2018 Local Policy Agenda

Executive Summary 

In 2018, CLSA expects to engage in local policy and advocacy in the following areas (priorities may change through the year):

  • Local Drugs/Sharps Take-Back Legislation
  • Polystyrene/Styrofoam Bans
  • San Francisco Gross Receipts Tax
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Education

In 2018, CLSA will:

  • Advance local policies in support of California’s life sciences ecosystem
  • Establish positive relationships and engagement with new/incoming local elected officials
  • Actively engage CLSA membership in local advocacy initiatives

We provide details in the memo below.

Local Legislative Environment

2018 promises to be a very busy year for local legislation and community relations. Our priority issues include the continuing spread of legislation mandating drugs and/or sharps take back, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and other educational initiatives, infrastructure planning and potential impacts on transportation and affordable housing, regional economic growth, workforce development, and many other local matters affecting the overall health of our life sciences sector.  CLSA incorporates the perspective of the life sciences sector into business and community networks. Ours is the only life sciences organization lobbying local officials and providing testimony before City Councils and Boards of Supervisors throughout the state.

CLSA’s 2018 Local Policy Agenda

In 2018, CLSA expects to engage in state policy and advocacy in the following areas (priorities may change through the year):

  1. Local Drugs/Sharps Take Back Legislation: Take-back proposals relating to drugs, sharps, or both, may have significant negative effects on life sciences innovation. (Please see “Additional information on Local Drugs/Sharps Take Back Legislation”, below).
  2. Polystyrene/Styrofoam Bans: Cities around the state have been considering more restrictive legislation banning the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam), and this legislation may have negative effects including impacts on cold-storage medical shipping. We expect that more Cities will research and consider these bans in 2018.
  3. San Francisco Gross Receipts Tax (GRT): In 2012, the passage of ballot measure “Proposition E” imposed a five-year transition from the existing payroll tax to a new gross receipts tax. To ensure that biotech innovators are not overly burdened by this tax in San Francisco, CLSA has been working to clarify that certain forms of income are excluded from the definition of “gross receipt”, e.g., funding from non-profit disease foundations, contract R&D or other non-grant funding from government agencies, and milestone payments from pharmaceutical company collaborations received prior to product commercialization.
  4. Transportation: Give voice to CLSA members’ concerns regarding commuting times and traffic congestion, which may affect life sciences organizations’ ability to recruit top talent. (Please see “Additional information on Transportation”, below).
  5. Housing: CLSA will continue to advocate for affordable housing, supported by appropriate city infrastructure and close to transportation hubs, that supports the success of the life sciences ecosystem in California.
  6. Education: CLSA will continue to work with local governments and communities to help promote workforce development for the life sciences through STEM education initiatives.

In 2018, CLSA will:

Advance local policies in support of California’s life sciences ecosystem

  • Take-back: Engage actively in educating local government officials and stakeholders on the adverse effects that take-back proposals will have on life sciences innovation. Be at the forefront in all local jurisdictions considering take-back and to testify at numerous hearings by County Board of Supervisors and City Councils around the state. Produce our County-by-County chart and map of take-back activities throughout California (ours is the only one currently available).
  • Polystyrene/Styrofoam: Monitor the numerous local discussions on polystyrene (Styrofoam) bans and oppose/amend bans that may affect life sciences products negatively.
  • Gross Receipts Tax: Work closely with our companies in Mission Bay, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and other City business and trade groups to represent our sector’s concerns regarding the Gross Receipts Tax. Participate regularly in the City’s Business Tax Advisory Group (BTAG) and be part of City Hall dialogue following the upcoming report on GRT to be released by the City Treasurer’s office in February. Monitor and engage in discussion with City leadership’s plans to clarify the language and features of the gross receipts tax plan.
  • Transportation: Expand our collaboration with local and regional transportation coalitions including the South San Francisco East of Highway 101 Commuting Coalition, Caltrain Commuter Coalition (C3), Get Us Moving (GUM) San Mateo, and the Water Transit Advocates coalition, and work with allies on Regional Measure 3 (RM3) and Bay Area Regional Transit (BART). (Please see “Additional information on Transportation”, below).
  • Housing: Engage with the City of South San Francisco (SSF) regarding the proposal for the first residential housing development within the life sciences cluster east of Highway 101.
  • Education: CLSA will continue to support the STEM Education initiatives of our partner, California Life Sciences Institute, including the BioGENEius Challenge and other programs through the year. For example, CLSA will also help produce the 4th Annual San Francisco STEM Career Day in March 2018, through partnership with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, San Francisco Unified School District, City College, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the UCSF Science and Health Education Partnership, CLSI, and many of our Mission Bay members. More than 100 high school students from three City high schools are expected to participate once again and visit local companies and businesses.

Establish positive relationships and engagement with new/incoming local elected officials.

“Business Comes to City Hall” (San Francisco City Hall Advocacy Day). CLSA is organizing the second annual City Hall Advocacy Day to be held on March 1, 2018. The Advocacy Day will be co-convened with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and numerous other business organizations in the City. Known as “Business Comes to City Hall,” the day will feature panels led by leaders from the government and business community as well as meetings with the offices of the mayor, department heads, supervisors, and staff. CLSA’s priorities for the day are to foster dialogue on transportation and infrastructure in the Mission Bay life sciences cluster. The panels will also address matters such as the city budget, business taxes, housing affordability, transportation congestion and planning, and public safety.

 Actively engage members in local advocacy initiatives.

