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   LATEST NEWS

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dear Chairman Haggerty,

We commend you and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) staff for your work on Plan Bay Area 2050 (Plan) to make our region a more sustainable, prosperous and equitable place. We are writing to express our concern about the inclusion of a Work From Home Mandate in Plan Bay Area. While requiring or encouraging work from home during the pandemic makes sense, we do not agree that a Work From Home Mandate is a viable or appropriate long-term strategy for the Bay Area.

Read the full letter: Bay Area Delegations Letter to MTC 

Monday, October 5, 2020
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Publication: Politico

The cuts are already making their mark

A new infusion of federal aid looks increasingly unlikely to materialize in the coming weeks, dimming hopes that California will restore billions of dollars state leaders trimmed from the budget as part of an agreement with Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The final budget deal included more than $11 billion in cuts and deferrals that would be restored if the state receives $14 billion in federal Covid-19 relief by Oct. 15. The budget assumed the state would receive at least $2 billion from Congress through a new stimulus package.

But with less than three weeks to go, no such aid deal is in sight.

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What's next: Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said he did not anticipate the Legislature taking further action this year on the budget and has not heard anything about the governor calling a special session. He said he is still holding out for Congress to strike a deal to help states and local governments.

"Fourteen billion is quite a lot — it’s really only the federal government that can assist us," he said. "Until we hit that deadline, I’m still hopeful." 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

As a result of the Governor’s signature on AB 841 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), new green jobs are on the horizon that will not only put people back to work, but also lead to healthier schools and a greener transportation sector.

“Many Californians are struggling right now, and we need job creation. My bill jumpstarts projects that can begin in a matter of months and pay good wages, providing stability to families and helping the state’s economic recovery,” 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 for schools in need of upgrading their HVAC systems and water fixtures. Poor ventilation is known to have negative impacts on student health and learning. And since the onset of COVID-19, experts recommend increasing the air flow in public schools to reduce the spread of the virus. Campuses in low-income communities would receive first priority.

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

"Now is precisely the time California should be improving access to clean air and water in our schools," said Merrian Borgeson, a senior scientist at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "Our children deserve to learn in safe schools, and this new program will make that possible."

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 there are not enough charging stations along our roads. Added locations would help more drivers overcome “range anxiety” and make the transition – a move that lowers our greenhouse gas emissions and ramps up our fight against global warming.

AB 841 takes effect January 1, 2021, achieving a priority from the Joint Economic Stimulus Plan unveiled in July – to improve the environment, combat climate change, and create green infrastructure and jobs.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Governor Signs Ting Bill Giving More Californians A Second Chance With the spread of coronavirus still a concern in California prisons, the state will now be able to take steps to ease overcrowding, while also expanding opportunities for second chances without increased risk to public safety. The Governor today signed AB 3234 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), giving judges the discretion to place first-time misdemeanor offenders in a diversion program. It also makes changes to the elderly parole program.

“In these times of reflection when the fairness of our criminal justice system is front and center, we can start by offering more compassion and understanding. A second chance is sometimes all someone needs to turn their life around, and when it’s an option, we often get better rehabilitative and reintegration results,” said Ting. “The Governor’s signature on AB 3234 is another step toward criminal justice reform.”

AB 3234 builds off a successful diversion pilot program in Los Angeles County that decreased the number of jury trials by more than 2,000 over a two-year period, saving the courts $12,000 per day, per trial. Additionally, when first-time offenders charged with low-level crimes successfully completed a diversion program, recidivism rates were lower when compared to those who were prosecuted. Graduates who never reoffend will have a clean record when applying for jobs and housing.

Ting’s legislation further eases prison overcrowding by making changes to the Elderly Parole Program. The geriatric population can cost California up to $300,000 per year, per person in medical costs. Currently, inmates are eligible for a parole hearing if they are at least 60 years old and have served a minimum of 25 years. AB 3234 safely lowers the age to 50 and minimum years served to 20. This can be done without great risk to public safety because certain convictions are automatically excluded and fewer than 240 individuals are estimated to be eligible for this expanded review. If just a handful of releases are granted, California would see millions of dollars in cost-savings.

Provisions of AB 3234 were originally introduced as part of budget deliberations and championed by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “AB 3234 represents another milestone in criminal justice reform. Judges will now have the opportunity to provide a diversion program for misdemeanor charges rather than requiring jail time. AB 3234 also improves the current elderly parole program so that those over age 50 who have been incarcerated for 20 years or more and have low recidivism risk may have the opportunity to return to society and live productive lives,” said Skinner, Chair of the Senate Public Safety policy and budget committees.

AB 3234 takes effect January 1, 2021. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

HOA Rental BansTo ensure California maximizes housing within its residential areas, homeowners associations (HOAs) will no longer be able to prohibit rentals under a bill signed by the Governor today. AB 3182 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) closes important loopholes that have enabled subdivisions and condominium complexes to shut out tenants.

