Press Releases

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dear Chairman Haggerty,

We commend you and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) staff for your work on Plan Bay Area 2050 (Plan) to make our region a more sustainable, prosperous and equitable place. We are writing to express our concern about the inclusion of a Work From Home Mandate in Plan Bay Area. While requiring or encouraging work from home during the pandemic makes sense, we do not agree that a Work From Home Mandate is a viable or appropriate long-term strategy for the Bay Area.

Read the full letter: Bay Area Delegations Letter to MTC 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

As a result of the Governor’s signature on AB 841 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), new green jobs are on the horizon that will not only put people back to work, but also lead to healthier schools and a greener transportation sector.

“Many Californians are struggling right now, and we need job creation. My bill jumpstarts projects that can begin in a matter of months and pay good wages, providing stability to families and helping the state’s economic recovery,” said Ting.

AB 841 has two components. First, it temporarily redirects unspent energy efficiency funds from investor-owned utility companies and creates a grant program for schools in need of upgrading their HVAC systems and water fixtures. Poor ventilation is known to have negative impacts on student health and learning. And since the onset of COVID-19, experts recommend increasing the air flow in public schools to reduce the spread of the virus. Campuses in low-income communities would receive first priority.

In addition, grants can be used to replace old plumbing ducts, which often leech lead into students’ drinking water. New pipes will also improve water conservation, saving up to six billion gallons a year.

"Now is precisely the time California should be improving access to clean air and water in our schools," said Merrian Borgeson, a senior scientist at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "Our children deserve to learn in safe schools, and this new program will make that possible."

The second component of AB 841 pertains to the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, requiring the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to act on long-pending applications by March 1, 2021. The current years-long backlog is slowing work orders, and faster approvals would increase the demand for EVs. Consumers have often said they won’t switch to a cleaner car because there are not enough charging stations along our roads. Added locations would help more drivers overcome “range anxiety” and make the transition – a move that lowers our greenhouse gas emissions and ramps up our fight against global warming.

AB 841 takes effect January 1, 2021, achieving a priority from the Joint Economic Stimulus Plan unveiled in July – to improve the environment, combat climate change, and create green infrastructure and jobs.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Governor Signs Ting Bill Giving More Californians A Second Chance With the spread of coronavirus still a concern in California prisons, the state will now be able to take steps to ease overcrowding, while also expanding opportunities for second chances without increased risk to public safety. The Governor today signed AB 3234 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), giving judges the discretion to place first-time misdemeanor offenders in a diversion program. It also makes changes to the elderly parole program.

“In these times of reflection when the fairness of our criminal justice system is front and center, we can start by offering more compassion and understanding. A second chance is sometimes all someone needs to turn their life around, and when it’s an option, we often get better rehabilitative and reintegration results,” said Ting. “The Governor’s signature on AB 3234 is another step toward criminal justice reform.”

AB 3234 builds off a successful diversion pilot program in Los Angeles County that decreased the number of jury trials by more than 2,000 over a two-year period, saving the courts $12,000 per day, per trial. Additionally, when first-time offenders charged with low-level crimes successfully completed a diversion program, recidivism rates were lower when compared to those who were prosecuted. Graduates who never reoffend will have a clean record when applying for jobs and housing.

Ting’s legislation further eases prison overcrowding by making changes to the Elderly Parole Program. The geriatric population can cost California up to $300,000 per year, per person in medical costs. Currently, inmates are eligible for a parole hearing if they are at least 60 years old and have served a minimum of 25 years. AB 3234 safely lowers the age to 50 and minimum years served to 20. This can be done without great risk to public safety because certain convictions are automatically excluded and fewer than 240 individuals are estimated to be eligible for this expanded review. If just a handful of releases are granted, California would see millions of dollars in cost-savings.

Provisions of AB 3234 were originally introduced as part of budget deliberations and championed by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). “AB 3234 represents another milestone in criminal justice reform. Judges will now have the opportunity to provide a diversion program for misdemeanor charges rather than requiring jail time. AB 3234 also improves the current elderly parole program so that those over age 50 who have been incarcerated for 20 years or more and have low recidivism risk may have the opportunity to return to society and live productive lives,” said Skinner, Chair of the Senate Public Safety policy and budget committees.

AB 3234 takes effect January 1, 2021. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

HOA Rental BansTo ensure California maximizes housing within its residential areas, homeowners associations (HOAs) will no longer be able to prohibit rentals under a bill signed by the Governor today. AB 3182 by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) closes important loopholes that have enabled subdivisions and condominium complexes to shut out tenants.

“We’re in a housing crisis right now, and homeowners are prevented from renting their properties or adding a rental unit in many housing developments governed by HOAs. This cannot continue, and the Governor’s signature opens up opportunities for desperately needed housing,” said Ting.

Ting’s bill allows more Californians to be part of the solution to the housing shortage. AB 3182 voids any existing HOA rules banning rentals and prohibits the implementation of new ones. They would, however, be able to cap the number of rentals at 25% of the total housing units, in order for property owners to remain eligible for federal home loans and insurance. Limits on short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb are also permitted.

