TECH POLICY TRENDING IN SAN FRANCISCO
Never a dull day in San Francisco, the past few weeks have brought in a flurry of policy proposals concerning the city’s tech community. We break down three of these tech policies below.
Representing San Francisco tech companies in conversation with local policymakers and the broader community, sf.citi keeps a close eye on regulation coming out of City Hall. And with many new faces of the Board of Supervisors, there has been no shortage of tech policy to keep up with. Below, we break down three important policies and/or policy proposals affecting tech, business, and the community at large in San Francisco.
Ban on facial recognition technologies. On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-1 in favor of the “Stop Secret Surveillance” ordinance, or a ban on facial surveillance by the San Francisco police and other city agencies. Private companies and individuals can still use facial recognition technologies, and the ban does not cover the San Francisco International Airport, where security is largely overseen by federal agencies. The ordinance also mandates that city departments draft policies to disclose any plans to use facial recognition technologies. Managed by the Committee on Information Technology (COIT), these policies must receive final approval from the Board of Supervisors. There will be a second vote next week to ratify the legislation.
Stock Option Tax, aka the“IPO tax.” Earlier this month, District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar introduced an ordinance to impose an additional payroll tax on stock-based compensation at a rate of 1.12%, bringing the total payroll tax in San Francisco to 1.5%. Back in 2012, when San Franciscans voted in a GRT tax, San Francisco was the only city and county in the state with such a payroll tax. While the proposal has been colloquially dubbed the “IPO tax,” this is somewhat of a misnomer. The tax, as written, would be levied on all equity interests, including stock options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, stock acquired through employee stock purchase plans, stock appreciation rights, and phantom stock. And while it’s largely thought to hone in on the city’s tech industry, the tax increase would apply to all companies, barring small businesses, that offer stock-based compensation.
Traffic Congestion Mitigation Tax. District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin is pushing for a per-ride tax on transportation network companies (TNC), such as Lyft and Uber, and Autonomous Vehicle (AV) companies like Waymo, Zoox, and Cruise, for the November ballot. The proposed legislation will likely be introduced before the Board of Supervisors in the coming month, where it could undergo amendments. As of now, Supervisor Peskin is proposing a 3.25% tax on single rides and a 1.5% tax on shared rides. Many more updates to come.
AFFIRM’S CIRCLE THE SCHOOLS STORY
Follow the Circle the Schools journey of sf.citi member Affirm, one of the newest participants in our corporate social responsibility program connecting tech with San Francisco public schools.
At the start of 2019, Affirm joined Circle the Schools, our corporate volunteer program run in partnership with the San Francisco Education Fund and the San Francisco Unified School District. Companies participating in Circle the Schools team up with one (or more) San Francisco public school(s), where they volunteer time and resources all year long.
Affirm was matched with Jose Ortega Elementary School in San Francisco’s Merced Heights neighborhood. After just one semester in the program, Affirm has already made a difference on campus. To celebrate Black History Month in February, Affirm employees led an African American Read-In with students. Affirm volunteers also helped out at the JOES annual Engineering Expo, showcasing semester-long science and engineering projects.
The school year may be ending, but Circle the Schools is recruiting for next year. Become an sf.citi member and sign up!
THE RACE TO BE SF’S NEXT DISTRICT ATTORNEY
sf.citi members gathered at AdRoll for a lively discussion with Suzy Loftus, one of the candidates vying to be San Francisco’s next District Attorney.. We welcomed representatives from member companies Affirm, Airbnb, AT&T, Cruise, Dropbox, Microsoft, Salesforce, Uber, Zoox, and more.
George Gascón recently announced that he will not run for re-election in November, ending his eight-year tenure as San Francisco’s District Attorney. This means we are sure to have a new head prosecutor for the City and County of San Francisco. We chatted with one of the five candidates currently in the race, Suzy Loftus, who serves as Legal Counsel for San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy.
A native of San Francisco, Suzy said the city has a history of the District Attorney and the police not working together. Having been a prosecutor in Western Addition for many years, and then serving on the San Francisco Police Commission, Suzy hopes to change that. She wants San Francisco to be a “city that is both safe and just” by addressing racial disparity in the city’s justice system, exploring alternative pathways to incarceration, and working with the community to determine the most effective metrics of success.
“The Prosecutor role is to do justice. I believe we can work together as a community to deliver on our values and build shared safety and deliver justice. Your companies can really help. By engaging in every layer of the fabric of this community, we can deliver solutions that help us build a more safe and more just San Francisco for everyone.”
SB 50 PUSHED TO NEXT YEAR
SB 50, California’s historic Senate housing bill to increase the state’s stock of high-density housing around transit hubs, will not be voted on until next year.
Last month, sf.citi hosted State Senator Wiener at a roundtable discussion with our members, where the main topic of conversation was housing. Senator Wiener authored SB 50, focused on increasing density and the amount of housing around transit and job-rich areas. Earlier this week, sf.citi submitted our letter of support for the measure to help ensure Californians have access to affordable, walkable, and transit-oriented housing – an urgent priority for our growing population of younger and working Californians.
As SB 50 made its way through various committees in the State Legislature, the measure had one more committee to pass before it could be called to the Senate floor for a vote, the all-important Senate Appropriations Committee. Held earlier today, the Appropriations Committee decided to make SB 50 a “two-year bill,” postponing the vote until January 2020.
DID YOU KNOW?
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and sf.citi members made sure to encourage mindfulness about mental health among employees. On May 15th, member companies Dropbox and Lyft participated in a one-day campaign called “National Mental Health Break” – more on that here.
BUZZ | #MEMBERNEWS
- Lyft to make driverless cars available on app via Waymo partnership – San Francisco Business Times
- Square teams up with Postmates for delivery partnership – Market Watch
- Meet the S.F. coding school that’s gone international – San Francisco Business Times