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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting and State Senator Scott Wiener sent a letter to California Labor Secretary Julie Su about the growing number of constituents unable to or have yet to receive unemployment benefits. The San Francisco delegation expressed concerns over delays in processing claims, causing needless financial strain on families. Members also encouraged the state to fix systemic computer problems and improve inefficiencies that could speed the time in which Califiornians receive their payments. You can read the entire letter here: EDD Letter to Secty Su May 2020 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Publication: CalMatters

Every first of the month, California’s past due rent bill gets bigger. 

As the state enters May sheltering in place for the seventh straight week to stop the spread of COVID-19, nearly 1 in 5 California workers have filed for unemployment, with millions more wondering if their next paycheck will actually materialize. 

A disproportionate share of the abruptly laid-off and underemployed are lower-wage renters, who were already struggling to afford the state’s sky-high housing costs before the pandemic shuttered the restaurants, retail stores and rideshare operations that employed them. 

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, Democrat from San Francisco and chair of the Assembly budget committee, says that some type of general public assistance bond floated on the November ballot could potentially be used to fund additional rental help while buttressing state coffers. But he cautioned the lion’s share of the money would have to come from Washington D.C. 

“It will have to primarily come from the federal government,” said Ting. “They have the ability to borrow money, and we don’t.” 

Billions of dollars from the federal CARES Act headed to California could conceivably be redirected for rental assistance, although experts say more rounds of federal funding will be necessary to meet the need in any meaningful way. Given Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments on allowing states to pursue bankruptcy in lieu of additional federal support, Ting says he’s unconvinced that funding will be forthcoming. 

“I’m not confident the federal government can do anything at this point,” said Ting

Ting has his own proposal for rental help that doesn’t require a major infusion of state dollars: AB 828 would allow renters facing the prospect of eviction for non-payment of rent to petition the court for a 25% reduction in rent payments for the next year, with the renter making up missed rent in monthly 10% installments. The rent reduction would only proceed if the court determined renters were unable to afford rent because of COVID-19, and small landlords would have an opportunity to demonstrate their own financial hardship resulting from reduced rents.

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Alice BulosSacramento – A beloved leader in the Bay Area’s Filipino community may soon have a highway segment named after her. The Assembly Transportation Committee today approved ACR 165, a resolution by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that designates the Daly City portion of State Route 35 as the Alice Peña Bulos Memorial Highway.

“Every May, we celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month to commemorate the important contributions Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have provided our country,” said Ting.  “With this in mind, it is my honor to recognize Alice Peña Bulos, who is considered the Godmother of Filipino American politics and empowerment.  Her career in community organizing epitomizes leadership not just in the Filipino community, but also throughout the state of California. I am proud to represent the district where Bulos’ activism was rooted and her legacy lives on.”

Bulos was born on March 31, 1930 in the Philippines. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in social and behavioral science at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila where she later served as professor and chair of the Department of Sociology.  In 1972, she and her family moved to San Francisco and later to Sacramento. Over the span of four decades, Bulos dedicated herself to empowering generations of Filipino Americans to amplify their voices through civic participation. Her influence includes serving on the Filipino American Caucus for the California Democratic Party, the National Filipino Women’s Network, and the National Asian Pacific Democratic Council.

“Throughout her life, ‘Tita Alice’ was committed to opening doors for young Fil-Ams who wanted to enter public service and politics but did not see themselves represented in those places of power. While she is no longer with us, her memory lives on in her family and the numerous friends, supporters, and pupils she inspired over her decades of service,” said the Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County, whose members include Daly City and South San Francisco Council members, as well as other prominent San Mateo County Filipino American leaders.  

ACR 165 has a few more stops in the legislative process. If it’s signed into law, supporters may raise money for the cost of signage. Non-state funds are required for the creation of all memorial highway signs.

Photo Courtesy: Filipino American Democratic Caucus

Friday, May 1, 2020

Publication: Climate One Podcast

The COVID-19 recession has happened faster and hit deeper than most people could have imagined. Perhaps not surprisingly, the people most at risk in a shuttered economy are often the same people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Assemblymember Phil Ting is among the guests for this episode.

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California state assemblyman member Phil Ting introduced a bill that would allow only zero emission passenger vehicles to be registered in the state starting in 2040.  That bill didn’t go very far and Ting pulled it when opposition arose from some surprising places.

