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    Getting Ready for 2021

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    Like you, I am ready to put 2020 behind us. With President-elect Joe Biden and the Bay Area’s own Vice President-elect Kamala Harris set to take the White House, our country can finally shift in the right direction, starting with getting COVID-19 under control.

    I, too, am eager to get to work after my constituents entrusted me to serve a fifth term in the California State Assembly. I’ll build on what we accomplished this year, prioritizing the state’s economic recovery, our children’s education, housing/homelessness, the environment, and other pressing needs. I also want to make sure safety net programs continue to support struggling families during COVID-19.

    As I work on more proposals, many of my bills signed into law this past legislative session will take effect on January 1—most notably, AB 841, which will put people back to work in good-paying green jobs. In the age of the coronavirus, experts recommend increasing the air flow in classrooms to reduce its spread. This measure creates a grant program temporarily redirecting unspent energy efficiency funds to help public schools upgrade their HVAC systems. Applications from campuses in low-income communities will be given first priority.

    The second component of AB 841 requires the California Public Utilities Commission to act on a backlog of applications for electric vehicle (EV) chargers by March 1. Ramping up EV charging station installations complements Governor Newsom’s recent executive order that bans the sale of new, gas-powered vehicles by 2035—a move I similarly pushed for two years ago to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and escalate our fight against global warming.

    In addition, I successfully made progress on criminal justice reform with AB 3234, which allows judges the option of placing first-time, misdemeanor offenders in diversion programs. A pilot program in Los Angeles County found communities are safer because program participants have lower recidivism rates when compared to those who were prosecuted. Additionally, L.A. County 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.

    The new year also assures Californians can continue to access syringes at pharmacies to help prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Without my bill, AB 2077, legal access to needles would have expired and likely diminished the strides made in reducing disease transmission. The last thing we need right now is another public health crisis brought on by COVID-19.

    On the pandemic front, I’m happy to report SB 932 by Senator Scott Wiener was signed into law, requiring healthcare providers to collect LGBTQ data when testing and treating patients for the coronavirus. I supported this bill because we don’t know if we’re addressing the unique needs of communities unless we account for more demographic characteristics. And as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, such numbers are critical to make sure we direct resources where they’re needed most.

    I can’t wait to be sworn in again next month. If you’d like to share any legislative or budget ideas with me, please attend my virtual town hall on Thursday, December 3, from 6 pm–7:30 pm. It will be livestreamed on my website:

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

    Published on November 19, 2020