“We’re in a housing crisis right now, and homeowners are prevented from renting their properties or adding a rental unit in many housing developments governed by HOAs. This cannot continue, and the Governor’s signature opens up opportunities for desperately needed housing,” said Ting.

Ting’s bill allows more Californians to be part of the solution to the housing shortage. AB 3182 voids any existing HOA rules banning rentals and prohibits the implementation of new ones. They would, however, be able to cap the number of rentals at 25% of the total housing units, in order for property owners to remain eligible for federal home loans and insurance. Limits on short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb are also permitted.

In addition, rental bans prevent homeowners from adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) onto their property. These backyard units or additions to existing buildings have grown in popularity because they’re an affordable way to keep aging parents close by or generate rental income.

"By prohibiting bans on tenants in homeowners associations, AB 3182 opens up more high opportunity areas to renters in California, and helps homeowners build and rent their ADUs. Ending California's housing crisis requires building more housing, especially in high opportunity neighborhoods, and protecting renters. California YIMBY applauds Assemblymember Ting for his critical work furthering home-building and tenants' rights and was honored to sponsor AB 3182," said Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY.

A second bill by Ting, signed by the Governor last week, enables local jurisdictions to address homelessness faster through AB 2553. Upon declaration of a “shelter crisis,” all cities and counties would have the authority to temporarily suspend some regulatory roadblocks that typically slow or prevent the construction of emergency housing and implementation of safe parking programs. This builds upon the success of a pilot program created under Ting’s AB 932 in 2017, which granted similar powers to Berkeley, Emeryville, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, the County of Santa Clara, and the City and County of San Francisco, enabling them to swiftly increase their shelter capacity.

AB 2553 was an urgency measure and took effect immediately. AB 3182 becomes law on January 1, 2021,

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Sunday, September 27, 2020
Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

With the flick of a pen on the hood of a metallic-red electric Ford Mustang, Gov. Gavin Newsom set in motion the elimination of the internal combustion engine in California.

But turning Newsom’s vision of a cleaner-air future into reality will require 15 years of tough policy decisions to make electric cars affordable and charging stations ubiquitous.

The executive order that Newsom signed last week banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035 would transform the state’s transportation system to an extent not seen in modern history, putting most drivers in cars powered by electricity. What was missing were the details of how California will require automakers to make such a rapid transition to electric cars, which make up just 6% of the state’s car market today.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, has pushed to expand rebates for years, without success. He said the state should consider borrowing money so it can offer larger rebates immediately, then decrease them gradually over time — giving buyers a nudge to act now.

“The rebate program has not been set up to send a consistent message,” said Ting, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee. “The program has been long overdue for reform.”

Friday, September 25, 2020
Publication: CBS 13/Sacramento

A California assemblymember said nearly $200 million in operating costs will be saved after the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) announcement on Friday of the closure of a state prison in Tracy.

The Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy was chosen for closure based on operating costs, inmate housing needs, impact on the workforce and prioritization of public safety, according to CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz. According to the CDCR, annual operating costs for the prison are about $182 million.

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Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said the closure will also help the state avoid paying $800 million in “badly needed repairs.”

Here is Ting’s full statement:

“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.”

The CDCR said in a news release that the closure of a state prison was included in the 2020 multi-year state budget plan, and Diaz said a need to achieve savings and a decline in prison population since 2007 contributed to the state’s decision to close a prison.

Full deactivation of the prison is expected for Sept. 30, 2021.

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Friday, September 25, 2020
Publication: Recycling Today

Gov. Newsom vetoed a previous version of the bill

California’s AB 793, which would require manufacturers to include recycled materials when making plastic beverage bottles, was approved by the state legislature in early September and was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Sept. 24. The legislation sets a phased-in timeline of when companies must meet minimum content standards, ultimately achieving 50 percent recycled content, surpassing the 30 percent mandate in the European Union.

“The time has come for shared responsibility,” says California Assemblymember Phil Ting, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Our environment suffers when companies keep making new plastic every time they need a drink container. They need to reuse what they’ve already made. If we don’t make this shift, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.”

AB 793 is designed to bolster the market for recycled polyethylene terephthalate in the state. Manufacturers must meet a number of deadlines for recycled content, achieving 15 percent by 2022, 25 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2030.  

“Assemblymember Ting and I worked extensively with the industry stakeholders to ensure that this bill is both bold and workable,” says California Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “The result is the most aggressive recycled content mandate in the world for plastic bottles.”

AB 793 is Ting’s second attempt at recycled-plastic content in bottles. Newsom vetoed a similar bill last year because of cost concerns, which Tsing says have been addressed this year.

By signing AB 793, Newsom has made California the first state in the nation to establish minimum recycled content requirements for plastic beverage containers. 

“California has long led the way on bold solutions in the climate space, and the steps we take today bring us closer to our ambitious goals,” Newsom said upon signing the bill. “I thank the legislature for taking these important steps to protect the planet and public health.”

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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