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Friday, December 13, 2019

Publication: CalMatters

... The biggest contributors to pockets of unhealthy air across the state are the planes, trains, trucks and ships that move goods around, according to the California Air Resources Board. Heavy-duty trucks spew out 25 percent of diesel particulate pollution statewide, and produce about 8 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gases. 

To tackle that tailpipe pollution, California’s clean air enforcers have proposed a rule that calls for major truck manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles in the state. Called the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation, it also asks major corporations and government agencies to report information about how they use their trucks — laying the groundwork for future rules to drive business toward clean truck companies.

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As written, a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis estimates the rule could put 75,000 clean trucks on the road by 2030 — or about 4 percent of the state’s trucks. 

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A handful of California legislators have joined the call for a tougher rule. At the end of November, Democratic assemblymembers Eloise Gómez Reyes, Phil Ting, Luz Rivas, and Marc Berman joined Democratic senators Ben Allen and Bob Wieckowski in a letter to air board chair Mary Nichols that said the proposed rule “falls woefully short of an impactful goal.” 

In their letter, the lawmakers said: “Improving local air quality and reducing California’s contribution to global warming will require more than 4 percent of trucks to be zero-emission by 2030.” 

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Legislators are paying attention, too. “The hope had been that the air board would provide the leadership necessary,” said San Francisco Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting. “But obviously if they aren’t able to then we’ll definitely consider legislative action.” 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Ting Releases His 2020 Budget Blueprint

Sacramento – Due to a remarkably robust economy and responsible budget practices, California’s finances are on solid ground today. While the outlook for next year remains positive, looming threats caution against dramatically increasing ongoing spending. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, unveiled his 2020-21 Budget Blueprint: Embracing Progress | Securing the Future, which invests in more economic opportunities for all Californians while building up the reserve and paying down debt.

“We’ve made great progress in moving our state forward and ensuring our economic prosperity touches as many Californians as possible. We will build on these accomplishments by incrementally adding more state funding for education, poverty reduction, healthcare, housing and other priorities,” said Ting. “But we must also protect our investments. Further boosting our reserves and reducing our debt will prepare us for a possible recession and any changes in funding from the federal government, which isn’t as dependable as it once was.”

Highlights of Embracing Progress | Securing the Future include:

  • Ensuring the State is Ready for Future Uncertainty: build reserves and protect promises made

  • Continuing To Move California Forward: bolster early childhood care, education and college accessibility; improve behavioral health and social services programs; make California more affordable; address climate change; reform criminal justice system

  • Remove Remaining Great Recession Cuts: address legacy cuts and rate freezes

  • Aggressive Oversight for Effective Government: DMV wait times, needs of low-performing students, safe affordable drinking water

More information on the Budget Blueprint: 2020 Budget Blueprint

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

California’s rebate program to coax more drivers to buy electric vehicles just got less generous, especially for those looking to spend on a luxury model.

Effective Tuesday, state regulators have stopped offering rebates for buyers of electric cars or plug-in hybrid vehicles that cost more than $60,000 — a move that will make buyers of high-end Tesla models dig deeper into their pockets.

The state Air Resources Board, the agency that regulates the program, has also reduced the standard rebate by $500 per vehicle, from $2,500 to $2,000 for all-electric cars, and eliminated rebates for plug-in hybrid cars with an electric-battery range of less than 35 miles.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, a vocal advocate for electric cars in the Legislature, criticized the changes. He said the new rules create confusion for buyers.

“The rebate program could be killed by death by 1,000 bureaucratic memos,” Ting told The Chronicle.

Ting sponsored a bill this year that could have tripled rebates, but it died in committee. He said the state should ramp up incentives and decrease them over time with a specific end date, so people have incentive to buy now.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Publication: Sacramento Bee

Newly released data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles show the state making a huge dent in the wait times customers are experiencing across the state.

In a report sent to state lawmakers last month, the DMV showed it has cut delays nearly in half. As of September, customers across the state without an appointment waited an average of 38 minutes, which represents a 48 percent decrease from the average time of 73 minutes customers experienced at the same time last year.

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As of November, 6.7 million customers had gotten a Real ID since the DMV started issuing the cards in January 2018, according to Anita Gore, a spokeswoman for the DMV.

This pales in comparison, however, to the 21.5 million still eligible for a Real ID card and the 10 million the DMV expects to see come in for it between now and the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline.

“We’ll have millions of Californians coming in, in a year that they normally would not be coming,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco. “I worry when we get to July, August, and September (of 2020), we’ll have more unbearable wait times.”

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Publication: Sacramento Bee

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is asking lawmakers for a budget boost of $2.2 million to help it register voters ahead of the state’s March 3, 2020 primary.

It’s a fairly small sum, but it follows a $242 million increase in the DMV’s budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom granted the department in June.

Lawmakers and Newsom allocated more money for the department because it is handling a crunch of customers seeking so-called Real ID cards that Californians will need by October 2020 to board airplanes without a passport. The DMV’s total budget this year is $1.36 billion.

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Democrats, such as Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, say the money is needed, given the importance of registering eligible Californians.

“It makes more sense to be fighting for our democracy,” Ting said. “This is a small investment to make sure more people can vote.”

