Press Releases

Monday, April 29, 2019

Assembly Early Education Commission Calls For Expanding Access, Empowering Parent & Worker VoicesAfter two years of hearings, focus groups and study, the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education has released its final report. Among the key findings:

  • Focus on expanding access to children and families most in need, while working toward the goal of universal access to early care and education (ECE).
  • Parents should be treated as experts on their children’s care and education. No new program should be implemented without parent input.
  • The ECE workforce should be supported in developing expertise and compensated as their counterparts in the K-12 system are.
  • Establish the Early Childhood Policy Council to be the primary advisory body on ECE for the Legislature, Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Early childhood education underpins so much of what we need to accomplish as a society. Early education is how you turn around cycles of poverty, it’s how you give children a strong foundation for education, and it’s how you lift up families. We can’t get started too soon on the ideas we have produced,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). 

 “California has a lot to gain by investing in early childhood education, including better futures for our kids and a stronger economy for all. The Blue Ribbon Commission report lays out a road map that will help ensure today’s youth get a great start in life, and that we have skilled providers ready to do this important work. I can’t wait to get started, said Commissioner and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

The full report can be found HERE.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ting Announces Legislation to Bring Reservation & Pricing Program to Lombard Street

Supervisor Catherine Stefani urges support for Ting’s proposal

San Francisco, CA – Tourists may soon have to make a reservation and pay a fee in order to drive down the famous crooked segment of San Francisco’s Lombard Street. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) unveiled a new proposal, AB 1605, that would authorize the City and County of San Francisco to establish a reservation and pricing pilot program for the world famous attraction.

“In recent years, the crowds and traffic congestion have become a safety issue for that neighborhood,” said Ting, author of AB 1605. “We must implement a system that enables both residents and visitors to enjoy the ‘Crookedest Street in the World.’”

With its eight hairpin turns and scenic views, Lombard Street attracts more than two million visitors each year. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded in its 2017 study that managing access to the tourist attraction has become necessary and recommended a reservation and pricing system. This strategy would regulate demand and flow at the entrance, while reducing the length of cars in the queue.

Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who represents District 2 where the crooked segment is located, is author of a resolution backing AB 1605. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on her resolution on Tuesday, April 16, at its meeting.  “We must try out the Reservation and Pricing system as our next step towards meeting the needs of both tourists and residents. The system will address the blocks of bumper to bumper traffic that build up on the way to the crooked street, improve the experience for tourists, and better the quality of life for the residents,” said Supervisor Stefani.

AB 1605 is necessary because existing law prohibits a local agency from imposing a tax, permit fee, or other charge for the privilege of using its streets or highways. If approved, the City and County of San Francisco will determine how to implement a reservation and pricing program and how much to charge. As demonstrated by the systems regulating visits to Muir Woods and other parks in California, one of the most efficient ways to manage vehicle congestion is through an electronic system administered without staff, minimizing the visual impact on Lombard Street.

Ting’s bill will be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday, April 22.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ting Introduces Landmark Bill Expanding Access to CannabisCaregivers, Veterans, Labor and Business Support AB 1356

(Sacramento, CA)-Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announced historic legislation that, if passed, will dramatically improve access to cannabis across California. AB 1356 will require local jurisdictions, where more than 50% of voters supported Proposition 64, to issue one cannabis retail license for every four onsite liquor consumption licenses.

“Californians voted for Prop. 64 to replace the illicit market with a legal system that would grant Californians safe access to cannabis products, while also creating good jobs and significant tax revenue,” said Assemblymember Ting, author of AB 1356. “However, these goals can only be fully realized if enough licenses are granted to meet existing demand. This bill will ensure the legal market can succeed.”

“When California voters supported Prop. 64 they made clear the importance of access to cannabis products. For many, including seniors, veterans, young people with childhood maladies and individuals with disabilities, cannabis serves an important medical purpose. Many cities and counties are currently not providing this access to their medically challenged constituents, even when a majority of their constituents voted for Prop. 64. Banning and limiting access to cannabis in these jurisdictions only fuels the illicit market in our state,” said Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles). “I am proud to co-author AB 1356 (Ting), a measure that will ensure local governments respect the will of the voters by increasing access to safe cannabis products from the legal cannabis market.”

Nearly two and a half years after the passage of Prop. 64, and a year and half after the introduction of the California legal retail cannabis market, approximately 76% of California cities and counties have banned cannabis retail businesses.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Assemblymembers Propose College Admissions Reform & Oversight

Legislative package & audit request come in response to recent scandal

(Sacramento, CA) – The college admissions process must be fair, with no student gaining advantage over another because of their family’s wealth or social connections. Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County), and Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) unveiled a legislative package today aimed at reforming the system and curtailing abuse. The proposals come after an Assembly Budget Subcommittee hearing on higher education was held last week, where lawmakers discussed the recent college admissions scandal.

