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Monday, March 16, 2020

San Francisco - Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding the six-county Bay Area shelter-in-place order:

“We are in unprecedented times. The Coronavirus pandemic poses a massive threat to our community’s health and well-being, to our economy, and to our way of life. We must confront it with firm and resolute steps to slow the contagion’s spread.

“Today’s six-county public health order directing people to remain at home unless absolutely necessary, and to close all non-essential businesses, is a critical step to combat the pandemic.

“We fully support this action by our county health authorities, and we ask that our constituents please respect this directive. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, you may still be infectious, and it's important that you stay inside to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to avoid overwhelming our healthcare system. We know that people are hurting, financially and otherwise. This short-term pain will help us avoid much more severe long-term consequences.

"We will work closely with local authorities to obtain any needed state approvals, and to eliminate any state barriers, to help ensure our communities can effectively combat the pandemic and help those in need."

 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) issued the following statement after sending a letter to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the Employment Development Department (EDD) urging that tax deadlines be adjusted for those affected the Coronavirus:

“We can all see the impact of the coronavirus emergency on our small businesses. Restaurants and stores that would otherwise be bustling sit eerily empty, and employees don’t know if they can count on their next paycheck. We must do all we can to ensure working families survive this economic crisis. I urge our state tax departments to use existing authority to conform to forthcoming actions from the federal government to provide relief and identify any additional statutory changes needed,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

You can read the full letter here: Ting Urges FTB & EDD to Adjust Tax Deadlines for Those Affected by COVID-19

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Coronavirus/COVID-19: What You Need To Know

Local public health departments, including those in Assembly District 19, are making dramatic recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus.

Functions that are essential to an individual or their family, such as getting food, traveling to work, or providing for a sick family member, can be continued. We expect these measures to be in place for an initial period of two weeks. This is an evolving situation and these recommendations are expected to change.
 

PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS

1) Vulnerable Populations: Limit Outings

  • Vulnerable populations include people who are:
    • 60 years old and older.
    • People with certain health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease and weakened immune systems.
  • For vulnerable populations, don’t go to gatherings (of about 50 people or more) unless it is essential. If you can telecommute, you should. Avoid people who are sick

2) Workplace and Businesses: Minimize Exposure

  • Suspend nonessential employee travel.
  • Minimize the number of employees working within arm’s length of one another, including minimizing or canceling large in-person meetings and conferences.
  • Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
  • Do not require a doctor’s note for employees who are sick for less than 5 days.
  • Consider use of telecommuting options.
  • Some people need to be at work to provide essential services of great benefit to the community. They can take steps in their workplace to minimize risk.

3) Large Gatherings: Cancel Non-essential Events

  • Recommend cancelling or postponing large gatherings, such as concerts, sporting events, conventions or large community events.
  • Do not attend any events or gatherings if sick.
  • For events that aren’t cancelled, we recommend:
    • Having hand washing capabilities, hand sanitizers and tissues available.
    • Frequently cleaning high touch surface areas like counter tops and hand rails.
    • Finding ways to create physical space to minimize close contact as much as possible.

4) Schools: Safety First

  • If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a school, public health departments will work with the school or the district to determine the best measures including potential school closure.
  • Do not go to school if sick.
  • If you have a child with chronic health conditions, consult your doctor about school attendance.
  • Equip all schools and classrooms with hand sanitizers and tissues.
  • Recommend rescheduling or cancelling medium to large events that are not essential.
  • Explore remote teaching and online options to continue learning.
  • Schools should develop a plan for citywide school closures, and families should prepare for potential closures.

5) Transit: Cleaning and Protection

  • Increase cleaning of vehicles and high touch surface areas.
  • Provide hand washing/hand sanitizers and tissues in stations and on vehicles.

6) Health Care Settings: Avoid as possible, protect the vulnerable

  • Long term care facilities must have a COVID-19 plan in accordance with DPH guidelines.
  • Long term care facilities must screen all staff and visitors for illness and turn away those with symptoms.
  • The general public should avoid going to medical settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, even if you are not ill.
  • If you are ill, call your health care provider ahead of time, and you may be able to be served by phone.
  • Do not visit emergency rooms unless it is essential.

