Press Releases

Monday, December 9, 2019

Ting Releases His 2020 Budget Blueprint

Sacramento – Due to a remarkably robust economy and responsible budget practices, California’s finances are on solid ground today. While the outlook for next year remains positive, looming threats caution against dramatically increasing ongoing spending. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, unveiled his 2020-21 Budget Blueprint: Embracing Progress | Securing the Future, which invests in more economic opportunities for all Californians while building up the reserve and paying down debt.

“We’ve made great progress in moving our state forward and ensuring our economic prosperity touches as many Californians as possible. We will build on these accomplishments by incrementally adding more state funding for education, poverty reduction, healthcare, housing and other priorities,” said Ting. “But we must also protect our investments. Further boosting our reserves and reducing our debt will prepare us for a possible recession and any changes in funding from the federal government, which isn’t as dependable as it once was.”

Highlights of Embracing Progress | Securing the Future include:

  • Ensuring the State is Ready for Future Uncertainty: build reserves and protect promises made

  • Continuing To Move California Forward: bolster early childhood care, education and college accessibility; improve behavioral health and social services programs; make California more affordable; address climate change; reform criminal justice system

  • Remove Remaining Great Recession Cuts: address legacy cuts and rate freezes

  • Aggressive Oversight for Effective Government: DMV wait times, needs of low-performing students, safe affordable drinking water

More information on the Budget Blueprint: 2020 Budget Blueprint

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Monday, November 18, 2019

CA Receives $7.1 M Federal Grant To Continue Nutrition Incentives at Farmers Markets & Small RetailersThe California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has been awarded a Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) grant of $7,166,877 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to fund nutrition incentives at Certified Farmers Markets and small retailers throughout the state.
 
The grant will help fund the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP), which offers nutrition incentives to CalFresh shoppers utilizing benefits at participating farmers markets and retail outlets. For every CalFresh benefit dollar spent, CNIP offers CalFresh shoppers an additional dollar to spend on California-grown fruits and vegetables, within set parameters. This incentive is intended to empower CalFresh shoppers to increase their consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.
 
“CNIP addresses food insecurity and access to fresh fruits and vegetables among low-income Californians while simultaneously supporting and expanding markets for California farmers,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said. “We’re honored to have been awarded a GusNIP grant for the second time to help continue this good work.”
 
CNIP began in 2017 and is administered by CDFA’s Office of Farm to Fork (CDFA-F2F), which leads CDFA’s food access work. The GusNIP award is matched by state funds to provide funding for incentives, program operations, and marketing and outreach. CDFA will work with seven partner organizations, chosen through a competitive grant process, to implement the program.
 
“The California Nutrition Incentive Program is a crucial program that I continue to champion because increasing access to farmers markets helps residents improve their health,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, who authored legislation to create the program. “This $7.1 million federal grant is great news and ensures that those who can’t always afford fresh, locally grown produce can now do so. Nutritious food is the foundation for good health.”
 
More information about CNIP, its grantees and participating retail outlets can be found at https://cafarmtofork.cdfa.ca.gov/cnip.html 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Nation’s first publicly funded diaper bank expands to nutrition safety net program, doubling the number of free diapers available to City babies

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco is now the first county in the nation to provide free diapers as a supplementary benefit for families who receive CalFresh food assistance, known at the federal level as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The announcement comes from the San Francisco Diaper Bank, a partnership between the Human Services Agency (HSA) and Help a Mother Out (HAMO), that provides a free monthly supply of diapers to residents with children under age three who participate in CalWORKs and, starting in November, CalFresh.

Diaper need, known as the lack of sufficient diapers to keep infants and young children dry, comfortable, and healthy, is a common, distressing, and often hidden issue for low-income parents. Nationally, one in three families struggles with diaper need. 

