2017 Local Policy Agenda

Executive Summary

In 2017, CLSA will continue to direct and expand its one-of-a-kind locally-focused program throughout the state. California has 58 Counties, and 482 municipalities, each with its own governmental role and procedures. CLSA actively monitors and responds to legislation in each of these jurisdictions as appropriate for our members.

CLSA is the central—oftentimes the only—voice providing the industry’s concerns to local officeholders, governmental personnel, and community organizations. No other state or national life science organization is working at this level of government throughout the state, and many of them look to CLSA for updates and guidance on issues at the local level. Further, outside of the high-profile, nationally- focused takeback efforts in Los Angeles County, CLSA is the only organization lobbying local officials and providing testimony before Boards of Supervisors in any other County or City on drugs/sharps takeback ordinances as they move from County to County.

CLSA will continue to grow our engagement in Southern California in 2017 through events with local elected leaders, coalitions with regional associations, and partnerships with area members. A planned roundtable with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in the Spring and a second annual Public Officials Reception in the County will cultivate relationships and promote the CLSA brand.

CLSA will continue to focus on the Bay Area in 2017 as well. CLSA partners with numerous business, regional, and community groups to provide a strong life sciences voice on behalf of the Bay Area sector. Concerns in 2017 will focus on economic growth of the region, transportation and commuting for employees of our member companies, a 3rd Annual STEM Career Day, and further plans around the changes coming to Mission Bay in San Francisco.

These and other issues are outlined in additional detail below.

Drug And Sharps Takeback

CLSA has actively engaged in educating local government officials and stakeholders on the adverse effects take-back proposals will have on the life sciences innovation ecosystem. CLSA has been at the forefront in all local jurisdictions considering the issue. In fact, CLSA is generally the only organization providing the industry’s concerns at the local level, outside of the high-profile Los Angeles County response.

Los Angeles County:

With a population of 10 million, Los Angeles County is the focal point for many national associations in the industry in 2017, CLSA will continue to play a key leadership role in coordinating our strategies of industry partners such as AdvaMed, BIO, the Consumer Health Products Association (CHPA), Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), and PhRMA. Our coalition hosts weekly phone calls, shares materials and research, updates each other on the lay of the land, lobbies and testifies together, and provides joint written materials to the Board of Supervisors and County staff.

Over the last two years, the County of Los Angeles has held a series of stakeholder hearings, discussions before the Board of Supervisors, and other staff meetings in which CLSA took an active part throughout. In the most recent hearing before the Board of Supervisors in November 2016, the Los Angeles County’s Extended Producer Responsibility Working Group presented its concerns around the industry’s alternative proposal for an education initiative.

Two new members were sworn into the Board in December following the elections in November. Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D) took the seat held by Supervisor Don Knabe (R), while Kathryn Barger, the former Chief of Staff of outgoing Supervisor Mike Antonovich (R) took over her boss’ position on the Board. With this, the dynamics of the Board changed from 3 Democrats to 2 Republicans to a larger Democratic majority of 4-1. Additionally, 4 of the 5 seats will now be held by women. Following the recent hearing by the Board of Supervisors castigating the industry over drug disposal plans, and overall drug pricing issues, we can expect the new Board to pursue a County EPR ordinance on pharmaceuticals and sharps takeback in 2017. CLSA will continue to be at the forefront of industry’s response.

Sonoma County:

Sonoma County’s Water Agency and Department of Health Services provided an informational presentation on takeback and extended producer responsibility during a ‘Study Session’ before the Board of Supervisors in October of 2016. CLSA coordinated with the North Bay Life Science Alliance in sending formal letters of industry concerns, lobbying Supervisors, and testifying together before the Board. Following the ‘Study Session,’ the Board of Supervisors unanimously directed the County staff to move forward with takeback efforts in Sonoma County. A draft ordinance was expected to come to the Board before the end of 2016. However, this did not occur. The County plans to put forward an ordinance in early 2017 and CLSA is currently in discussions with County staff.

