Enacting a Progressive Agenda
By Phil Ting
Our recently concluded 2019 legislative session was the first with our expanded Democratic supermajorities and our new governor, Gavin Newsom. After months of hard work, we passed, and the Governor signed, legislation that makes great strides in our efforts to protect renters, workers and the environment, while we continue to create good jobs and save for the inevitable rainy day. Many of these new laws will take effect on Jan. 1.
The cost of housing is one of the biggest issues facing working Californians. To that end, the governor signed two of my housing production bills. AB-68 reduces red tape for homeowners building accessory dwelling units, more commonly known as in-law units. The other bill, AB-1486, gives affordable housing projects priority to build on surplus government land.
California is also taking steps to make the college admissions process fairer. In response to the scandal that broke earlier this year, I authored AB-697, creating a new culture of transparency around the admissions process. As of Jan. 1, schools that provide preferential treatment for applicants related to donors or alumni will have to disclose data about the practice.
We additionally tackled our recycling crisis, as China and other overseas markets stopped buying much of California’s recyclable waste last year. Adding to the already dire situation was the August closure of the state’s largest recycler, rePlanet, which operated hundreds of redemption centers. My bill, AB-54, is an emergency measure that allocates $5 million to pilot five mobile recycling sites, serving areas severely impacted by the closures. San Francisco has already applied for a grant.
To address the longer-term issues around recycling, I authored AB-792, which would have established a timeframe for plastic beverage bottle manufacturers to incorporate increased percentages of minimum recycled content. Beginning in 2021, bottles would be required to have 10 percent minimum content, rising gradually to 50 percent in 2030. This would create incentives to develop a market to recycle materials here in California instead of shipping them overseas. The Legislature passed AB-792, but unfortunately, Gov. Newsom vetoed the bill. I will keep working with his administration on solutions to this vexing issue next year.
Finally, I authored legislation that will make our communities safer. Beginning in September, my AB-61 will expand our state’s “red flag” gun law to allow school personnel and co-workers, with clearance from a supervisor, to go to court to obtain a gun violence restraining order, allowing for the temporary removal of someone’s firearms if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others. According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of Nov. 17, there have been 369 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. Enough is enough. We should all feel safe sending our kids to school and going about our daily lives, without fear that tragedy will strike.
As your representative in Sacramento, I will continue fighting for our progressive San Francisco values. I’m already looking forward to the new legislative session that will begin in January and welcome your input for ideas to make California a better place to live.
Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the west side of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.