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Friday, September 25, 2020

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding the announcement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to close the Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy:

“As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I have made it a priority to reverse the aggravating history of allocating more state General Fund money to prisons than to the University of California – especially as crime rates and the prison population have declined. In 2018, I pushed a budget trailer bill that laid the groundwork for identifying locations that could be closed without risking public safety. In this year’s budget, we committed to the closure of two prisons, one in 2021 and a second in 2022. DVI fits the criteria, and this first shut down will not only save us nearly $200 million a year in operating costs, but also avoids spending $800 million in badly needed repairs.”

Ting Statement Regarding Closure Of State Prison In Tracy

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Friday, September 25, 2020
Publication: San Jose Mercury

In a move aimed at reducing huge amounts of plastic litter in the oceans, along roadways and other parts of the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a first-in-the-nation law requiring plastic beverage containers to contain an increasing amount of recycled material.

Under it, companies that produce everything from sports drinks to soda to bottled water must use 15% recycled plastic in their bottles by 2022, 25% recycled plastic by 2025, and 50% recycled plastic by 2030.

Supporters of the new law say it will help increase demand for recycled plastic, curb litter and reduce consumption of oil and gas, which are used to manufacture new plastics.

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In a legislative session hamstrung by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, the bill, AB 793 by Assemblymembers Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, was considered to be among the most significant environmental laws that passed this year.

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"The time has come for companies to step up and help us be good environmental stewards," said Ting. "By boosting the market for used plastics, fewer containers will end up as litter."

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sacramento –Building on its record of environmental leadership, California enacted the country’s first minimum recycled content standards for plastic CRV bottles. Governor Newsom today signed AB 793 by Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), requiring manufacturers to begin gradually phasing-in recycled materials when making plastic beverage containers. By 2030, the timeline ultimately reaches a 50% threshold - the highest in the world, surpassing the 30% mandate in the European Union (EU).

California Leads with Country’s First Mandate For Recycled Content in Plastic CRV Bottles “At the rate we were going, plastic waste would outnumber the fish in our oceans by 2050. The Governor’s signature means the time has come for companies to step up and help us be good environmental stewards. By boosting the market for used plastics, fewer containers will end up as litter,” said Ting. 

The dwindling U.S. demand for recycled plastic has led, in part, to the tidal wave of recycling center closures in California, leaving consumers with fewer places to take their bottles and cans. At the same time, international markets are no longer interested in buying California’s recycled waste, leading to piles of recyclable plastic in our warehouses, landfills and environment. Data from CalRecycle shows that 12.7 billion CRV bottles were sold in the state last year, but 27% were not recycled – that’s 3.4 billion containers.

 AB 793’s timeline is as follows and applies to plastic drink bottles sold in California, regardless of where the containers were made:

California Leads with Country’s First Mandate For Recycled Content in Plastic CRV Bottles

“Assemblymember Ting and I worked extensively with the industry stakeholders to ensure that this bill is both bold and workable.  The result is the most aggressive recycled content mandate in the world for plastic bottles – 50% by 2030. Even the European Union, with its leadership on many environmental fronts, is only aiming for 30% by 2030.  I commend the Governor for signing this audacious bill,” said Irwin.

The 50 percent recycled content requirement in AB 793 is the most ambitious closed loop recycling requirement in the world. With this signing, 50 percent is now the model for other states and nations, and should be the model for all plastic packaging in California going forward,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of the environmental group Californians Against Waste.

Other states could potentially benefit from AB 793 if companies decide they don’t want to use one formula for plastic bottles sold in California, then reconfigure production lines for the rest of the country. If that’s the case, even more sustainable containers could end up in new markets.

Some brands have already moved in this direction. Naked Juice, for instance, has been using plastic bottles made with 100% post-consumer recycled content since 2010, proving the change can be done. Nestle Waters North America and Coca-Cola have also committed to using more recycled plastic over the next few years.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Publication: Los Angeles Times

Emphasizing that California must stay at the forefront of the fight against climate change, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive order to require all new cars sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and threw his support behind a ban on the controversial use of hydraulic fracturing by oil companies.

Under Newsom’s order, the California Air Resources Board would implement the phaseout of new gas-powered cars and light trucks and also require medium and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045 where possible. California would be the first state in the nation to mandate 100% zero-emission vehicles, though 15 countries already have committed to phasing out gas-powered cars.

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Prior to Wednesday, her agency had only floated the idea of banning gas-powered vehicles in congested areas of the state. And legislation lawmakers introduced in 2018 that would have banned the sale of new, gas-powered vehicles by 2040 didn’t move forward.

State Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who wrote that legislation, said “the fastest way to make the biggest dent in slowing the effects of global warming is to embrace cleaner cars” and applauded Newsom “for putting us on a path that’s not only crucial for our planet, but also helpful in spurring green jobs as we recover from COVID-19.”

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding the Governor’s Executive Order issued today, which includes a requirement that all new passenger vehicles sold in California must be zero emission starting January 1, 2035.

