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    Another Successful Legislative Year

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    In a column earlier this summer, I highlighted the accomplishments of this year’s historic state budget that I negotiated and helped craft as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. I’m happy to report similar success on the legislative front with several of my bills signed into law, focusing on our health, environment, and criminal justice system.

    My most significant pieces of legislation this year target PFAS, harmful substances linked to health problems, such as cancer, thyroid issues, and vaccine interference. They are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they take years to break down. AB 1200 bans the use of PFAS, which coat to-go food containers to prevent grease from leaking through. Companies will now have to use safer alternatives. Additionally, under this bill, California will become the first state to require cookware manufacturers to disclose what chemicals, including PFAS, are included in their products. Limiting our foods’ exposure to these toxins means we won’t be ingesting them as much.

    AB 1201 further cracks down on PFAS by raising the standards of what can be labeled “compostable.” Too many times we’ve seen packaging marked compostable when, in fact, they are not because of the chemicals they contain. The contaminated compost sometimes ends up mixed in with agricultural soil, making PFAS prevalent in our air, water, and elsewhere in the environment.

    Another notable achievement is AB 33, which builds on my record to fight climate change. It expands an existing state low-interest loan program, so public entities, like schools and hospitals, can install clean energy storage systems and electric vehicle charging. That way, they have the ability to operate during blackouts. As climate change exacerbates California’s wildfire season, we must be ready for possible power outages.

    I additionally made progress toward making our criminal legal system fairer and more just. AB 1452 authorizes San Francisco County to implement a pilot program to see whether increasing the pay of low-income jurors from $15/day to $100/day would diversify juries. Workers often seek to be excused from jury duty because they cannot afford to miss a paycheck, but that can lead to a jury that doesn’t reflect the community. Studies show when juries have more racial and income diversity, they tend to spend more time in deliberation and are less likely to presume guilt.

    Unfortunately, my jaywalking bill, AB 1238/The Freedom to Walk Act, was vetoed. We all deserve the freedom to cross the street. I will continue to work on ways not only to address the arbitrary enforcement of our jaywalking laws, but also the costly tickets that financially burden working families and adversely impact our communities of color.

    Lastly, I secured a special waiver for Seton Medical Center in Daly City, granting them up to one year to comply with seismic retrofit requirements. AB 1527, along with my previous efforts to keep this facility open during the pandemic, will allow our local healthcare systems to continue meeting the ongoing challenges brought on by the pandemic.

    I’m already putting together next year’s agenda. My goal is to continue moving California forward, investing in the right priorities, and making sure our economic recovery is inclusive of all Californians.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City.