fbpx Skip to main content

Subscribe to Biocom California’s Life Science Public Policy Newsletter

California Reopens but Employers Seek Clarification

  • 2021-06-17T15:00:00.000+0000
  • Author: Megan Waddell

In a major milestone for economic recovery from the pandemic, California reopens this week allowing full capacity at venues like baseball stadiums and outdoor concerts and giving businesses the opportunity to decide if they will require customers to wear masks indoors. In anticipation of reopening, the Cal-OSHA Standards Board met twice in June to establish workplace regulations on social distancing and mask requirements but ultimately deferred a decision to their meeting today, June 17. During the meeting, the board voted to adopt the draft regulations that were posted on their website on June 11 including allowing fully vaccinated persons to go unmasked in most places.

On the federal floor this week, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill aimed to preserve America’s competitive edge in science and technology internationally by creating mechanisms to support US based basic research and provide funding to the top focus areas. Biocom California Policy Staff continue to educate lawmakers on the danger of the price setting bill, HR3, by working with patient groups to express the negative impact on patient access to innovative treatments. The staff hosted and participated in informative webinars on this topic that you can view here.

In the swing of budget season, President Biden released his $6 trillion budget proposal which would allocate more funding for federal programs like NIH, FDA, and the CDC along with a tax reform proposal to increase revenue by $3.6 trillion over 10 years. The California State Legislature passed a $267 billion “placeholder” budget as they faced a constitutional deadline of June 15 to pass the state budget or face forfeiture of salary. They will need to negotiate many details with Governor Newsom before the June 30 deadline to have a final budget.

As most counties in California are under a drought emergency declared by Governor Newsom, dwindling water supplies are forcing Bay Area water agencies to consider restrictive measures to conserve water. Santa Clara County is taking action as the Santa Clara Valley Water District declared a drought emergency and its board set a target to reduce water use countywide by 15% of 2019 levels. Other counties seem to be following suit as the San Jose Water Company has shared the intention of creating its own drought plan. Biocom California asked for clarification on any plans to restrict water usage on businesses, specifically life science businesses that depend on reliable water access. As of now, we have been assured that cutback measures are focused only on residential and outdoor water use.

Finally, in San Diego, Biocom California staff are working with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce to provide feedback to the City of San Diego on permitting reform to address delays and inconsistency in the process. SANDAG is also requesting input from residents on the 2021 Regional Plan driving long-term improvements to regional infrastructure.