SPEC Wins a Battle, Supports Bills to Protect Licensed Contractors

Recently, California’s Spa and Pool Industry Education Council decided to monitor and help shape SB 556, a bill that sought to protect both workers and consumers by ensuring that people (or entities) that contract for labor or services are held liable for injury or damages for work performed under the contract. In particular, the bill was intended to protect contractors injured while wearing a uniform or driving a vehicle displaying his/her employer’s logo, thus appearing to act as an agent of the employer. 

SPEC's issue with the bill hinged on the definition of a “contractor” versus an “employee.” In California, the main test to determine the difference lies in whether the employer has direct control of the contractor and how he/she carries out the job. According to SPEC, SB 556 failed in this regard.

SPEC worked with a coalition of other employer organizations and successfully had the bill limited in scope to just public agencies, therefore eliminating private employers entirely from the bill.  

“This was a huge win for private employers and SPEC members,” the organization says. SPEC maintains the bill would have created “serious liability issues” for all private employers in California that utilize independent contractors. 

In other legislative news, SPEC is supporting Senator Bill Monning's 3-bill package:

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, in effect, enable the CSLB to establish a record for licensees and non-licensees who violate the code.  

“We believe giving the CSLB authority to issue citations and keep a record of these bad-actors is a necessary step in combating the underground economy and helping law-abiding small businesses succeed,” says organizers at SPEC. Currently, the bill is set to be heard before the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 

SB 262 would amend Business & Professions Code 7068.1 to authorize the misdemeanor prosecution and administrative discipline of a qualifier (the qualifier is the 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) who fails to comply with the specified supervision and control requirements. 

This bill provides CSLB with the needed authority to take action directly against a qualifier who has failed to exercise their duties. Currently, the law only permits administrative action against the license. The bill is set to be heard before the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 

And SB 263 would make it a misdemeanor offense for a person (unless exempted) to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor if the person either has never been licensed or the person was a licensee, but performed acts covered by the law under a license that was inactive, expired, revoked, or under suspension for failure to pay a civil penalty or comply with an order of correction, or failure to resolve all outstanding final liabilities. This bill is set to be heard in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. 

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