Contra Costa County:

At the tail end of 2016 in late December, the County of Contra Costa in the East Bay quickly introduced and passed its own drug takeback ordinance. Contra Costa had originally been one of the earliest counties looking at this issue as Supervisor Mary Piepho had held a discussion several years ago at the same time Alameda County was researching. However, the County had held back since then. However, in her final meeting before being retiring, Supervisor Piepho ushered through a drug takeback ordinance. The Board voted to include a six-month report-back for 2017 which will investigate the possible inclusion of sharps in the takeback ordinance, and the possibility of working with the Cities in the County to broaden the  ordinance beyond the unincorporated parts of the County. In this period, CLSA will continue its outreach to Contra Costa County in 2017.

Santa Barbara County:

After a year of county-wide discussion, community presentations, and county staff deliberations, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department presented its findings along with a recommended draft ordinance for drug takeback to the Board of Supervisors in June. Following an extensive discussion at the hearing, the five-member Board passed a drug takeback ordinance by a vote of 3-1 with 1 abstention. CLSA provided the only formal opposition to the ordinance by letter and testified before the Board in person. The Board Chair provided the first ever vote by a County Supervisor throughout California in opposition vote to the ordinance and stated he found CLSA’s points “compelling.”

San Diego County:

Similar to the early activities in other counties which passed an ordinance, the County of San Diego in  Southern California started surveying residents of the County in 2016. The surveys sought residents’ opinions on the overall issues of drug and sharps disposal, as well as whether takeback would be an option they would approve.

Bay Area Counties:

The Counties of Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin and Contra Costa have now all passed similar takeback ordinances and are collaborating on implementation preparations. In 2016, five of these Counties jointly sent a letter to the California State Board of Pharmacy detailing their concerns over proposed regulations that could interfere with their implementation plans. In 2017, with the strong possibility of a passage in Sonoma County early in the year, and a potential collaborative passage with Mendocino County, the entire San Francisco Bay Area will have county-by-county based drug takeback ordinances. It is expected that they will continue to work together to pursue a coordinated goal for the region. CLSA will continue to advocate in the region for the industry’s concerns in 2017.


CLSA has produced a chart highlighting County-by-County takeback legislative efforts and discussions throughout the state through the end of 2016. CLSA will continue to advocate in all Counties throughout the state, and update its informational chart as further takeback developments occur in 2017.

Other Issues By Locality

While the issue of takeback dominates much of the current outlay in the Counties around California, CLSA also tackles many other issues related to the life sciences, directly and indirectly, through advocacy and work with our members. CLSA actively participates in numerous business, regional, and community groups throughout the state to provide a voice for the life sciences.

City of Los Angeles:


CLSA has initiated conversations with the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to hold a roundtable in the spring of 2017. Similar to the model created in 2016 with the roundtable with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, CLSA plans to coordinate with the mayor’s office, local member companies, and CLSA Board Members for a C-Suite style discussion.

This will provide an important step in strengthening our relations with the City as we continue to grow our Life Science Sector in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California in 2017.

County of Los Angeles:


Despite Los Angeles County working on drug/sharps takeback legislation which burdens our industry, they are at the same time hoping to encourage the life sciences industry to develop and grow within County lines. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been one of our more supportive voices at the County Board on takeback, organized a panel discussion in late 2016 on just such a concept. CLSA participated in the meeting and will take part in continued discussions and planning in 2017.

City and County of San Francisco:

In 2017, four new members are joining the Board of Supervisors. Three were elected while one was appointed in replace former Supervisor Scott Wiener as he was elected to the state Senate. They are Supervisors Sandra Fewer, Hillary Ronen, Ahsha Safai, and Jeff Sheehy, respectively. All of the eleven supervisors are Democrats—the internecine fights occur between differing factions called ‘moderates’ and ‘progressives.’ With its new 2017 status, the Board of Supervisors has a one-vote advantage for the moderates working with the moderate Mayor Lee.


CLSA continues to work closely with our companies in Mission Bay, the San Francisco

Chamber of Commerce, and other City business and trade groups to move this issue forward. CLSA regularly participates in the City’s Business Tax Advisory Group (BTAG) and will continue to advocate on our concerns over the tax policy in 2017.


In January, CLSA co-convened an advocacy day at San Francisco City Hall with the Chamber of Commerce and over twenty other business organizations in the City. The event, known as “Business Comes to City Hall,” featured an all day lineup of panels led by members from the government and business community.

These panels included policy discussions on the city budget, business taxes, housing affordability, transportation congestion and planning, and public safety. Meetings were also held with the offices of Mayor Ed Lee, City Controller, City Treasurer, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, numerous Supervisors, and City staff.


