COVID: California Lawmakers Pass School Reopening Bill

Publication: San Jose Mercury

The $6.6 billion compromise legislation is loaded with incentives to entice more schools to reopen this spring

A $6.6 billion compromise bill loaded with incentives to entice more schools to reopen this spring headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk Thursday after passing out of the legislature with bipartisan support — and acknowledgment of its shortcomings.

The legislation, Assembly and Senate bills 86, offers public schools a share of $2 billion in aid for reopening costs if they resume some level of in-person instruction by the end of March, with decreasing amounts up to a May 15 deadline. An additional $4.6 billion is aimed at helping address learning loss from remote instruction. The Assembly passed the bill 72-4 after the Senate approved it 36-0.

“Like everybody said, this bill may not be what’s best for you, your family or your district, but I believe this bill is the best for our state,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, who led the effort to craft a bill to help speed reopening of public schools, in which California has lagged other states.

VIDEO: Asm. Phil Ting Discusses Legislature’s School Reopening Plan

KTLA/Inside California Politics

Nikki Laurenzo talks to Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, about the plan to reopen California schools for in-person learning and what differences the legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom have.

“We held off so we could continue to have discussions with the administration,” Ting said.

Newsom Signs Economic Relief Package, Sending $600 Stimulus Payments To Low-Income Californians

Publication: Capitol Public Radio

Millions of low-income and undocumented Californians will get $600 relief payments after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a sweeping stimulus package to aid those hit hardest by the pandemic, including small businesses. 

The governor approved the plan at Solomon’s Deli in downtown Sacramento Tuesday morning, where he dodged several questions on plans to reopen schools for in-person learning as negotiations resumed. 

Newsom praised the $7.6 billion plan as a way to help businesses and individuals that did not benefit from federal stimulus packages.

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It includes enough money to send an estimated 5.7 million low-income, disabled and undocumented Californians a $600 rebate when they file their 2020 taxes.

Those eligible include:

  1. Households that earn less than $30,000 annually and qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit
  2. Nonresident tax filers who earn up to $75,000
  3. CalWORKS recipients
  4. Individuals enrolled in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) 

“This is such an important bill, because it gets millions of hardworking Californians instant money that they so desperately need during this tough time,” said Assembly Budget Chairman Phil Ting (D–San Francisco).

Video Interview: Assemblymember Explains Efforts to Protect Asian Americans From Hate Crimes

Publication: Fox 40/Sacramento

There’s been an increase in violence against Asian Americans as some blame innocent people for the coronavirus outbreak.

Now, lawmakers are working to give that community the resources and protection they deserve.

Sonseeahray spoke to San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting about how lawmakers are addressing these hate crimes in the state of California.

California Passes Bill Allocating $1.4M To Track Anti-Asian Bias and Hate Crimes

Publication: Sacramento Bee

California legislators approved $1.4 million in state funding to help combat anti-Asian violence and racism through the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center on Monday.

Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco and chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, secured funding through the passage of AB 85, which provides $7.6 billion in additional state resources for the ongoing pandemic response. The money will be used to support Stop AAPI Hate’s research and help the organization track anti-Asian incidents, which have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law Tuesday.

“The rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic is alarming,” Ting said in a statement. “But, we can’t solve a problem without knowing how big it is. New state funding allows the data gathering to continue, and the research will ultimately lead us to solutions that will make all communities safer.”

California & Bay Area Funding Pour in to Document Anti-Asian Sentiment, Hate Crime

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

California lawmakers approved $1.4 million in funding Monday that’ll pay for the study and documentation of xenophobia and hate crimes against Asian Americans amid the pandemic.

The state funds were secured by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, through the passing of AB 85, which provides additional resources for California’s ongoing pandemic response.

“The rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic is alarming,” Ting said in a statement Monday. “But, we can’t solve a problem without knowing how big it is. New state funding allows the data gathering to continue, and the research will ultimately lead us to solutions that will make all communities safer.”

California Legislature Approves $1.4 Million in State Funding To Help Address Surge of Hate and Xenophobia Directed toward Asian Americans

California Legislature Approves .4 Million in State Funding To Help Address Surge of Hate and Xenophobia Directed toward Asian Americans In response to the recent wave of hate incidents targeting Asian Americans, California lawmakers today approved $1.4 million in state funding to bolster the research and reporting work underway that is tracking this concerning trend. The Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (APILC) lauds the efforts of Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, who secured the appropriation as part of AB 85, a fiscal measure providing additional resources for California’s ongoing pandemic response.

