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Monday, May 13, 2019
Honoring the API Legislative Caucus' 2019 Heritage Award Honorees

 

(Sacramento, CA) -- May is Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month. The API Legislative Caucus recognizes outstanding leaders during floor ceremonies every year. The 2019 Honorees are:

  • Judy Ki - Excellence in Civic Engagement
  • Stewart Kwoh - Excellence in Civil Rights
  • James Syhabout - Excellence in Culinary Arts
  • "Crazy Rich Asians"/Represented by Adele Lim, Screenwriter - Excellence in Entertainment 
  • Richard Liu - Excellence in Journalism
  • Lata Krishman - Excellence in Philanthrophy 
  • Mona Pasquil - Excellence in Public Service

Pictured left to right: Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Honoree Lata Krishman, Honoree James Syhabout, Honoree Stewart Kwoh, Assemblymember David Chiu, Assemblymember Kansen Chu, Honoree Adele Lim, Honoree Judy Ki, Assemblymember Todd Gloria and Assemblymember Phil Ting

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting Says Budget Must Help All Californians at a Time of Unparalleled Prosperity

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, released the following statement about the May Revision of Governor Gavin Newsom’s state budget proposal for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which starts on July 1. The Assembly Budget Committee released a preliminary analysis of the proposal. Ting’s statement is as follows:

“At a time of unparalleled prosperity in our state, nearly 20% of Californians live in poverty and millions more are living right on the edge.  Since our state budget is a declaration of our values, we must continue to rebuild our social infrastructure and invest in education, health, human services, and housing programs to make life better for all Californians.  I applaud the direction of Governor Newsom’s May Revision proposals and am pleased he has funded many long-standing legislative priorities.  While there are still some existing differences between our proposals and his, I am confident we will reconcile them and deliver a balanced, on-time budget by June 15.”

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ting Proposal Banning Facial Recognition Technology In Body Cams Approved by State AssemblySacramento, CA – In a move to protect privacy and prevent misuse of technology, the California State Assembly today approved AB 1215, a proposal by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that bans law enforcement from using facial recognition and biometric scanners in body cameras. Body cameras are typically adopted for accountability and transparency purposes, not to serve as roving surveillance systems. In addition, face scanning technology routinely misidentifies people, particularly women, youth and people of color.

“Without my bill, face recognition technology can subject law-abiding citizens to perpetual police line-ups, as their every movement is tracked without consent. Its use, if left unchecked, undermines public trust in government institutions and unduly intrudes on one’s constitutional right to privacy. AB 1215 is an important civil rights measure that will prevent exploitation of vulnerable communities,” said Ting.

Digital privacy has increasingly become a concern among Californians. In a March 2019 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) poll, 82% of likely voters statewide and 79% in the Bay Area disagreed with the government being able to monitor and track a person using biometric information. Such support is not surprising, in light of reports that technology developed by the U.S.’s top online retailer falsely identified 28 sitting members of Congress as people who have been arrested for crimes. The CEO of the largest provider of body cameras has also stated that facial recognition technology was not accurate enough to be deployed on his company’s products.

“Body cameras should work for the people, not against the people,” says Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Attorney for the ACLU of Northern California. “Face-scanning body cameras would be a dangerous, radical expansion of surveillance powers at a time when our top priority should be creating new approaches to public safety that work for all of us.”

Local Bay Area cities are also troubled by the implications of this still imperfect technology and are set to take action against its use. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on a proposal May 14 that bans local agencies from purchasing or using facial recognition technology. Oakland is also considering a similar prohibition. Both proposals go further than AB 1215, which only applies the ban to police-worn body cameras.

