioned briefly during his state of the City, Mayor Gloria’s team has created a working group with local and federal agencies here in San Diego to collaborate and bring the most opportunities for federal money to our region.

Thanks to the dedicated users of the Get it Done app, the city is stepping up its enforcement on abandoned vehicles. Vehicles left for over 72 hours will be removed in six days, significantly faster than the typical seven weeks. This is one of the quality of life issues Mayor Gloria looks to address, and will increase focus on other issues like road repairs, trash pickups and sidewalk problems.

Business helping with civic engagement? We’re listening. The County of San Diego Registrar of Voters is transitioning their staffed ballot drop off system to unstaffed permanent ballot drop boxes throughout the county (Read: easier to vote). They’re looking for businesses that may be interested in providing a ballot drop off location to expand their reach across San Diego. See if you’re located in a high priority area here, or email Andrew Pates if you’re interested in learning more.

The Regional Task Force on Homelessness’ annual WeAllCount has been moved to February 24 due to the recent COVID surge.

Also rescheduled due to COVID – SDUSD’s search for their next superintendent. Lamont Jackson will continue to serve as interim superintendent while the district focuses their efforts on getting through the latest surge.

Applications are open for Alliance Healthcare Foundation’s Innovation Initiative $1 million Challenge Grant. AHF seeks market-based and/or transformational systems-change solutions with the potential to improve access, quality and health outcomes for under-resourced communities. Applications are due by January 28.

Cleantech San Diego’s Annual Report is live. Among the many highlights included is confirmation that the California Energy Commission has granted Cleantech San Diego follow-on funding to continue the momentum of the Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN) program for another five years.

San Diego County Hearings recap:

  • Supervisor Nathan Fletcher snags a second term as Chair.
  • The BOS unanimously voted to authorize a temporary Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) program. The program will be reviewed in two years.
  • Voted 3-2 to approve an ordinance prohibiting “ghost guns” and requiring proper firearm storage. The BOS additionally requested an annual report on the impact of gun violence in San Diego County.

City of San Diego Hearings recap:

  • EDIR Committee heard the results of an assessment of childcare facilities in the City of San Diego. [TLDR: The City wants to make it easier to create more childcare facilities]. The committee voted to approve issuing a Request for Information for the City to identify potential childcare operators, and to work with the City Attorney and DSD to investigate legalities of any exemptions from zoning and CUPs.
  • A special committee has been created to oversee the process of hiring the next Independent Budget Analyst. The panel includes Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Councilmembers Monica Montgomery Steppe, Chris Cate and Raul Campillo. The application period to apply for the position is February 7.

Upcoming City Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

  • The Housing Action Package to implement Mayor Todd Gloria’s Homes For All of Us initiative is being heard today at the Land Use & Housing Committee and will be heard at City Council on February 1. Included in this package are SB 9 implementation and revisions to current ADU regulations. If you have any questions or feedback on the package, please contact Angeli Calinog.
  • The Planning Commission will hear Councilmember Joe LaCava’s Community Planning Group (CPG) reform proposal on January 20.
  • A new draft land use plan for De Anza Cove, part of the Mission Bay Park Master Plan, was released this week. Learn more or submit public comment here.

Upcoming County Public Input Opportunities Reminders:

Upcoming Hearings

  • The SANDAG Board of Directors will meet on January 14.
  • The San Diego City Council will be in legislative recess on January 17-18.
  • The San Diego City Environment Committee will meet on January 20.
  • The MTS Board of Directors will meet on January 20.

Capital Opportunities & Resources

  • The California Competes Grant guidelines for FY 2021-22 have now been posted and $120 million is 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.

Future Chamber Meetings (Virtual) & Committee Actions:

Transportation & Land Development Committee:
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 18 at 8:00am.

Chamber Summit: 

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 25 at 10 am. We’ll hear updates from the County on climate and workforce items moving forward in the new year.

Defense, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee: 

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 2 at 8:00am.

Sustainability & Industry Committee:

Our next meeting will be Thursday, February 3 at 8:00am.

Health Committee:
Our next meeting will be Wednesday, February 9 at 8:00am.

Top