San Francisco Announces Free Diapers For Families In Need

The average monthly diaper bill for a child under age three can range from $80–100 per month. Yet, for the most part, social safety net programs for families do not recognize diapers as a necessity. The cost of diapers is not an allowable expense under federal programs that provide food assistance to young children like SNAP or Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

“We must ensure every child in California is off to a great start. From health problems to being shut out of childcare programs, having little or no access to clean diapers can be hard on families and impact the outcome of a child’s life,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. “As a father, I know firsthand the reach the Diaper Bank will now have as a result of the increase in state funding.”

California is a leader in pursuing policy strategies to reduce diaper need. The Diaper Bank expansion to CalFresh households in San Francisco is made possible by a $2.5 million grant awarded to HAMO in support of diaper access programs in the Bay Area by the California Department of Social Services. The program expansion doubles eligibility to 2,500 San Francisco children whose families currently receive CalWORKs or CalFresh benefits for cash, employment, or food assistance from HSA.

Friday, November 1, 2019

San Francisco, CA – Reaffirming the trade relationship between California and China in light of the nation’s strained economic relationship with the Trump Administration, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) will lead a trade mission to China in partnership with the Bay Area Council. China is California’s third largest export market, totaling more than $16 billion in 2018.

“During times of tension between the United States and Chinese governments, it is more important than ever for California to bolster its trade relationship with China,” said Ting. “I am proud to lead a delegation of business leaders and local officials, representing diverse California industries and communities, to China. Together, we will showcase that California remains open for business and committed to strengthening its economic ties with all trade partners.”

The 27-person delegation will visit the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing next week. In each city, Ting will lead conversations with local Chinese government and business leaders through trade and investment forums.

The focal point of the trip will be the second China International Import Exposition (CIIE), led by President Xi Jinping in Shanghai. Last year, the CIIE attracted 400,000 Chinese buyers that purchased more than $57 billion in goods and services with over 139 countries attending. California was the only United States government entity at the event. This year, the Bay Area Council has procured a large Pavilion for California companies to promote products to Chinese buyers.

Ting is the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion. The goal of the Select Committee is to foster mutually beneficial trade and investment relationships for California.

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

New law is in response to the recent shut down of rePlanet recycling centers

Sacramento, CA – Help is on the way for areas in the state that no longer have California Redemption Value (CRV) recycling centers. Governor Newsom today signed AB 54 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), which allocates $5 million to implement a mobile recycling pilot program administered by CalRecycle. The urgency measure takes effect immediately.

“AB 54 provides short-term relief to the thousands of Californians who need their container deposits refunded. Now the hard work begins. I will spend the next few months working on a more comprehensive solution that can start moving through the legislative process when we reconvene in January,” said Ting. “We can’t put off this reform any longer now that recycling programs are in a crisis.”

Ting’s bill is necessary after rePlanet shuttered its remaining 284 California recycling centers in August. AB 54 aims to relieve the long lines at remaining redemption sites and fill the void in areas that no longer have any. rePlanet was once California’s largest recycling company, operating about 20% of the redemption centers in the state. But a significant decrease in the scrap value of aluminum and recycled plastics has hampered their ability to stay open - even after the firm closed 191 centers in 2016 to cut costs. Exacerbating this problem are international market conditions, as countries around the world, most notably China, have imposed stricter standards on the types of waste materials they will purchase.

Under the mobile pilot program, local governments, non-profits and others can apply for one of five grants to expand recycling opportunities in areas severely impacted by the rePlanet closures. At least one pilot location must be in a rural area, and the roving redemption centers must be open at least eight hours during the weekend when demand for services is high. AB 54 also temporarily suspends, through March 2020, the fines assessed on grocers required to take back beverage containers in-store when there are no recycling centers nearby, as they are not prepared to assume the responsibility of providing redemption services.

In addition to AB 54, the 2019-20 state budget previously included another $5 million to help more than 400 low-volume recycling centers stay open.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Governor Signs Ting’s Bill to Expand California’s Red Flag Gun Law(Sacramento, CA) – California is expanding its red flag gun law. Governor Newsom signed AB 61, a bill by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), which gives more people access to a court process that could temporarily take away someone’s firearms through a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO), if they pose a danger to themselves or others. Ting’s law enables educators, employers and co-workers to also use the tool. Current law only allows law enforcement and immediate family members to file a GVRO.