“The hazy, orange sky we woke up to earlier this month was alarming and hammered home the urgency of our climate crisis. If we want clean air, we need clean cars. 50% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from the transportation sector, much of it from the vehicles you and I drive every day. The fastest way to make the biggest dent in slowing the effects of global warming is to embrace cleaner cars. Many other countries have already committed to this goal, and I’ve been working tirelessly for years to make this transition happen in California. I applaud the Governor for putting us on a path that’s not only crucial for our planet, but also helpful in spurring green jobs as we recover from COVID-19.”

Ting first introduced AB 1745 in 2018, which would have banned the sale of new, gas-powered vehicles by 2040. He subsequently authored legislation, AB 40 in 2019, which would have developed a plan to achieve this outcome by 2040. Ting also championed $1.5 million in last year’s state budget to identify strategies for significantly reducing vehicle emissions, along with bills to increase the consumer cash-back amounts in the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Currently on the Governor’s desk is Ting’s AB 841, which requires the California Public Utilities Commission to eliminate by March its years-long backlog of applications permitting the installation of EV charging stations.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Publication: Sacramento Bee

Four University of California campuses unfairly admitted at least 64 students between academic years 2013-14 and 2018-19 because of their connections to donors and university staff, according to a report released by the California State Auditor on Tuesday.

UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara admitted 22 of the students as student-athletes despite not having athletic qualifications to compete. UC Berkeley also admitted 42 of the students through its regular admissions process despite them not having competitive academic qualifications, the report found.

The majority of the 64 students were white. At least half had annual family incomes of $150,000 or more, according to the report.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement that he’s disappointed to see UC engage in unfair admissions practices.

“Generations of young people from diverse backgrounds see UC as an opportunity for a brighter future, and the system failed them every time someone less qualified is admitted in their place,” he said.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ting Statement Regarding State Auditor’s Report on UC’s Admissions Practices

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding today’s State Auditor report on admission practices at the University of California.

“I am disappointed to see a world-acclaimed public institution, like the University of California, engaged in unfair admissions practices, denying spots to deserving students who lacked connections and money. Generations of young people from diverse backgrounds see UC as an opportunity for a brighter future, and the system failed them every time someone less qualified is admitted in their place. I’m committed to working on solutions next year to level the playing field, so everyone has a fair chance to get in to the college of their dreams.”

After news of “Operation Varsity Blues” broke last year, Ting and other state lawmakers led reform efforts to improve the college admissions process so that it is fair with seats available to all deserving students. AB 697 by Ting was among the proposals signed into law, requiring colleges to annually disclose to the state whether they give preferential admissions treatment to applicants with donor or alumni ties, and detail how many students were admitted under such practices.

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Due to COVID-19, the annual Richmond District Autumn Moon Festival is online this year on September 26 at 11:30 am on One Richmond's Facebook page. Please register here to participate. Thank you to our sponsors for their support!

2020 Richmond District Autumn Moon Festival is virtual

2020 Autumn Moon Flyer available here: 2020 Autumn Moon Festival Flyer

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Publication: Associated Press

Spending cuts to schools, childhood vaccinations and job-training programs. New taxes on millionaires, cigarettes and legalized marijuana. Borrowing, drawing from rainy day funds and reducing government workers' pay.

These are some actions states are considering to shore up their finances amid a sharp drop in tax revenue caused by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Congress deadlocked for months on a new coronavirus relief package, many states haven't had the luxury of waiting to see whether more money is on the way. Some that have delayed budget decisions are growing frustrated by the uncertainty.

As the U.S. Senate returns to session Tuesday, some governors and state lawmakers are again urging action on proposals that could provide hundreds of billions of additional dollars to states and local governments.

“There is a lot at stake in the next federal stimulus package and, if it’s done wrong, I think it could be catastrophic for California,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco and chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Green Jobs Bill Heads to the Governor To Help California’s Recovery Sacramento – To help build California’s economy back up, state lawmakers today sent to the Governor AB 841 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), a jobs bill that not only puts people to work, but also leads to healthier schools and a greener transportation sector.

“Earning a paycheck is crucial for so many families right now. We need to jumpstart projects that can begin in a matter of months and pay good wages. In the end, my proposal will improve public health and the environment. We all win on so many levels,” said Ting.

AB 841 has two components. First, it temporarily redirects unspent energy efficiency funds from investor-owned utility companies and creates a grant program that schools can use to upgrade their HVAC systems and water fixtures. Poor ventilation is known to have negative impacts on student health and learning. And since COVID-19, experts recommend increasing the air flow in public schools to reduce the spread of the virus. Applications from campuses in low-income communities would receive first priority.

In addition, grants can be used to replace old plumbing fixtures, which often leech lead into students’ drinking water. New pipes also result in better water conservation, saving up to six billion gallons a year.

The second component of AB 841 pertains to the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, requiring the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to act on long-pending applications by March 1, 2021. The current years-long backlog is slowing work orders, and faster approvals would increase the demand for EVs. Consumers have often said they won’t switch to a cleaner car because of the lack of charging stations. Added locations would help more drivers make the transition – a move that lowers our greenhouse gas emissions and ramps up our fight against global warming.

AB 841 achieves a priority from the Joint Economic Stimulus Plan unveiled last month – to improve the environment, combat climate change, and create green infrastructure and jobs. As with all bills sent to the Governor this month by the August 31 deadline, he has until September 30 to act.