What About Rebate Checks? Democrats Want To Spend California’s Surplus on Infrastructure

State lawmakers want to use a projected $31 billion surplus to fuel an infrastructure boom, a tactic that could reduce the amount Californians might see in any rebate checks this year – if they happen at all. The state expects to have so much money it risks exceeding a state spending threshold called the Gann Limit. If it does, it must send more money to schools and some money back to taxpayers through rebates.

KQED Newsroom Special: California’s Plastic Problem

Plastic is a big part of our everyday lives: It keeps our food fresh, has made all kinds of advanced medical equipment possible, and is a key component in a broad range of innovations from cars to computers, from phones to contact lenses. But new research is finding plastic in places you wouldn’t expect: in our water, in salt, and in the placentas of pregnant women. Tiny particles of microplastics are in the air we breathe and in the waters of the San Francisco Bay. Efforts to recycle plastic to keep it out of landfills are hampered by the sheer variety and volume of plastic produced.

Assembly Budget Blueprint Aims to Deliver Prosperity To More Californians While Strengthening The State’s Future

California’s economic recovery from the pandemic is going strong with another budget surplus forecasted in the next year. But not every resident is reaping the benefits of this upswing. In today’s unveiling of his 2022-23 Budget Blueprint, Delivering Prosperity & Strengthening the Future, Assembly Budget Chair, Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), emphasized the priority of ensuring the state’s economic recovery is more inclusive.

“We made bold investments in last year’s budget, and many of those initiatives have yet to be completed. We must see those commitments through and make certain they are working to lift up Californians still struggling from the impacts of COVID-19. We’re a stronger state when we all are doing well,” said Ting.

In addition to expanding prosperity, the Assembly Budget Blueprint devotes one-time funds to infrastructure projects to complement federal funds and prepares the state for the years ahead.

Applications Now Open For State Grants To Address Hate Against Asians & Pacific Islanders

California organizations that have been supporting Asian/Pacific Islander (API) victims of hate or pursuing ways to prevent such incidents can now apply for a Stop The Hate grant to ensure their impactful work continues. The Department of Social Services’ Request For Applications makes $20 million available starting today. The funding is part of the historic $166.5 million API Equity Budget championed by Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and the California API Legislative Caucus this year. It aims to address the alarming spike in hate crimes and incidents against the API community members, who have been wrongly blamed for the pandemic.

California Now Limits Medical Parole To Those On Ventilators

A new California policy could send dozens of quadriplegic, paraplegic or otherwise permanently incapacitated inmates from nursing homes back to state prisons.

Prison officials say a change in federal rules led them to limit medical parole to inmates so ill they are hooked to ventilators to breathe, meaning their movement is so limited they are not a public danger. The state previously included a much broader range of permanent incapacities allowing inmates to be cared for in nursing homes outside prison walls.

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Ting Statement on the Legislative Analyst’s Fiscal Outlook

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, released the following statement about California’s latest Fiscal Outlook from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO):

Our historic 2021-22 budget has allowed us to make tremendous strides in improving the lives of so many Californians. Whether it was stimulus checks, rent relief, greater educational opportunities, or expanded safety net programs, including healthcare, we have helped millions navigate through some pandemic-driven hardships. Our strong financial standing also made it possible for us to reimagine the state’s future, helping us create new programs, such as transitional kindergarten, climate resiliency, more housing and universal school meals. It’s our job now to provide oversight, making sure we follow through on those commitments and that these new investments are working.

Police Have a Tool to Take Guns From Potential Shooters, But Many Aren’t Using It

The most broadly adopted gun-control measure in the U.S. in recent years is rarely being used in many cities and counties, government data show. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., now have red-flag laws, which allow authorities, and sometimes family members or co-workers, to ask judges to order the temporary seizure of guns from people threatening violence. But many jurisdictions have used the laws to take away few or no guns, a Wall Street Journal analysis of the data shows.