For 32 years, the voice of the pool and spa service professional.

Fighting California’s underground economy

As the last day of legislative session for 2013 approaches on Sept. 13, SPEC — the California Spa and Pool Education Council — has been busy keeping a close eye on a number of bills of interest to the pool and spa industry in the Golden State.

The bills currently on the table cover a many topics including combating the underground economy, contractor and consumer arbitration processes, minimum wage increases and contractor insurance requirements. See separate story on page 4 for a breakdown of some of these proposals.

Of keen interest here however, is a 2-bill package sponsored by California Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), which has SPEC’s full support.

Monning’s SB 261 would add new language authorizing the Contractors State Licensing Board to pursue administrative actions against violators of the Business and Professions Code.

This would enable the CSLB to establish a relevant record for licensees and non-licensees who violate the code. SPEC believes giving the CSLB authority to issue citations and keep records of these violators is a necessary step in combating the underground economy.

This bill has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Monning’s companion bill, SB 262, would authorize the misdemeanor prosecution and administrative discipline of a qualifier who fails to comply with the specified supervision and control requirements. A qualifier is a person who furnishes the knowledge and experience that is required for licensure and is responsible for assuring that construction work performed by the licensee complies with all relevant laws and building codes.

 This bill provides CSLB with the authority to take action directly against qualifiers who have failed to exercise their duties.

“Consumers need to know that they can trust the contractor they hire to do the job properly,” SPEC President John Norwood said. “Consumers will be confident if they know a qualifier is ultimately responsible for job supervision, managing construction activities, making technical and administrative decisions, checking jobs for proper workmanship, and are directly supervising the work site.”

In yet another Monning-sponsored bill that has been carried over until next year, SB 263 would amend the law to make it a misdemeanor to operate unlicensed or with a suspended contractor’s license. Sen. Monning’s office indicated it needs more time to work on the penalty provisions, and needed to make this a two-year bill.

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