BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                      



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  AB 2118|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 2118
          Author:   Butler (D)
          Amended:  8/6/12 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE ENERGY, UTIL. & COMMUNIC. COMM.  :  12-0, 6/25/12
          AYES:  Padilla, Fuller, Berryhill, Corbett, De León, 
            DeSaulnier, Emmerson, Kehoe, Pavley, Rubio, Simitian, 
            Wright
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Strickland
           
          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  7-0, 8/6/12
          AYES:  Kehoe, Walters, Alquist, Dutton, Lieu, Price, 
            Steinberg
           
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR :  70-0, 5/25/12 (Consent) - See last page 
            for vote


          SUBJECT  :    Household goods carriers

           SOURCE  :     California Moving and Storage Association
                      California Public Utilities Commission


           DIGEST  :    This bill amends the Household Goods Carriers 
          Act to enhance the authority of the Public Utilities 
          Commission (PUC) to regulate household goods carriers.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law authorizes the PUC to regulate 
          any "household goods carrier," defined as a corporation or 
          person that transports for compensation or hire used 
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          household goods and personal effects by a motor vehicle 
          over any public highway in this state.

          Existing law prohibits a household goods carrier from 
          operating without a permit issued by the PUC and meeting 
          requirements that include showing financial and safety 
          fitness and residency, having adequate insurance, clearing 
          a criminal background check, and complying with operating 
          regulations, including maximum rate tariffs.

          Existing law provides various penalties for household goods 
          carriers that violate applicable laws and PUC rules, 
          including being subject to vehicle impoundment and court 
          action for recovery of customer charges, and being found 
          guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more 
          than $1,000 or three months in county jail, or both, or, 
          for a willful violation, a fine of not more than $10,000 or 
          one year in county jail.

          Existing law authorizes the PUC to seek the termination of 
          telephone service of a household goods carrier operating 
          without a permit.

          Existing law prohibits a telephone corporation from 
          releasing subscriber information without customer consent 
          except in specified circumstances.

          Existing law establishes various requirements related to 
          household goods carriers' records, customer contracts, 
          signatures, insurance, and other documentation.

          This bill:

          1. Identifies "broker" as a person engaged by others in the 
             act of arranging for service by a household goods 
             carrier and makes a "broker" subject to permit 
             requirements.

          2. Clarifies that an entity falling within the definition 
             of "household goods carrier," including a "broker," is 
             subject to penalties regardless of whether it has 
             obtained a permit and maintains the failure to obtain a 
             permit as a separate violation.


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          3. Increase fines from a maximum of $1,000 to $2,500 and 
             requires that the fine for a violation that involves 
             operating or holding oneself out as a household goods 
             carrier without a permit be not less than $1,000.

          4. Authorizes the PUC to suspend or revoke a household 
             goods carrier's permit, or assess a fine, for 
             unauthorized use of another person's trademark and 
             authorizes assessments to cover the expense of a 
             commission trademark infringement investigation.

          5. Requires every household goods carrier to add a link to 
             its Internet Web site that immediately directs all 
             consumers to the PUC's Internet Web site related to 
             protection for consumers of moving companies and 
             household goods carriers.

          6. Authorizes the release, without customer consent, of the 
             name and address of a subscriber whose telephone number 
             is being use by a household goods carrier operating 
             without a permit.

          7. Requires the PUC to adopt rules for meeting requirements 
             related to household goods carriers' records, customer 
             contracts, signatures, insurance, and other 
             documentation with electronic records.

           Comments
           
          According to the PUC, sponsor of this bill, consumers who 
          hire a household goods carrier that has not obtained a 
          permit are potentially subject to excessive charges, 
          uninsured losses, and other service problems.  Carriers 
          operating without a permit have an unfair cost advantage 
          over permitted carriers because they maintain inadequate 
          liability and workers' compensation insurance, which is a 
          substantial expense for lawful operators.  As a 
          consequence, carriers who obtain a permit and comply with 
          the rules lose business to the violators, which in turn, 
          makes it more difficult for them to fully comply with 
          insurance and safety standards, all to the detriment of 
          consumers.