7) Everyone: Do your part

The best way for us all to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump or wave.
  • If you have recently returned from a country, state or region with ongoing COVID-19 infections, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.

PREPARE & PROTECT

  • Prepare to work from home if that is possible for your job, and your employer.
  • Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family.
  • Prepare a child care plan if you or a care giver are sick.
  • Make arrangements about how your family will manage a school closure.
  • Plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.
  • Take care of each other and check in by phone with friends, family and neighbors that are vulnerable to serious illness or death if they get COVID-19.
  • Keep common spaces clean to help maintain a healthy environment for you and others. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly with disinfecting sprays, wipes or common household cleaning products.
Monday, March 9, 2020

Postponed: Coffee with Assemblymembers Ting & Mullin

Due to recommendations by the local Health Department, we are postponing this event that was

originally scheduled for Friday, March 13. We will let you know when we have a new date.

Thank you for your patience.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Bay Area Elected Officials Call on Verity Health System to Reverse Decision to Close Seton Medical Center

Ting attends March 6th rally urging Verity Health System to keep Seton Medical Center in Daly City open.

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo) released the following statement regarding Verity Health System’s decision to close Seton Medical Center in Daly City:

“Verity Health System’s decision to close two facilities will have a terrible impact to our communities in the southern portion of San Francisco and northern San Mateo County. With COVID-19 posing a public health challenge and our homelessness crisis worsening -- both of which are increasing trips to the ER -- the closure of Seton Medical Center in Daly City is a huge problem for the community. We demand that Verity follow state law mandating they give 90-day notice when shutting down an emergency room. We further demand that they follow the 30-day requirement for Seton Coastside in Moss Beach. With the nearest hospitals now farther away from Daly City, it’s possible that patients won’t get timely care because of the additional travel time. We are also concerned that the nearby facilities may become overcrowded. We will continue to work with local health departments to ensure residents will have access to affordable healthcare. Now is not the time to close down a hospital, and we ask Verity to reverse this decision.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Friday, February 28, 2020

With tax season here, it’s a good time to remind working residents to file for a refund through the Californian Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), an effective anti-poverty tool that puts cash back into the pockets of people who need it the most. If eligible, the upper range of the CalEITC can be between $240 and $2,982, depending on household size.

On top of the CalEITC refund, new this year is up to $1,000 more for families with at least one child under six years old. Income limits have also been raised for 2019 earnings.

New ‘Young Child Tax Credit’ & Higher Income Limits Among Highlights of This Year’s California Earned Income Tax Credit

“Research shows that too many people cannot cover an unexpected $400 expense,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). “California’s strong economy enables us to give a modest income boost to working families. Whether the money is for bills, school supplies or savings, a refund can be life-changing, especially when combined with the federal EITC.”

As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, Ting also championed previous expansions of CalEITC during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 budget cycles. With the inclusion of workers between ages 18-24 and over age 65, plus gig economy workers, more Californians have become eligible for a refund.

For the 2018 tax season, 2.1 million Californians claimed the CalEITC tax credit, receiving nearly $400 million back. For this year’s tax season, the Franchise Tax Board expects that number to increase to 3 million with about $1 billion claimed between the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit. Workers must file an income tax return in order to get the refund, even if they don’t owe any taxes. Every year, California leaves $2 billion of unclaimed state and federal EITC money on the table.

CalEITC began in 2015. 29 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a state EITC program to supplement the federal EITC. 

For more information or to find free tax assistance, please visit: www.CalEITC4me.org.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Ting Introduces Legislation Giving a Second Chance To Californians Living with Past Convictions

AB 2978 Automates Record Clearance For Those Already Qualified For Relief Under Current Law

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Expanding the reach of landmark criminal justice reform successfully championed last year, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) unveiled AB 2978 today, providing broad post-conviction relief to people who have fully completed the terms of their sentence and rehabilitation.

AB 2978, sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice and supported by district attorneys across party lines, would allow individuals with an eligible conviction dating back to 1973 to have their record automatically cleared when a person has fully completed the terms of their sentence. This proposal builds upon AB 1076, which Ting authored and was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019; automatic records clearance, however, applies only to new cases beginning next year and beyond. AB 2978 seeks retroactivity.

