Saturday, June 13, 2020

Publication: Sacramento Bee

From credit card support to an online field office, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has made a swath of changes to its customer experience in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic.

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strike team uncovered critical problems in the department’s command structure and customer service capabilities.

Now, after working through a pandemic that closed all of its offices for more than two months, DMV Director Steve Gordon said the department has made some necessary changes.


One of the outspoken critics, Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said this week that the department is taking steps in the right direction.

“The DMV’s job during the pandemic wasn’t easy, balancing health and safety with the public’s needs,” he said in a statement. “But new leadership also saw these challenging times as an opportunity to implement some improvements, such a redesigned website that’s more user-friendly and the creation of a virtual office. These changes have led us toward a department of the future that better serves Californians.”


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Assembly Advances Package of Bills to Address Homelessness

Package of legislation aims reduce homelessness and ensure funds are used efficiently 

Sacramento, CA--A package of bills proposed by California lawmakers to tackle California’s homelessness crisis passed the California State Assembly this week. The proposals aim to establish aggressive new strategies, ensure accountability, and increase funding to address homelessness.

On any given night, more than 150,000 Californians experience homelessness, and the state has the highest rate of unsheltered homeless individuals in the nation. Even as people are housed, more are falling into homelessness. In Los Angeles County, for every 133 people housed, 150 fall into homelessness. In Oakland, for one person housed, two more become homeless. In San Francisco, for every one person housed, three become homeless. 

As COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the state, the need to comprehensively address homelessness has only become more urgent. With more than a quarter of California’s workforce unemployed, individuals who were already facing precarious financial situations have become more susceptible to falling into homelessness. With troubling outbreaks in unhoused communities across the state, COVID-19 has been especially dangerous for those experiencing homelessness.

The bills that moved forward this week seek to address homeless on a number of fronts, ranging from requiring accountability to implementing bold new strategies to speeding up construction of shelters.   

While many localities have tried mightily to increase their emergency shelter capacity, cities still run into roadblocks like lengthy approval processes and slow construction. Assembly Bill 2553 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) would address this by giving localities flexibility to expedite the construction of shelters. AB 2553 expands and builds off of the successful emergency shelter pilot program passed in 2017.

“The key to getting emergency shelters up and running quickly is flexibility,” said Assemblymember Ting. “Cities and counties cannot afford delays when homeless individuals and families need a roof over their heads now. With my bill, local leaders will be able to overcome hurdles that can slow construction when time is of the essence.” 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Senate, Assembly Reach Agreement on 2020-21 Budget

SACRAMENTO— Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), and Budget Committee Chairs, Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D- San Francisco) announced today an agreement has been reached between the Senate and the Assembly on the proposed 2020-2021 state budget.

The joint legislative plan builds on the Governor’s framework to further protect jobs and preserve vital services, while recognizing the sober economic outlook facing California. Acknowledging the strong likelihood of additional federal relief, the plan would use reserves to avoid overcutting now, while still keeping reserves on hand for the future, and ensuring full funding of K-14 schools. The plan also increases legislative oversight on COVID-19 spending, recognizes that employee groups are engaging in the collective bargaining process with the administration, and encourages health plans to engage with the administration in discussing options that may be needed in the months ahead.

“The joint legislative budget agreement shows our commitment to helping all Californians through the tough times brought on by COVID-19,” said Ting. “We prioritized vital safety net programs and restored many proposed cuts because we cannot leave working families behind, as we forge a path to economic recovery. This shared fiscal plan gives us momentum to pass a balanced, on-time budget by the June 15th deadline.”

“Our economy has been pummeled by COVID-19, but thanks to a decade of pragmatic budgeting, we can avoid draconian cuts to education and critical programs, or broad middle-class tax increases. Californians are counting on us to make the right call at the right time. Working families who still have jobs but need the state’s safety net are relying on us to budget carefully so that our state, and all who live here, can rebound,” said Atkins. “This plan builds off the spirit of Governor Newsom’s proposal, and will set our state on a path of economic recovery, while avoiding actions that would further harm Californians.”