“Thoughts and prayers are no longer enough. GVROs are a proven gun violence prevention tool that can help save lives. With school and workplace shootings on the rise, it’s common sense to give the people we see every day the power to intervene and prevent tragedies,” said Ting.

The Governor’s approval comes just a few months after researchers at the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis closely examined a sample of individuals who were subjected to a GVRO and found none were involved in subsequent gun-related violence. While the study cited how difficult it is to say how many incidents were prevented, it is reasonable to conclude GVROs play a role in reducing the chance of gun-related violence. From 2016 (when California’s red flag law took effect) through 2018, more than 600 people had weapons removed from their possession via GVROs.

Seventeen states have a version of red flag laws on the books. Twelve enacted their measures after the 2018 Parkland, FL shooting. In California, there are two ways a GVRO can be granted:

  • For a duration of 21 days, immediately, which can be extended for up to one year after a court hearing; or,
  • For a duration of one year, after a court hearing.

For GVRO requests in the latter category, Ting has a companion bill, AB 1493, which the Governor also approved. It allows the subject of a GVRO to surrender their firearms to authorities without contesting the order. Under current law, even a subject who agrees guns should not be in their possession must still go through a court hearing, wasting time and resources.

AB 61 & AB 1493 will take effect September 1, 2020.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Governor Signs Ting Proposals to Increase  California’s Affordable Housing

Los Angeles – Backyards and surplus government land are now prime real estate for the development of more housing units in California, thanks to two proposals by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) signed by Governor Newsom today. AB 68 eases local red tape to encourage a greater number of homeowners to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), commonly known as backyard cottages, “in-law units” or “granny flats,” on their properties. The other bill, AB 1486, prioritizes construction of affordable housing projects when local public land is no longer needed.

“One of the quickest ways to ramp up our housing supply is to build more Accessory Dwelling Units. They also enable homeowners to be part of the solution in helping us address California’s unprecedented housing crisis,” said Ting. “Regarding surplus land, I can’t think of a better use for property the government no longer needs than to build affordable housing on it.”

What is an ADU?By some estimates, California is nearly four million units short of meeting its housing demand. After the state relaxed some barriers to ADU construction in 2017, there was an immediate boost to their numbers. Los Angeles, for example, has approved more than 10,500 ADUs since the change, compared to only a few hundred ADUs in years prior. But some obstacles remain. Ting’s bill would:

  • Speed up the approval process to 60 days;
  • Prohibit restrictive local requirements pertaining to lot size and parking; and,
  • Allow more types of units, such as units in multi-family dwellings, to be approved with less bureaucratic review.

The Governor also signed other ADU bills that:

  • Reduce local government construction fees;
  • Suspend local rules for five years requiring the homeowner to live on site; and,
  • Forbid homeowners associations from banning ADUs.

“California YIMBY is proud to have sponsored AB 68, which will create many thousands of new homes each year,” said Brian Hanlon, President and CEO of California YIMBY. “This bill empowers homeowners to help end the housing crisis by building Accessory Dwelling Units, which fit seamlessly into existing neighborhoods. These granny flats help keep multi-generational families together, and enable homeowners to make some extra money while providing more affordable homes for people who need them. We’re grateful to Asm. Ting for his strong leadership on this issue.”

According to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, applications for ADU permits have jumped significantly since the Legislature eased some regulations a few years ago, but homeowners still face challenges when it comes to building codes, limiting the full potential of ADUs.

Under AB 1486, Ting’s surplus land legislation gives more affordable housing projects the first right of refusal to build on public surplus land, taking advantage of strategically located sites next to transit, schools and jobs that have remained dormant for decades.

AB 68 & AB 1486 will take effect January 1, 2020.