          The PUC states that its enforcement staff receives many 

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          complaints about carriers without permits, many from 
          licensed carriers or the California Moving and Storage 
          Association, an industry trade group.  Stopping the 
          violators is difficult, the PUC states, because of the 
          relative anonymity afforded by Internet advertising and 
          because many claim to be operating only as a "broker" and 
          not subject to permit requirements.  Unsuspecting customers 
          are frequently subject to abusive practices such as 
          "holding goods hostage" - refusal to deliver goods until 
          the customer pays additional charges not disclosed when the 
          service was arranged.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes   
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/8/12)

          California Moving and Storage Association (co-source)
          California Public Utilities Commission (co-source)
          21st Century Van Lines, Inc.
          Ace Relocation Systems, Inc.
          Advantage Moving and Storage
          Andy's Transfer and Storage
          Atlas Transfer and Storage Company
          Best Moving Service, Inc.
          Beverly Hills Transfer and Storage
          Blue Chip Moving and Storage, Inc.
          California Moving Systems
          California Relocation Service, Inc.
          Cardinal Van and Storage
          Careful Moving and Storage
          CDS Moving Equipment, Inc.
          Chipman Moving and Storage
          Colonial Van and Storage, Inc.
          Crown Moving and Storage
          Dewitt Companies of California
          Earl Farnsworth Express
          Ernie's Van and Storage
          EXCEL Moving Services
          E-ZMOVE Moving Services
          G&H Moving and Storage Company
          Galbraith Van and Storage Company, Inc.
          Golden Eagle Moving Services
          Golden Gate Moving and Storage Company

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          Hi Desert Moving and Storage
          Johnson Storage and Moving
          Lompoc Van and Storage, Inc.
          Main Street Moving and Storage
          Metropolitan Van and Storage, Inc.
          Monument Moving and Storage Mother Lode Van and Storage, 
          Inc.
          Move Pros
          Movers Supply Brokerage, Inc.
          Nor-Cal Moving Services
          North Bay Moving and Storage
          Oakley Relocation
          One Big Man and One Big Truck
          Ortiz Bros. Moving and Storage
          Paul Hanson Partners
          Poulos Moving Systems, Inc.
          Priority Moving, Inc.
          Qualex Inc.
          Redwood Moving and Storage
          Roseville Van and Storage, Inc.
          San Diego Van and Storage Company
          Santa Rosa Moving and Storage Company
          Seniors On The Move, Inc.
          Stadler and Jensen Moving
          Starving Students
          State Council for Independent Living
          Sterling Van Lines
          Unipack Global Relocation Services
          Vandenberg Van and Storage, Inc.
          VIP Transport
          Walton Family Moving and Storage


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  70-0, 5/25/12
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Beall, Block, 
            Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, Brownley, Buchanan, 
            Butler, Charles Calderon, Campos, Carter, Cedillo, 
            Chesbro, Conway, Cook, Davis, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eng, 
            Feuer, Fong, Furutani, Beth Gaines, Galgiani, Garrick, 
            Gatto, Gordon, Gorell, Hagman, Halderman, Harkey, 
            Hayashi, Roger Hernández, Hill, Huber, Hueso, Huffman, 
            Jeffries, Jones, Lara, Logue, Bonnie Lowenthal, Mansoor, 
            Mendoza, Miller, Mitchell, Monning, Morrell, Nestande, 
            Nielsen, Norby, Olsen, Pan, V. Manuel Pérez, Portantino, 

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            Skinner, Smyth, Solorio, Swanson, Torres, Valadao, 
            Wagner, Wieckowski, Williams, Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Atkins, Bill Berryhill, Fletcher, 
            Fuentes, Grove, Hall, Knight, Ma, Perea, Silva


          RM:k  8/8/12   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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