Ting’s proposal moves to the Senate for consideration. This year’s deadline for all bills to reach the Governor’s desk is September 13.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Expansion of CA’s Gun Violence Restraining  Order (GVRO) Law Approved by State Assembly(Sacramento, CA) – Less than two weeks after the Poway shooting, the California State Assembly today affirmed its commitment to preventing more gun violence by approving AB 61, by a vote of 54-17. The bill by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) enables more Californians to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) by adding school workers, employers and co-workers to the list of people who can ask a judge to temporarily take away someone’s firearms if they pose a danger to themselves or others. Current law only allows law enforcement and immediate family members to do so.

“Last year’s senseless shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks compelled me to renew efforts to expand California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order law. We have another incident, this time at a place of worship in Poway – when will it end? I’m glad to see my Assembly colleagues agree we have to do more to prevent tragedies,” said Ting, who has seen two previous versions of his bill vetoed by Governor Brown. “Our new governor has indicated he is open to more gun safety laws. I am hopeful that third time’s the charm.”

Ting believes the expansion is necessary because school campuses and workplaces have increasingly become sites for mass shootings. “We often spend more time with our classmates and co-workers than we do at home. I’d like the people we interact with most to have this effective tool available to them,” said Ting.

GVROs are sometimes referred to as “red flag laws” and have been enacted in fourteen states. According to the California Department of Justice, GVROs have been issued 614 times from 2016 to the end of 2018 with the bulk of the orders (424) obtained last year, as more individuals become aware of this effective public safety tool. When a judge grants a restraining order, a gun owner must surrender their firearms for 21 days. It can be extended to a full year after a hearing.

AB 61 now heads to the Senate for consideration. All bills must reach Governor Newsom’s desk by September 13.   

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Ting Proposal Allowing Reservation & Pricing System For Lombard Street Approved by State AssemblySacramento, CA – A pilot program to test a Reservation and Pricing System at San Francisco’s famous Lombard Street was approved by the Assembly today, by a vote of 51-18. AB 1605 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) gives the City and County of San Francisco the authority to charge drivers seeking to experience the unique hairpin turns that attract more than two million visitors a year. The bill is necessary because existing law prohibits a local agency from imposing a tax, permit fee, or other charge for the privilege of using its streets or highways.

“It has become increasingly difficult to manage the crowds and traffic congestion at the Crooked Street,” said Ting, author of AB 1605.  “Neither the presence of parking enforcement officers, nor the closure of the crooked segment has changed the current situation. AB 1605 offers a solution worth trying to improve public safety and the quality of life for residents.”

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) concluded in its 2017 study that managing access to the popular tourist attraction has become necessary and recommended a Reservation and Pricing System. This strategy would regulate demand and flow at the entrance, while reducing the length of cars in the queue.

“We thank Assemblymember Ting and his colleagues in the Assembly for their support for a reservation system to improve safety and congestion on Lombard Street," said Tilly Chang, Executive Director of SFCTA. "The Transportation Authority looks forward to next steps to enabling San Francisco to pilot this project in the near future.”  

A second SFCTA study is currently underway to review options around the Reservation and Pricing System’s technology, method of enforcement, hours of operation, price level and exemptions. The results are expected this summer. As demonstrated by the system regulating visits to Muir Woods and other parks in California, one of the most efficient ways to manage vehicle congestion is through an electronic system administered without staff, which would also minimize the visual impact on Lombard Street.

Two weeks ago, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors also unanimously backed a resolution by Supervisor Catherine Stefani to support AB 1605. She represents District 2 where the crooked segment of Lombard Street is located.

Ting’s proposal moves to the Senate for consideration. This year’s deadline for all bills to reach the Governor’s desk is September 13.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Assembly Early Education Commission Calls For Expanding Access, Empowering Parent & Worker VoicesAfter two years of hearings, focus groups and study, the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education has released its final report. Among the key findings:

  • Focus on expanding access to children and families most in need, while working toward the goal of universal access to early care and education (ECE).
  • Parents should be treated as experts on their children’s care and education. No new program should be implemented without parent input.
  • The ECE workforce should be supported in developing expertise and compensated as their counterparts in the K-12 system are.
  • Establish the Early Childhood Policy Council to be the primary advisory body on ECE for the Legislature, Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Early childhood education underpins so much of what we need to accomplish as a society. Early education is how you turn around cycles of poverty, it’s how you give children a strong foundation for education, and it’s how you lift up families. We can’t get started too soon on the ideas we have produced,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). 

