News

Friday, September 25, 2020
Publication: CBS 13/Sacramento

A California assemblymember said nearly $200 million in operating costs will be saved after the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) announcement on Friday of the closure of a state prison in Tracy.

The Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy was chosen for closure based on operating costs, inmate housing needs, impact on the workforce and prioritization of public safety, according to CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz. According to the CDCR, annual operating costs for the prison are about $182 million.

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Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said the closure will also help the state avoid paying $800 million in “badly needed repairs.”

Here is Ting’s full statement:

“As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I have made it a priority to reverse the aggravating history of allocating more state General Fund money to prisons than to the University of California – especially as crime rates and the prison population have declined. In 2018, I pushed a budget trailer bill that laid the groundwork for identifying locations that could be closed without risking public safety. In this year’s budget, we committed to the closure of two prisons, one in 2021 and a second in 2022. DVI fits the criteria, and this first shut down will not only save us nearly $200 million a year in operating costs, but also avoids spending $800 million in badly needed repairs.”

The CDCR said in a news release that the closure of a state prison was included in the 2020 multi-year state budget plan, and Diaz said a need to achieve savings and a decline in prison population since 2007 contributed to the state’s decision to close a prison.

Full deactivation of the prison is expected for Sept. 30, 2021.

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Friday, September 25, 2020
Publication: Recycling Today

Gov. Newsom vetoed a previous version of the bill

California’s AB 793, which would require manufacturers to include recycled materials when making plastic beverage bottles, was approved by the state legislature in early September and was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Sept. 24. The legislation sets a phased-in timeline of when companies must meet minimum content standards, ultimately achieving 50 percent recycled content, surpassing the 30 percent mandate in the European Union.

“The time has come for shared responsibility,” says California Assemblymember Phil Ting, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Our environment suffers when companies keep making new plastic every time they need a drink container. They need to reuse what they’ve already made. If we don’t make this shift, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.”

AB 793 is designed to bolster the market for recycled polyethylene terephthalate in the state. Manufacturers must meet a number of deadlines for recycled content, achieving 15 percent by 2022, 25 percent by 2025 and 50 percent by 2030.  

“Assemblymember Ting and I worked extensively with the industry stakeholders to ensure that this bill is both bold and workable,” says California Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “The result is the most aggressive recycled content mandate in the world for plastic bottles.”

AB 793 is Ting’s second attempt at recycled-plastic content in bottles. Newsom vetoed a similar bill last year because of cost concerns, which Tsing says have been addressed this year.

By signing AB 793, Newsom has made California the first state in the nation to establish minimum recycled content requirements for plastic beverage containers. 

“California has long led the way on bold solutions in the climate space, and the steps we take today bring us closer to our ambitious goals,” Newsom said upon signing the bill. “I thank the legislature for taking these important steps to protect the planet and public health.”

Friday, September 25, 2020
Publication: San Jose Mercury

In a move aimed at reducing huge amounts of plastic litter in the oceans, along roadways and other parts of the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a first-in-the-nation law requiring plastic beverage containers to contain an increasing amount of recycled material.

Under it, companies that produce everything from sports drinks to soda to bottled water must use 15% recycled plastic in their bottles by 2022, 25% recycled plastic by 2025, and 50% recycled plastic by 2030.

Supporters of the new law say it will help increase demand for recycled plastic, curb litter and reduce consumption of oil and gas, which are used to manufacture new plastics.

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In a legislative session hamstrung by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, the bill, AB 793 by Assemblymembers Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, was considered to be among the most significant environmental laws that passed this year.

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"The time has come for companies to step up and help us be good environmental stewards," said Ting. "By boosting the market for used plastics, fewer containers will end up as litter."

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Publication: Los Angeles Times

Emphasizing that California must stay at the forefront of the fight against climate change, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday issued an executive order to require all new cars sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and threw his support behind a ban on the controversial use of hydraulic fracturing by oil companies.

Under Newsom’s order, the California Air Resources Board would implement the phaseout of new gas-powered cars and light trucks and also require medium and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045 where possible. California would be the first state in the nation to mandate 100% zero-emission vehicles, though 15 countries already have committed to phasing out gas-powered cars.

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Prior to Wednesday, her agency had only floated the idea of banning gas-powered vehicles in congested areas of the state. And legislation lawmakers introduced in 2018 that would have banned the sale of new, gas-powered vehicles by 2040 didn’t move forward.

State Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who wrote that legislation, said “the fastest way to make the biggest dent in slowing the effects of global warming is to embrace cleaner cars” and applauded Newsom “for putting us on a path that’s not only crucial for our planet, but also helpful in spurring green jobs as we recover from COVID-19.”

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Publication: Sacramento Bee

Four University of California campuses unfairly admitted at least 64 students between academic years 2013-14 and 2018-19 because of their connections to donors and university staff, according to a report released by the California State Auditor on Tuesday.

UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara admitted 22 of the students as student-athletes despite not having athletic qualifications to compete. UC Berkeley also admitted 42 of the students through its regular admissions process despite them not having competitive academic qualifications, the report found.

The majority of the 64 students were white. At least half had annual family incomes of $150,000 or more, according to the report.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement that he’s disappointed to see UC engage in unfair admissions practices.

“Generations of young people from diverse backgrounds see UC as an opportunity for a brighter future, and the system failed them every time someone less qualified is admitted in their place,” he said.

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Sunday, September 6, 2020
Publication: Associated Press

Spending cuts to schools, childhood vaccinations and job-training programs. New taxes on millionaires, cigarettes and legalized marijuana. Borrowing, drawing from rainy day funds and reducing government workers' pay.

These are some actions states are considering to shore up their finances amid a sharp drop in tax revenue caused by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Congress deadlocked for months on a new coronavirus relief package, many states haven't had the luxury of waiting to see whether more money is on the way. Some that have delayed budget decisions are growing frustrated by the uncertainty.

As the U.S. Senate returns to session Tuesday, some governors and state lawmakers are again urging action on proposals that could provide hundreds of billions of additional dollars to states and local governments.

“There is a lot at stake in the next federal stimulus package and, if it’s done wrong, I think it could be catastrophic for California,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco and chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Publication: SFGate.com/Bay City News

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the school year begins, San Francisco city leaders joined other public officials, including vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, on Wednesday to call on schools to stand up against racism aimed at students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

The leaders, along with organizers from Beyond Differences and the Community Youth Center of San Francisco, are asking schools to take part in the Stand Up for Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Youth During COVID program.

Students have increasingly been exposed to racist language and attacks since the virus arrived in the U.S early this year, and schools lack the tools to have address it, the organizers said.

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"Young people feel isolated so often and alone, and that's how people win when we have groups of people bullying us and attacking us, they want us to feel like we are alone," said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). "This virtual gathering is a reminder that we are not by ourselves and in fact, there're more of us than there is of them." 

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