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Media Outlet: Sea Change Radio

Can you imagine how hard it must be for legislators to know where to focus their energies? The problems that require reform and improved public policy are vast and varied. But as this week’s guest explains, there’s really nothing more important than ensuring clean air and water. Today on Sea Change Radio, we speak with California Assemblymember Phil Ting about his efforts to promote recycling and cleaner cars. We look at the impediments to systemic change, breakdown his proposals, and talk about the amount of political capital required to advance the most fundamental components of life on earth: clean air and water.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Publication: San Francisco Examiner via Bay City News

Gun shows will continue to be banned from taking place at the Cow Palace in Daly City, the Cow Palace Board of Directors voted Tuesday.

The board first voted to ban the shows from happening at the fairground back in April in response to a growing movement to stop them.

Both state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Phil Ting, both D-San Francisco, have been proponents of ending the gun shows. Earlier this year, they authored Senate Bill 281 to permanently end them. The legislation, however, has not yet passed.

Monday, November 18, 2019

CA Receives $7.1 M Federal Grant To Continue Nutrition Incentives at Farmers Markets & Small RetailersThe California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been awarded a Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) grant of $7,166,877 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fund nutrition incentives at Certified Farmers Markets and small retailers throughout the state.
 
The grant will help fund the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP), which offers nutrition incentives to CalFresh shoppers utilizing benefits at participating farmers markets and retail outlets. For every CalFresh benefit dollar spent, CNIP offers CalFresh shoppers an additional dollar to spend on California-grown fruits and vegetables, within set parameters. This incentive is intended to empower CalFresh shoppers to increase their consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.
 
“CNIP addresses food insecurity and access to fresh fruits and vegetables among low-income Californians while simultaneously supporting and expanding markets for California farmers,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said. “We’re honored to have been awarded a GusNIP grant for the second time to help continue this good work.”
 
CNIP began in 2017 and is administered by CDFA’s Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F), which leads CDFA’s food access work. The GusNIP award is matched by state funds to provide funding for incentives, program operations, and marketing and outreach. CDFA will work with seven partner organizations, chosen through a competitive grant process, to implement the program.
 
“The California Nutrition Incentive Program is a crucial program that I continue to champion because increasing access to farmers markets helps residents improve their health,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, who authored legislation to create the program. “This $7.1 million federal grant is great news and ensures that those who can’t always afford fresh, locally grown produce can now do so. Nutritious food is the foundation for good health.”
 
More information about CNIP, its grantees and participating retail outlets can be found at https://cafarmtofork.cdfa.ca.gov/cnip.html 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Nation’s first publicly funded diaper bank expands to nutrition safety net program, doubling the number of free diapers available to City babies

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco is now the first county in the nation to provide free diapers as a supplementary benefit for families who receive CalFresh food assistance, known at the federal level as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The announcement comes from the San Francisco Diaper Bank, a partnership between the Human Services Agency (HSA) and Help a Mother Out (HAMO), that provides a free monthly supply of diapers to residents with children under age three who participate in CalWORKs and, starting in November, CalFresh.

Diaper need, known as the lack of sufficient diapers to keep infants and young children dry, comfortable, and healthy, is a common, distressing, and often hidden issue for low-income parents. Nationally, one in three families struggles with diaper need. 

San Francisco Announces Free Diapers For Families In Need

The average monthly diaper bill for a child under age three can range from $80–100 per month. Yet, for the most part, social safety net programs for families do not recognize diapers as a necessity. The cost of diapers is not an allowable expense under federal programs that provide food assistance to young children like SNAP or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

“We must ensure every child in California is off to a great start. From health problems to being shut out of childcare programs, having little or no access to clean diapers can be hard on families and impact the outcome of a child’s life,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. “As a father, I know firsthand the reach the Diaper Bank will now have as a result of the increase in state funding.”

California is a leader in pursuing policy strategies to reduce diaper need. The Diaper Bank expansion to CalFresh households in San Francisco is made possible by a $2.5 million grant awarded to HAMO in support of diaper access programs in the Bay Area by the California Department of Social Services. The program expansion doubles eligibility to 2,500 San Francisco children whose families currently receive CalWORKs or CalFresh benefits for cash, employment, or food assistance from HSA.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Publication: Sacramento Bee

If you’ve been thinking about buying a pricey electric car in California, you’d better get on it soon if you’d like to get a rebate from the state.

Last month, the state agency that manages California’s electric vehicle rebate program announced that beginning Dec. 3, it was going to discontinue rebate programs for new electric cars that cost more than $60,000 and for plug-in hybrid cars that can only travel 35 miles on a single charge.

The agency also is reducing rebates for higher-income buyers for some hybrids, zero-emission motorcycles and vehicles with fuel cells, and limiting the number of rebates Californians can receive to once per lifetime.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said he was disappointed by the changes, especially since a federal tax credit for cars such as the Chevy Volt and the Telsa Model 3 is going away, which he said will hurt sales.

He said California only has 600,000 electric vehicles on the road today, well short of the state’s goal of putting 5 million on the road by 2030.

“I think the rebates should be going up not down,” Ting said. “I think we should be bolder. Climate change is real. ... If we want clean air, we need clean cars. We have to do everything possible to move people out of dirty cars into clean cars as soon as possible.”

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