 “California has a lot to gain by investing in early childhood education, including better futures for our kids and a stronger economy for all. The Blue Ribbon Commission report lays out a road map that will help ensure today’s youth get a great start in life, and that we have skilled providers ready to do this important work. I can’t wait to get started, said Commissioner and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

The full report can be found HERE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Monday, April 15, 2019

Ting Announces Legislation to Bring Reservation & Pricing Program to Lombard Street

Supervisor Catherine Stefani urges support for Ting’s proposal

San Francisco, CA – Tourists may soon have to make a reservation and pay a fee in order to drive down the famous crooked segment of San Francisco’s Lombard Street. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) unveiled a new proposal, AB 1605, that would authorize the City and County of San Francisco to establish a reservation and pricing pilot program for the world famous attraction.

“In recent years, the crowds and traffic congestion have become a safety issue for that neighborhood,” said Ting, author of AB 1605. “We must implement a system that enables both residents and visitors to enjoy the ‘Crookedest Street in the World.’”

With its eight hairpin turns and scenic views, Lombard Street attracts more than two million visitors each year. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded in its 2017 study that managing access to the tourist attraction has become necessary and recommended a reservation and pricing system. This strategy would regulate demand and flow at the entrance, while reducing the length of cars in the queue.

Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who represents District 2 where the crooked segment is located, is author of a resolution backing AB 1605. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on her resolution on Tuesday, April 16, at its meeting.  “We must try out the Reservation and Pricing system as our next step towards meeting the needs of both tourists and residents. The system will address the blocks of bumper to bumper traffic that build up on the way to the crooked street, improve the experience for tourists, and better the quality of life for the residents,” said Supervisor Stefani.

AB 1605 is necessary because existing law prohibits a local agency from imposing a tax, permit fee, or other charge for the privilege of using its streets or highways. If approved, the City and County of San Francisco will determine how to implement a reservation and pricing program and how much to charge. As demonstrated by the systems regulating visits to Muir Woods and other parks in California, one of the most efficient ways to manage vehicle congestion is through an electronic system administered without staff, minimizing the visual impact on Lombard Street.

Ting’s bill will be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, April 22.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ting Introduces Landmark Bill Expanding Access to CannabisCaregivers, Veterans, Labor and Business Support AB 1356

(Sacramento, CA)-Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announced historic legislation that, if passed, will dramatically improve access to cannabis across California. AB 1356 will require local jurisdictions, where more than 50% of voters supported Proposition 64, to issue one cannabis retail license for every four onsite liquor consumption licenses.

“Californians voted for Prop. 64 to replace the illicit market with a legal system that would grant Californians safe access to cannabis products, while also creating good jobs and significant tax revenue,” said Assemblymember Ting, author of AB 1356. “However, these goals can only be fully realized if enough licenses are granted to meet existing demand. This bill will ensure the legal market can succeed.”

“When California voters supported Prop. 64 they made clear the importance of access to cannabis products. For many, including seniors, veterans, young people with childhood maladies and individuals with disabilities, cannabis serves an important medical purpose. Many cities and counties are currently not providing this access to their medically challenged constituents, even when a majority of their constituents voted for Prop. 64. Banning and limiting access to cannabis in these jurisdictions only fuels the illicit market in our state,” said Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles). “I am proud to co-author AB 1356 (Ting), a measure that will ensure local governments respect the will of the voters by increasing access to safe cannabis products from the legal cannabis market.”

Nearly two and a half years after the passage of Prop. 64, and a year and half after the introduction of the California legal retail cannabis market, approximately 76% of California cities and counties have banned cannabis retail businesses.