Spring 2015       |      Cindi A. Christenson, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


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Board Backs HIS Changes as Part of 2015 Legislative Platform


CSLB is working with the state Legislature to make fundamental changes to the laws that cover Home Improvement Salespersons (HIS). Currently, an HIS must register with CSLB each time he or she begins work for a new contractor. Registration processing times can delay the ability to begin working in the new job.

Senate Bill 561, carried by Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, would allow an HIS to apply for a single registration with CSLB and keep that registration when they're hired by a new employer. Additionally, contractors would be responsible for notifying CSLB, in writing, each time a new, registered HIS begins working for them.

HIS registrations with CSLB have jumped 40 percent during the past three years. In fiscal year 2013-14, CSLB received about 800 applications per month.

While registration applications have grown, the number of CSLB staff has not. The delay in HIS processing times prompted one industry group to propose changing the current registration system to allow an HIS to work with more than one contractor. After review, CSLB endorsed the idea and agreed to sponsor the legislation.

SB 560 (Monning) would allow CSLB's enforcement representatives (ERs) to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) in a superior court to an unlicensed contractor for failure to carry workers' compensation insurance. ERs can issue a Notice to Appear in court for contracting without a license, but not those found without a required workers' comp policy. The ability of ERs to write an NTA for workers' comp violations should streamline the process of referring such cases to local district attorney offices for a criminal filing.

SB 465, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would extend CSLB's "sunset date," an action that essentially allows CSLB to continue operations until 2020. An oversight hearing before the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee was held at the state Capitol.

SB 119 (Hill) defines CSLB's role in dealing with licensed contractors who damage underground installations during excavations, and violate notification requirements before digging.

As written now, SB 119 would require CSLB to order licensees who have violated the dig alert requirement to undergo training, or face penalties ranging from a fine to license suspension for noncompliance. SB 119's current provisions also call for CSLB to put in place a graduated scale of administrative fines, depending on the circumstances, for contractors who fail to notify regional centers of impending excavations, then damage utilities.

The Board noted that CSLB is already in compliance with the bill, and has established a program that addresses licensees who violate dig requirements. CSLB also has worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to investigate complaints against contractors suspected of digging without a permit and damaging pipelines.

Stakeholder meetings that include CSLB and contractor groups are expected to continue to refine the bill's language, staff said.

Click here to follow a bill's progress and amendments, or search for legislation of interest, on the Office of Legislative Counsel's legislative information website.

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