“The history of the Asian American Pacific Islander community in the United States has been punctuated by times of racism and hate including the Chinese Exclusion Act, the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americas in World War II, the murder of Vincent Chin, hate crimes against Sikhs after 9/11, and most recently, attacks and murder of API seniors incited by racist rhetoric about the COVID pandemic,’ said Dr. Richard Pan, Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. “I am grateful that California will be funding data collection and research at UCLA to address racism and hate against the API community thanks to the leadership of Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting.”

Asian Americans have been wrongly blamed for the coronavirus and have increasingly been subjected to racist behavior. As cases escalated, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate reporting website nearly a year ago. They have been tracking incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination and child bullying against Asians and Pacific Islanders in California and the United States. In the last month, the Bay Area has particularly seen more and more attacks directed toward seniors – one 84-year-old man died as a result of his injuries.

“The rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic is alarming. But, we can’t solve a problem without knowing how big it is. New state funding allows the data gathering to continue, and the research will ultimately lead us to solutions that will make all communities safer,” said Ting.

Through 2020, more than 2,800 incidents have been logged. Of that, more than 1,200 occurred in California. It is widely believed the numbers are under-reported, as many victims distrust the government and are reluctant to come forward.

Nonetheless, tracking is still important and the new state funding ensures that continues. Data is critical for law enforcement and our community as they try to put a stop to the violence. The information gathered will help us move past this dark chapter in American history, spurring accountability and action to bring about justice and peace.

AB 85 awaits the Governor’s signature.

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Ting Introduces Second Chances Bill Helping Millions of Californians

Ting Introduces Second Chances Bill Helping Millions of CaliforniansMillions of Californians face barriers to employment, housing and education because of old arrests and convictions, increasing the likelihood of recidivism. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has introduced AB 1308, legislation that would automatically clear criminal records for people already entitled to such treatment under current law. Many don’t go through the existing process because it’s burdensome and expensive.

“California believes in rehabilitation and invests heavily in programs that give incarcerated people a second chance. Yet after they’ve paid their debt to society and are released, they’re trapped in a ‘paper prison.’ They cannot find work, a place to live or go to school,” said Ting. “We can easily help them get back on their feet and lead productive lives by making it easier for them to automatically clear their records.”

AB 1308 builds upon a recent law that Ting championed in 2019, providing automated records relief for certain convictions occurring January 1, 2021 or later once individuals have served their sentences and completed probation; it also applies to arrests that did not result in a conviction. The new proposal, sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice and Prosecutors Alliance, would make the policy retroactive to arrests and convictions starting from 1973, opening doors to a fresh start for millions more people.

More Homeowners Can Be Part of the Solution to CA’s Housing Crisis Under Ting Proposal

Sacramento – California has long known Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) can boost the state’s affordable housing supply, forging legislation in recent years to make them easier and less expensive to build. Commonly known as casitas, backyard cottages, granny flats and in-law units, ADUs enable homeowners to generate rental income or keep family, like aging parents, close by – both desirable benefits, especially during a pandemic.

However, ADU construction loans are often difficult to secure. Under AB 561 introduced today by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the state would create a financing program for homeowners who don’t typically qualify for traditional loans so they, too, can experience the advantages of property additions and be part of the solution to California’s housing crisis.

“The number of ADUs has skyrocketed, as a result of our new laws that have encouraged their growth. But the flurry of activity is mostly happening in wealthier areas,” said Ting. “In the name of equity and fairness, we must extend this opportunity for rental income and increased housing supply across all neighborhoods.”

ADU ExamplesWith changes like lower fees, faster approvals and bans on parking and minimum lot size requirements, ADU permits in California jumped 11-fold from 2017-2019. However, an August 2020 study by UC Berkeley’s Terner Center found much of that production occurred in places where home values or rents are high. AB 561 would help extend the reach of ADUs beyond those areas, paving the way to greater adoption in more parts of the state.

Ting’s proposal is estimated to create an additional 50,000 homes over five years. The advantage of ADUs is the speed with which they can be built, and why more states and cities are embracing them as a meaningful housing solution. Units can be up and running in a few months; in contrast, a new complex or subdivision takes years.

AB 561 is expected to be heard in committee this spring.

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