“For me this is about fairness,” said Ting. “While I’m grateful my law from last year will help those arrested after Jan. 1, 2021, millions of Californians today are still living in a paper prison. Their records prevent them from getting jobs or housing. Let’s give people with past convictions the same clean slate that individuals in the future will be entitled to. Everybody deserves a second chance.”

Under current law, people can only have old convictions on their records cleared by petitioning courts through an arduous and often costly process. It can require hiring a lawyer to help identify records and file the necessary paperwork. Many are discouraged from doing it. According to a report by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, automatically clearing an old conviction after a person has completed their sentence is key to regaining family stability and economic security, which, in turn, is an integral part of a comprehensive public safety strategy. 

In California alone, eight million people are living with a past conviction or record that can lead them to face thousands of legal restrictions to jobs, housing, and other opportunities. That number grows to over 70 million when considering the entire country. Nationally, it is estimated that the United States loses over $87 billion in gross domestic product every year because of employment losses among people with a past conviction. 

“Millions of Californians who have completed their sentence, paid their debt, and remained crime-free for years still have old, stale convictions on their record,” said Jay Jordan, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice. ‘This leads to thousands of legal restrictions that block people from employment, housing, education, and other critical opportunities. These restrictions undermine public safety and the economic viability of communities across California. We must mean what we say when we call someone rehabilitated and stop denying their ability to earn stability and move forward in their lives.”

AB 2978 is expected to have its first committee hearing this Spring. Pennsylvania and Utah have both recently enacted automated records clearance legislation, while similar legislation is being considered in Michigan.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Publication: CalMatters

Dale Carnegie could have been talking about Phil Ting when the positive-thinking guru said, decades ago, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

Ting is that person. Sometimes he’s the California Assembly’s Don Quixote, chasing seemingly impossible dreams. He has tried to persuade skeptical colleagues to punish companies that do business with the Trump administration and to tell Californians to park their gas-fueled cars forever — even as he performs the more practical task of managing the Assembly’s purse strings as chairman of the powerful budget committee.

For some practitioners, political accomplishment is a zero-sum proposition, with success measured by wins ­— legislation signed into law — and losses — bills that may die a lonely death in committee.

But Ting doesn’t see his work that way. He’s playing the long game. It’s a win, says Ting — a  key figure in California’s fight to slash auto emissions in the battle against climate change and — if his legislation does nothing more than start a conversation.

“I’d much rather raise the issue and have people pay attention,” he says. “Sometimes behavior changes.” 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Golden Gate Bridge to Remain Toll Free For Pedestrians & Bicyclists Under Ting Proposal

Toll Ban Extends to Six Other Bay Area Bridges

To encourage exercise and bolster environmental benefits, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has introduced AB 2674, banning the assessment of fees on anyone who walks or bikes across a toll bridge, including the Golden Gate Bridge. With the current ban expiring in January 2021, Ting’s new bill extends the date another ten years.

“We have spent decades promoting active lifestyles to improve our health and carbon-free transportation alternatives to combat our climate crisis. Sidewalk tolls would undo that work,” said Ting. “My bill ensures everyone has free access to bike and walk across California’s iconic bridges, encouraging more people to get out of their cars and enjoy the outdoors.” 

Ting authored the original law, AB 40 (2015), prohibiting bridge tolls on pedestrians and bicyclists for five years. At the time, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District was considering a fee for sidewalk use. As many as 10,000 people and 6,000 bicyclists cross the Golden Gate Bridge each day. The Golden Gate Bridge has been free of charge since 1970 for non-vehicle access – a policy that exemplifies California’s commitment to public recreation, while fostering sustainable ways to move around. AB 2674 protects this legacy not only for the Golden Gate Bridge, but for all toll bridges in the state.

“Bicycling and walking are solutions to many problems we face. State policy should encourage people to walk and bike, not penalize them by charging a fee to use public roads and bridges,” said Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition.

All eight of California’s toll bridges are located in the Bay Area. Seven of them have bike/pedestrian access:

  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
  • Richmond-San Rafael
  • Carquinez Bridge
  • Antioch Bridge
  • Dumbarton Bridge
  • Benicia/Martinez Bridge

AB 2674 is expected to be heard in committee this Spring.