Press Releases

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

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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ting Introduces Bill to Help Cities And Counties License More Cannabis Retailers(Sacramento) – To boost California’s legal cannabis market, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced AB 2456, legislation to create a model ordinance that provides guidance to cities and counties wanting to set up such retailers in their jurisdictions. A regulated marketplace is critical for patients and consumers to access safe and tested products.

“We must do more to ensure the legal cannabis market thrives in California,” said Assemblymember Ting, author of AB 2456. “It can be tough for local governments to know where to begin when establishing a relatively new type of business in their communities. I hope my proposal can make the start-up process easier for them, so they can combat the underground market and begin benefitting from increased tax revenue.”

Despite the 2016 passage of Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, market density today does not meet demand. California currently has a relatively low number of licensed cannabis retailers, given its population – one for every 35,000 adults over the age of 21. By comparison, the ratio is one licensed retailer for every 5,500 adults in Oregon and 4,200 adults in Colorado. AB 2456 tasks the Bureau of Cannabis Control with developing the model ordinance that cities and counties could adopt which, in turn, will spur access to regulated products. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Ting Hosts Budget Hearing on Homelessness

 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Lunar New Year 2020 Celebration

Celebrate Lunar New Year 2020 with State Treasurer Fiona Ma, State Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember Phil Ting, Assemblymember David Chiu, and State Board of Equalization Chair Malia Cohen.

Free entertainment, snacks and tea will be provided.

Thursday, February 6, 2020
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Great Hall, Ronald M. George State Office Complex
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA  94102

More information here.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Sacramento – Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, released the statement below following Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020 budget release:

“We have made tremendous progress in moving our state forward and ensuring our economic prosperity touches as many Californians as possible. I’m excited to see that the Governor wants to continue down the same path while also taking caution, especially regarding assumptions about whether some federal funding will come through. The Governor’s fiscal priorities are again similar to those outlined in our Assembly Budget Blueprint, Embracing Progress | Securing the Future, including:

  • Ting Statement On Governor's Budget ReleaseStrong reserves in the Rainy Day Fund and Resiliency Fund ($21 billion total);
  • One-time investments, which ensure the State keeps a structural operating surplus in future years;
  • More critical funding to expand affordable housing and prevent homelessness, while also addressing the current homeless crisis;
  • Investments in early education, including preschool facilities; gearing more resources to low-performing students; and continuing to make improvements in special education;
  • Improved access to comprehensive behavioral health programs for those with the greatest need, including homeless individuals;
  • Expanded health care coverage, making undocumented seniors over the age of 65 eligible for Medi-Cal;
  • Strengthened nutrition programs at food banks, schools and higher education campuses to prevent hunger;
  • Better corrections programs that focus on rehabilitation, particularly by reducing youth recidivism; and moving toward the closure of one prison, implementing previous budget action to consolidate and reduce facilities; and,
  • Comprehensive climate crisis readiness programs, preventing and preparing for natural disasters and other effects of global warming.

 I look forward to working with the Governor to craft another progressive, yet prudent fiscal plan that aims to benefit all Californians. Hearings will begin in a few weeks, giving the public opportunities to help us shape this proposal into a final state budget by the June 15th deadline. Together, we will invest in California’s future while also ensuring that the progress made is protected with healthy financial reserves, in case of an economic downturn.”

For more information about the Assembly Budget Blueprint, Embracing Progress | Securing the Future, please click here.    

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Ting Introduces Bill To Fix California’s  Beverage Container Recycling ProgramCalifornia’s recycling program for bottles and cans is broken. As people find it more and more difficult to get their CRV deposits back, an increased amount of our recyclable waste is ending up in landfills. With California’s recycling rate dropping from 85% to 75%, the state can no longer put off solving this ever-growing crisis.

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) today introduced a bill, AB 1840, which intends to reform the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Program. Action on the first day back in the new year signals that Ting is making this critical issue a priority by leading the efforts to resolve the state’s recycling troubles.

“We can no longer kick the proverbial can down the road,” said Ting. “If California is to continue its leadership on the environment, we must deal with this problem that’s been in front of us for years.”

Ting will be working with several partners to further develop the bill’s language and shape reforms the recycling program needs. AB 1840 builds upon the work of AB 54, Ting’s urgency measure that took effect in October, enabling the state to launch five mobile recycling programs in areas severely impacted by the closure of CRV redemption sites. AB 54 provided a temporary fix until the Legislature reconvened this month to work on a path toward saving California’s recycling system.

Legislative action this year is imperative, especially since rePlanet shuttered its remaining 284 California recycling centers last summer. 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 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.

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