Local Legislative and Community Relations Committee (LLC): CLSA will continue to grow our new Local Legislative and Community Relations Committee (LLC) in 2018. This is a local version of CLSA’s State and Federal Legislative Committees (known as the SLC and FLC respectively). The LLC focuses on the community relations concerns detailed in this report, as well as the legislative matters that have a local impact. As CLSA continues to grow its advocacy on city, county and regional issues around the state, we seek ongoing feedback on the interests and concerns of our members, and guidance on prioritization. This committee will also provide an ongoing opportunity to share information on emerging issues. Let us know if your company would like to participate.

Additional information on Local Drugs/Sharps Take Back Legislation

Most of the Bay Area Counties passed a drug-only take back ordinance in 2015 or 2016. Only Santa Cruz County passed a combined drugs and sharps ordinance. CLSA has yet to see any direct legislation on sharps in the other Bay Area Counties, however it may be coming soon. Alameda County decided to add sharps into its previous drug take-back ordinance shortly after Santa Cruz County. Sonoma is still working on its legislation, but recently decided to draft a combined ordinance. The other Bay Area Counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and Marin have not yet had formal legislation on sharps, but it’s clear that such legislation is being discussed internally. CLSA will be monitoring for any new legislation in these Counties in 2018.

A County by County update follows.


The Sonoma Board of Supervisors held a hearing on take-back ordinance options for the County in September 2017. While no formal vote was taken, the Board provided direction through a straw poll result of 3-2 directing staff to move forward in drafting an ordinance and to include both the disposal of drugs and sharps. Of the 2 minority votes, both were interested in a drug take-back ordinance, while one was interested in supporting the sharps inclusion but asked for more data to support the drugs inclusion. The staff stated they would bring more data and a draft ordinance including both drugs and sharps to the Board in the near future.


Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisors is currently implementing a drug take-back measure they passed in 2016. During the 2017 Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Hearing, Public Health Director Daniel Peddycord noted that other Counties in the Bay Area were contemplating separate sharps ordinances and recommended that Contra Costa do the same (i.e., in place of adding sharps to their current drug take back ordinances). Sharps specific legislation is expected in 2018.


While CLSA continues to be the only association covering all local jurisdictions throughout the state, the unique stature of Los Angeles County, with its 10 million people, brings about the coordination of multiple association partners. CLSA works closely with AdvaMed, BIO, Consumer Health Products Association (CHPA), Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), and PhRMA. Our coalition hosts weekly phone calls, shares materials and research and has presented joint testimony to the Board and staff.

The County Public Health Department released an extensive report in mid-December evaluating the potential take back ordinance. Newly installed President of the Board of Supervisors Sheila Kuehl is expected to move quickly on the item in 2018. There is also an expectation that the County’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Working Group, which previously handled all items related to the legislation over the last few years, will contact the stakeholders again in 2018 as the County prepares its next steps.


Tehama County is the first rural County outside of the heavily populated areas along the Pacific Coast to study the concept of take-back. In 2017, CLSA attended several study sessions on the issue and provided public testimony regarding life sciences perspectives. Further action is expected in 2018.

Additional information on Transportation


In South San Francisco, CLSA continues to assist life sciences companies who have banded together to develop carpooling and last-mile commuting options for their employees. We have helped to organize a new South San Francisco East of Highway 101 Commuting Coalition, which will hold its first meeting of 2018 in late March.


In the Bay Area, Caltrain, with its 60,000 daily riders, has long played a vital part in decreasing congestion on the heavily trafficked Highway 101 along the Peninsula. CLSA will continue its participation in the Caltrain Commuter Coalition (C3) with numerous civic, business, and nonprofit ally organizations to support upgrades to Caltrain and electrification of its system. Such upgrades will increase service, accommodate larger ridership, and be more environmentally friendly than the current diesel-hauled trains.

Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) authored and Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 797 in late 2017 to allow for the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which oversees Caltrain, to place a ballot measure before voters in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara that would establish a one-eighth-cent sales tax to increase resources for Caltrain. While we do not expect a ballot measure in 2018, CLSA will assess any measure’s impact on our members and advocate as needed.


Assemblymember Kevin Mullin’s (D-South San Francisco) AB 1613 passed in 2017 to give the San Mateo County Transit District the authority to put a sales tax measure before the San Mateo County voters to address transportation needs. CLSA is working with the County as part of the Get Us Moving (GUM) San Mateo coalition to shape how any new funds should be spent if the measure is passed by the voters in November 2018.


CLSA will continue to participate in a Water Transit Advocates coalition working with the Water Emergency Transit Authority which oversees the ferry services throughout the San Francisco Bay. This coalition discusses the ongoing growth of the ferry terminal at Oyster Point in South San Francisco, and the potential for new ferry terminals at Mission Bay in San Francisco and Redwood City, with the goal of increased ridership by ferry users. Should voters approve RM3 (please see below) in June 2018, much of the funding will go to expanding the Bay’s ferry system.


Senator Jim Beall’s (D-San Jose) SB 595 passed in late 2017 to allow the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in its role as the Bay Area Toll Authority, to put Regional Measure 3 (RM3) on the ballot in 2018. RM3 pertains to nine of the Bay Area’s counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma). The question that RM3 would put before the voters is whether to raise the tolls on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridge tolls by up to $3 to finance a $4.5 billion package of transportation projects. RM3 requires a majority vote of all nine Bay Area counties’ citizens combined. CLSA will continue to work with other community leaders to determine the best ways to fund commuting options.


CLSA is part of an industry coalition facilitated by the Bay Area Council to discuss new initiatives around the buildup and support of BART for the Bay Area region, including its expansion plans into San Jose.

Questions? Please contact Reese Isbell, CLSA’s Director of Local Government & Community Relations (