350,000 Californians cannot access unemployment benefits because Bank of America froze their debit card or took funds away due to possible fraud. The bank must step up to help people resolve these issues. Ting is leading a bipartisan charge, urging them to do more. Read the letter: B of A Letter to CEO
On Thursday, November 19, Assemblymember Phil Ting and leaders from San Francisco & San Mateo County schools hosted a live discussion on November 19 on what it will take to re-open and how we can keep everyone safe. You can view the livestream on YouTube or below:
Sacramento - Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, released the following statement about California’s latest Fiscal Outlook from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO):
Even though the state’s forecast projects a one-time surge in revenues, it also estimates large operating deficits in the near future. We cannot take our eye off the ball. Challenges related to COVID-19 remain, and while the wealthiest individuals and corporations have gotten richer during the pandemic, there are millions more struggling Californians and businesses that need support to weather ongoing economic uncertainty. That includes shoring up vital programs by reversing some of last year’s budget cuts and canceling scheduled funding suspensions, as well as preventing further reductions to core services.
The improved fiscal outlook gives us a little breathing room, but we still need help from the federal government to allow us to keep working on economic recovery, reopening schools, homelessness, rent relief, the climate crisis and wildfire prevention. I will be releasing the Assembly Budget Blueprint next month that will spell out our priorities in the coming year. I look forward to working with the Governor and the Senate in crafting a responsible spending plan that addresses the needs of all Californians.
Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) sent a letter to local transportation officials in strong support of maintaining Great Highway’s closure to vehicles. Since April 8th, it has provided valuable open space for residents to socially distance outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming vital to the physical and mental well-being of thousands of San Franciscans.(Photo Courtesy: SFGate.com)
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.
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.
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.