“For every student admitted through bribery, there was an honest and talented student that was rejected,” said McCarty. “This legislative package of college admissions reforms will ensure that there are adequate checks and balances to catch fraudsters, but more importantly to protect the sanctity of the admissions process.”

“This is about fairness and equity. We raise our kids to believe that if they work hard, all opportunities will be open to them.  But that’s just not true when it comes to college,” said Ting. “We must close the side door that enables privileged families to get their children into elite colleges, taking the place of deserving students.”

Friday, March 22, 2019

he California Student Aid Commission approved $2.9 million in grants this week that will help nine local programs provide greater incentives for low-income families to build college savings accounts. Enacted through the FY 2017-18 state budget, the Every Kid Counts (EKC) College Savings Program received a one-time appropriation to support local programs in providing seed money to open accounts, incentivizing more deposits and educating families about program benefits.

“We must do more to give all children the opportunity to follow their dreams,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee and champion of the EKC College Savings Program. “This investment helps increase the likelihood students will pursue a certificate or degree, opening the door to many great career paths.”

California Programs That Help Low-Income Families Save for College Receive Nearly $3 Million in State GrantsWhen a student turns 18 years old, local programs supported by the EKC College Savings Program allow funds to be withdrawn for post-secondary tuition (including vocational and trade schools), room and board, books, supplies, equipment and mandatory fees. The nine grant recipients are:

  • San Francisco Kindergarten to College ($926,892)
  • El Monte Promise Foundation ($448,044)
  • The Oakland Promise Kindergarten to College (K2C) Program ($405,038)
  • Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department ($286,583)
  • United Way California Capitol Region ($286,172)
  • Glendale Unified School District ($197,915)
  • City of West Sacramento ($148,576)
  • Corazon Healdsburg ($110,779)
  • Santa Cruz Community Ventures ($100,000)  

In his January budget proposal, Governor Newsom put forth $50 million to support pilot programs and partnerships that increase access to college savings accounts among incoming kindergartners. Lawmakers are expected to discuss the proposal in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ting Joins Big City Mayors Call for More State Resources to Address Homelessness

Mayors from California’s 13 largest cities will meet with the governor and legislative leaders to advocate for additional state resources in the 2019 budget to address the ongoing homelessness crisis. The mayors highlighted the success of the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), an allocation of $500 million – of which $150 million went directly to cities with a population of 300,000 or more – that is on track to produce more than 4,000 new shelter beds across the state.

"Last year, the state laid the foundation to get thousands of people off the streets and into housing,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, chairman of the Big City Mayors coalition. "We look forward to continuing to work with the governor and legislature to increase that historic investment so cities can fund to scale the programs and strategies that are most effective at addressing the urgent crisis of homelessness.”

California’s homeless population now stands at 134,278, according to 2017 statewide counts – an increase of 16% from 2015. Half of all the country’s homeless are in California; nearly half of California’s homeless are in the state’s 13 largest cities.

“State and local partnerships are critical to tackling issues as big as our homeless crisis. Last year, California’s significant investment in emergency assistance enabled cities to quickly ramp up the number of beds and services available in the hardest hit communities. But we need to do more to truly solve this problem. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to determine how we can keep moving people off the streets and into affordable housing,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who helped the Big City Mayors secure HEAP funding in the 2018-2019 state budget.

Across the state, cities have utilized HEAP funds to dramatically increase capacity for low-barrier shelters, Navigation Centers, Bridge Housing, rental subsidies, and other supportive services to get of traditionally hard-to-serve people into housing. The mayors highlighted how quickly the state was able to disburse funds to local governments, allocating resources according to need as demonstrated by 2017 PIT Counts, and the flexibility of what resources could be spent on as critical components of the program’s success.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Ting Promotes CalEITC with Chinese Newcomers & United Way Bay AreaThe tax deadline is fast approaching! This year, one million more Californians may be eligible for a state refund under the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), which was expanded again for the 2018 tax year. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, championed the effort during negotiations in 2018. Research has shown that EITCs are an effective anti-poverty tool.

CalEITC put nearly $350 million directly in the hands of 1.4 million people last year, tripling the number of households that claimed the credit when compared to the prior year. This year, the Franchise Tax Board reports 39% more people have claimed the CalEITC compared to this time last year, already receiving $180 million back.

“California’s strong economy enables us to give a modest income boost to the families that need it the most,” said Ting. “Close to half of Californians who claimed the state Earned Income Tax Credit last year are single-parent households with children, and a refund can be life-changing for them. Adding self-employed workers for the first time in the 2017 tax year, particularly those in the gig economy, was especially impactful.”

Workers must file an income tax return in order to get the refund, even if they don’t owe any taxes. Every year, California leaves $2 billion of unclaimed state and federal EITC money on the table. Help us spread the word! Numerous non-profits can connect workers with free tax preparation services. This year, taxes are due by Monday, April 15th