“The key budget goal is preserving programs serving those who are most vulnerable. Nevertheless, all the budget plans being discussed acknowledge the possibility that more difficult cuts will be necessary, due to COVID spending needs and weak revenues,” said Rendon. “This will be especially true if Washington, D.C. doesn't step up. The Legislature is prepared to work closely with the Governor to achieve California's goals. That's how, over the past decade, we built the large budget reserve that now helps us face the fiscal crisis.”  

“Although we worked with an abbreviated timeframe, the integrity and responsibility of our proposal has been maintained. Everyone has stepped up to the plate to make sure we do not make conditions worse. The Administration had a tough job, working with a $54 billion shortfall; we used their proposal with a couple of key differences. We still have a lot of work to do but we are aware the June 15 budget deadline will not be our last action this year due to the ongoing devastating impacts of COVID-19,” said Mitchell.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Publications: KCRA-TV

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The state budget is due in less than three weeks and lawmakers are still divided over how to balance a $54 billion deficit.

While wearing face masks on Tuesday, lawmakers did something they haven’t done in 25 years: They met in the Assembly chamber as a Committee of the Whole.

The last time they did so was 1995 when Orange County was facing bankruptcy. Today, the issue was California’s record deficit.

“We really wanted to bring everyone together to make sure they got all their questions answered,” said Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Publication: Look West Podcast

The World Health Organization and the United Nations have issued warnings of a pending global mental health crisis due to the wide, long-lasting implications of the coronavirus outbreak. Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Sharon Quirk-Silva, James Ramos, and Phil Ting address the growing needs for mental health during this pandemic and what communities are affected the most. They emphasize these issues and specific ways to take care of our mental health.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Publication: KCBS Radio

As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, KCBS Radio is getting the answers to your questions about the coronavirus pandemic. Every morning at 9:20 a.m. Monday-Friday we're doing an "Ask An Expert" segment with a focus on a different aspect of this situation each day.

Today we’re looking at all things California including the state budget, relief, restrictions and more with Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting who represents part of San Francisco and San Mateo County.

Monday, May 18, 2020

   Update: To view an archive of the Virtual Roundtable, please click here.

Bipartisan Virtual Roundtable on The California State Budget

As the Assembly begins hearings on the state’s 2020-21 fiscal plan, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, is holding a virtual roundtable to preview the work ahead to close an estimated $54 billion deficit. Joining the discussion will be Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chair, Assemblymember Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) and Legislative Analyst, Gabriel Petek.

            WHEN:            Monday, May 18

            TIME:              10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

            LINK:               Facebook.com/PhilTing SF

Schedules and audio/video links for budget hearings during the week of May 18 can be found here.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Sacramento - Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, released the following statement about the Governor’s May Revision for the 2020-21 state budget:

“We have learned from this COVID-19 pandemic that swift, decisive action saves lives – every day, every minute, matters. Countries, states and cities that moved quickly have seen the benefits and those that delayed have suffered dire consequences. We must act as urgently to help our residents who don’t have the means to weather the loss of a paycheck.

Before this pandemic, with most Californians working, we knew many families were unable to save even $400. Since this economic downturn, more than 4 million Californians have applied for unemployment. California must focus its fiscal resources to ensure those families are housed and economically stable. If we are asking people to stay at home, we must commit to keeping a roof over their heads. Support from the federal government will be critical, but we must chart our own course and make bold, creative decisions now to protect working families – otherwise, we will have to spend significant state resources to help them in the future.

The Governor’s May Revise explores many tough choices and is a good starting point for our budget discussions. I look forward to spending the next month working with our Speaker and my fellow Assemblymembers, the Senate and the Governor to deliver a balanced, on-time budget by June 15th.”

The Assembly Budget Committee released a preliminary analysis of the Governor’s budget proposal on its website.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Publication: Race and the Coronavirus Podcast and Newsletter

Assemblymember Phil Ting is the first guest on the podcast and newsletter called Race and the Coronavirus.