In 2017, CLSA will once again partner with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, San Francisco Unified School District, City College, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, UCSF Science and Health Education Partnership, CLSI, and many of our Mission Bay companies to develop and hold the 3rd Annual San Francisco STEM Career Day. More than 100 high school students from three City high schools participated in 2016 and visited local companies and businesses. Volunteers from the life science community also have served as mentors in roundtable discussions.


In 2015, CLSA formed a Working Group on the issue of the planned building of the Golden Gate Warrior’s new stadium within Mission Bay in San Francisco. As Mission Bay is considered the home of our life science cluster in San Francisco, our industry became part of the debate on the building of the new stadium. At the time, CLSA signed a joint letter with our Mission Bay companies that supported the concept of the arena and recognized the continued constructive civic conversations on the impact of the stadium to the Mission Bay neighborhood.

Since then, the green light was given by the City for the building of the Warriors Stadium in Mission Bay. A small opposition group known as the “Mission Bay Alliance” spent much of 2016 fighting against them in the courts, however those efforts were unsuccessful.

The Warriors are holding a ground-breaking ceremony in Mission Bay in early 2017. CLSA will continue to engage with City Hall and our area membership in managing the growth and success of the Mission Bay neighborhood as a whole.

City of South San Francisco:


CLSA actively participates in numerous business and community groups to provide a voice for the life sciences in the larger fabric of economic vitality. This outreach includes working within many local and regional transportation collaborations to provide our members with support for their business’ commuting concerns. In South San Francisco, CLSA is currently assisting member companies who are banding together to develop a last-mile commuting option for their employees. In 2016, CLSA helped to form the South San Francisco East of Highway 101 Commuting Coalition.

East of Highway 101 is where most biotech companies are located in SSF. That area also has no public transportation options. With the drive to SSF getting more difficult due to congestion and traffic, the routing concerns of the private shuttles providing service to the closest public transportation options has become a huge focus. CLSA organized meetings in 2016 with presentations by the City of SSF, Samtrans (San Mateo bus system), (East of 101 public/private shuttle system), and private shuttle operators to the table with our members to discuss options for the future. CLSA will continue leading the group in ongoing conversations around potential new routes, public transportation plans, City/County/regional support for commuting options, and more throughout 2017. CLSA member companies, particular in the San Francisco Bay Area, have noted with greater urgency that transportation, and housing affordability, are top concerns for their businesses.


CLSA continues to work closely with the City of South San Francisco on efforts supporting the life sciences in the City. CLSA has worked with the City as they held regular Biotech Town Halls over the last few years and helped to promote STEM education opportunities locally. In early 2017, CLSA and the City co- sponsored a luncheon and tour for leaders from San Francisco State University as they sought to broaden their scope in the life sciences.

County of Sonoma:

  • GMOs

Sonoma County had a ballot measure in November 2016 to ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the County. The Sonoma County Transgenic Contamination Prevention Ordinance, known as Measure M, was passed by 56% of the voters. The measure had been supported by a group called the Citizens for Healthy Farms and Families and opposed by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and a variety of agricultural life science technology companies, such as Bayer, Monsanto, Syngenta and others. Many North Bay Counties have similar bans and the proponents of the bans were pleased to add Sonoma to the region. Potential new counties may look to add the ban in 2017 and CLSA will continue to monitor for the industry.

City of Richmond:


Following the passage of the expanded ban on polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) in San Francisco in 2016, the City of Richmond took up the issue late in the year as well. CLSA has lobbied the Mayor’s Chief of Staff on replicating the waiver San Francisco’s Department of the Environment developed related over cold storage medical shipping. The legislation is planned to move forward in 2017 and CLSA will continue its work in regards to the waiver.

Extensive Local Tracking System

CLSA continues its tracking system to extensively monitor all County-level policy issues throughout the state. With this new framework, CLSA is able to keep an eye on life sciences policy-related activities in each of the 58 Counties. As we have seen with the growing patchwork of local ordinances on extended producer responsibility/take back, increased local discussions on any of our community’s issues are not only possible, but expected. Discussions around drug pricing, given the failure of the 2016 statewide ballot measure, are especially primed for possible localized debates and resolutions.