Phil Ting:  The basic idea is if you want clean air you need clean cars.  And we’ve seen what would happen if we actually move to clean cars today.  Without having millions of cars on the road every day we see for the first time in a long time L.A. has got three weeks running of clean air.  The Bay Area air quality is significantly better.  We know what the solution is we just haven't had the will or frankly some of the technology that's needed.  I believe we need to set a deadline for any assignment.  If you have an assignment without a deadline it never gets done.  And so without having a deadline for when we need to transition to new clean cars completely.  It's very difficult to signal to the industry how far along they should be how many cars should be selling.  I voted for having that deadline by 2040 I’d hope that it would get further than it did.  I thought that with so many other countries already moving this direction that us following other countries seem to be common sense.  England, France, India, Norway have already moved to that deadline or even more aggressively.  I was surprised about a few environmental groups as well as electric vehicle groups did not embrace this notion of setting a deadline.  Trump had gotten elected most environmental groups were very afraid of the rollbacks that have now occurred.  They are worried about how California moving in a certain direction was gonna hinder some of their work to hold the Obama gains together which have now been lost.  Since then we’ve taken certain immediate steps.  I had a bill last year AB 40 that also got held up.  But we were able to put the point of the bill into the budget, which was to actually study how we get to clean cars by 2040.  How many charging stations do we need how many different types of cars do we need.  If someone wants to buy truck and there’s no clean option, they’ll still gonna go buy a truck.  As you and I know the most profitable cars continue to be the biggest gas guzzlers whether it’s trucks, minivans SUVs are the ones with the worst gas mileage but with the highest profit margin.  So really so many auto companies have been reticent to really move to clean cars.

Greg Dalton:  That was California State Assemblymember Phil Ting

Monday, April 27, 2020

Publication: Courthouse News

Business owners, worker advocates and budget experts told California lawmakers at a state budget hearing Monday that officials should increase support for small businesses — including by potentially relaxing some regulations — and struggling workers in plans for economic recovery after the coronavirus emergency.

The hearing took place as San Francisco Bay Area counties extended stay-at-home orders through the month of May and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced 45 new deaths from Covid-19 and 1,300 new positive cases.

Assemblymember Phil Ting, chair of the California Assembly Budget Committee, framed Monday’s hearing as a chance for experts to weigh in on lawmakers’ arduous task of crafting a budget that benefits as many residents and businesses as possible.

“There’s no sector of the state that’s left really untouched by this pandemic,” Ting said. “The biggest challenge is that we cannot deficit-spend. We have to pass a balanced budget on June 15. That will limit the help people are asking for.”

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Friday, April 24, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

As hospitals and county health departments scramble to secure masks and other personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, California has used its statewide purchasing power to act as a crucial backstop.

So far, the state has distributed more than 46.5 million masks — both N95 respirators and surgical masks — across the state, according to data from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The data, which are current as of April 17, provide a breakdown of how state agencies have spread coveted protective supplies on a county level. Generally, counties with a high number of confirmed cases have received the most shipments.

Combined, the nine Bay Area counties, sites of several early hot spots of the outbreak, have received more than 14.5 million masks.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who chairs the Budget Committee, has been among the lawmakers pushing for more details on how the state shares masks and other equipment.

“Information hasn’t always been readily flowing between the administration, the Legislature,” Ting said as he started the April 20 hearing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

California has launced a new website listing volunteer opportunities for people wanting to safely help during the pandemic. If you are healthy and want to have a positive impact in your community, click here.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

California lawmakers of both political parties have a message for Gov. Gavin Newsom on the state’s coronavirus response: Start sharing full details about what you’re spending.

Tensions between Newsom’s administration and lawmakers hung over a hearing at the Capitol in Sacramento on Monday, as Assembly members questioned why they haven’t received more information or been consulted on how the state is spending money to fight the virus.

The hearing was the Assembly Budget Committee’s first oversight review of how California agencies are spending an estimated $7 billion in emergency expenses due to the pandemic. Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Francisco Democrat who chairs the committee, started the hearing by praising Newsom’s response to the crisis. Then, he quickly pivoted to a common complaint.

“Information hasn’t always been readily flowing between the administration, the Legislature,” Ting said. He added that lawmakers want information about how the state distributes masks and other personal protective equipment, as well as where it has leased hotel and motel rooms to house homeless people.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

SACRAMENTO— Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D- Lakewood) announced today that the Assembly has scheduled its first Budget subcommittee hearing focused on the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6, chaired by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D- San Francisco), will meet on Monday, April 20, at 10:00am in Room 4202 in the State Capitol.

The hearing will include oversight and assessment of California’s COVID-19 expenditures, including the use of the emergency funds approved by the Legislature in March.

“These are unusual circumstances for the Legislature, but it is our role to oversee and ensure the efficient and effective spending of California tax dollars,” Rendon said. “Now, more than ever, it’s critical that we do so.”

“California has worked hard over the years to craft responsible budgets that built up our rainy day fund. Now that we need to dip into it, we must make sure we’re spending the money wisely because that rainy day is looking more like a rainy season, and may stretch even longer. The best way to keep tabs on our COVID-19 expenses and weather this pandemic is through robust accountability efforts. It is the responsibility of the Legislature to make sure resources are reaching all parts of the state and provide careful oversight of spending, just as our constituents at home are doing the same with their own personal budgets,” said Ting.

The Capitol will be open for attendance of this hearing. Given the statewide stay-at-home order, and guidance on physical distancing, seating will be very limited for press and for the public. All are encouraged to watch the hearing from its live stream on the Assembly’s website.

The method of participation in public testimony during this hearing will be announced closer to the hearing date, but will include an online option to support physical distancing and public health.