In addition, rental bans prevent homeowners from adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) onto their property. These backyard units or additions to existing buildings have grown in popularity because they’re an affordable way to keep aging parents close by or generate rental income.

"By prohibiting bans on tenants in homeowners associations, AB 3182 opens up more high opportunity areas to renters in California, and helps homeowners build and rent their ADUs. Ending California's housing crisis requires building more housing, especially in high opportunity neighborhoods, and protecting renters. California YIMBY applauds Assemblymember Ting for his critical work furthering home-building and tenants' rights and was honored to sponsor AB 3182," said Brian Hanlon, CEO of California YIMBY.

A second bill by Ting, signed by the Governor last week, enables local jurisdictions to address homelessness faster through AB 2553. Upon declaration of a “shelter crisis,” all cities and counties would have the authority to temporarily suspend some regulatory roadblocks that typically slow or prevent the construction of emergency housing and implementation of safe parking programs. This builds upon the success of a pilot program created under Ting’s AB 932 in 2017, which granted similar powers to Berkeley, Emeryville, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, the County of Santa Clara, and the City and County of San Francisco, enabling them to swiftly increase their shelter capacity.

AB 2553 was an urgency measure and took effect immediately. AB 3182 becomes law on January 1, 2021,

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Friday, September 25, 2020

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding the announcement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to close the Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy:

“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.”

Ting Statement Regarding Closure Of State Prison In Tracy

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sacramento –Building on its record of environmental leadership, California enacted the country’s first minimum recycled content standards for plastic CRV bottles. Governor Newsom today signed AB 793 by Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), requiring manufacturers to begin gradually phasing-in recycled materials when making plastic beverage containers. By 2030, the timeline ultimately reaches a 50% threshold - the highest in the world, surpassing the 30% mandate in the European Union (EU).

California Leads with Country’s First Mandate For Recycled Content in Plastic CRV Bottles “At the rate we were going, plastic waste would outnumber the fish in our oceans by 2050. The Governor’s signature means the time has come for companies to step up and help us be good environmental stewards. By boosting the market for used plastics, fewer containers will end up as litter,” said Ting. 

The dwindling U.S. demand for recycled plastic has led, in part, to the tidal wave of recycling center closures in California, leaving consumers with fewer places to take their bottles and cans. At the same time, international markets are no longer interested in buying California’s recycled waste, leading to piles of recyclable plastic in our warehouses, landfills and environment. Data from CalRecycle shows that 12.7 billion CRV bottles were sold in the state last year, but 27% were not recycled – that’s 3.4 billion containers.

 AB 793’s timeline is as follows and applies to plastic drink bottles sold in California, regardless of where the containers were made:

California Leads with Country’s First Mandate For Recycled Content in Plastic CRV Bottles

“Assemblymember Ting and I worked extensively with the industry stakeholders to ensure that this bill is both bold and workable.  The result is the most aggressive recycled content mandate in the world for plastic bottles – 50% by 2030. Even the European Union, with its leadership on many environmental fronts, is only aiming for 30% by 2030.  I commend the Governor for signing this audacious bill,” said Irwin.

The 50 percent recycled content requirement in AB 793 is the most ambitious closed loop recycling requirement in the world. With this signing, 50 percent is now the model for other states and nations, and should be the model for all plastic packaging in California going forward,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of the environmental group Californians Against Waste.

Other states could potentially benefit from AB 793 if companies decide they don’t want to use one formula for plastic bottles sold in California, then reconfigure production lines for the rest of the country. If that’s the case, even more sustainable containers could end up in new markets.

Some brands have already moved in this direction. Naked Juice, for instance, has been using plastic bottles made with 100% post-consumer recycled content since 2010, proving the change can be done. Nestle Waters North America and Coca-Cola have also committed to using more recycled plastic over the next few years.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding the Governor’s Executive Order issued today, which includes a requirement that all new passenger vehicles sold in California must be zero emission starting January 1, 2035.

“The hazy, orange sky we woke up to earlier this month was alarming and hammered home the urgency of our climate crisis. If we want clean air, we need clean cars. 50% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from the transportation sector, much of it from the vehicles you and I drive every day. The fastest way to make the biggest dent in slowing the effects of global warming is to embrace cleaner cars. Many other countries have already committed to this goal, and I’ve been working tirelessly for years to make this transition happen in California. I applaud the Governor 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.”

Ting first introduced AB 1745 in 2018, which would have banned the sale of new, gas-powered vehicles by 2040. He subsequently authored legislation, AB 40 in 2019, which would have developed a plan to achieve this outcome by 2040. Ting also championed $1.5 million in last year’s state budget to identify strategies for significantly reducing vehicle emissions, along with bills to increase the consumer cash-back amounts in the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Currently on the Governor’s desk is Ting’s AB 841, which requires the California Public Utilities Commission to eliminate by March its years-long backlog of applications permitting the installation of EV charging stations.

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