BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







         ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 
        |Hearing Date:May 2, 2011           |Bill No:SB                         |
        |                                   |543                                |
         ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 


                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS 
                               AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                          Senator Curren D. Price, Jr., Chair
                                           

                          Bill No:        SB 543Author:Price
                         As Amended:April 14, 2011Fiscal: Yes

        
        SUBJECT:   Business and professions:  regulatory boards. 
        
        SUMMARY:  Extends the sunset date of the California Architects Board 
        (CAB), Contractors State License Board (CSLB), Landscape Architects 
        Technical Committee (LATC), Board for Professional Engineers, Land 
        Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG), State Board of Guide Dogs for the 
        Blind (Guide Dog Board), State Athletic Commission (Commission).  
        Makes programmatic and administrative changes to some of the boards, 
        committees and commissions whose operation is being extended.

        Existing law:
        
        1) Provides for the licensing and regulation of various professions 
           and businesses by some 
           23 boards, 4 committees, 8 bureaus, and 1 commission within the 
           Department of Consumer Affairs under various Business and 
           Professions Code (BPC) licensing acts.

        2) Requires the licensing applicants of specified boards to submit a 
           full set of fingerprints for the purposes of conducting criminal 
           history record checks, and authorizes the licensing boards to 
           obtain and receive, at its discretion, criminal history information 
           from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of 
           Investigation (FBI).  The boards subject to this requirement are:  
           (BPC  144)

                   California Board of Accountancy
                   State Athletic Commission
                   Board of Behavioral Sciences
                   Court Reporters Board





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 2



                   State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
                   California State Board of Pharmacy
                   Board of Registered Nursing
                   Veterinary Medical Board
                   Registered Veterinary Technician Committee
                   Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
                   Respiratory Care Board of California
                   Hearing Aid Dispensers Advisory Commission
                   Physical Therapy Board
                   Physician Assistant Committee of the Medical Board of 
               California
                   Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board
                   Medical Board of California
                   State Board of Optometry
                   Acupuncture Board
                   Cemetery and Funeral Bureau
                   Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
                   Division of Investigation
                   Board of Psychology
                   The California Board of Occupational Therapy
                   Structural Pest Control Board
                   Contractors State License Board
                   Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine
                   The Professional Fiduciaries Bureau  

        3)Establishes CAB until January 1, 2012.  (BPC  5510)

        4)Authorizes CAB to appoint an Executive Officer (EO) until 
          January 1, 2012.  
        (BPC  5517)

        5)Authorizes the CAB to regulate and implement an intern 
          development program until January 1, 2012.  (BPC  5552.5)

        6)Specifies that licenses issued or renewed by CAB expire at 12 
          midnight on the last day of the birth month of the license 
          holder in each odd numbered year following the issuance or 
          renewal of the license.  Clarifies that to renew an unexpired 
          license, the license holder shall apply for renewal before the 
          time at which the license would otherwise expire.  (BPC  5600)

        7)Establishes LATC under CAB until January 1, 2012 and authorizes 
          LATC to:  assist CAB in the examination of candidates for a 
          landscape architect's license; investigate, assist and make 
          recommendations to CAB about the regulation of landscape 
          architects; perform delegated duties and functions and; send a 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 3



          representative to CAB meetings to report on activities.  (BPC  
          5620 and BPC  5622)

        8)Establishes BPELSG until January 1, 2012.  (BPC  6710)

        9)Authorizes BPELSG to appoint an EO until January 1, 2012.  (BPC 
           6714)

        10)Prohibits use of the title "structural engineer" by any person 
          unless he or she is a licensed civil engineer in California and 
          has been deemed qualified as a structural engineer according to 
          rules and regulations established by BPELSG.  (BPC  6736)

        11)Specifies that an applicant to use the title "structural 
          engineer" must pass a written exam that incorporates a national 
          exam by a nationally recognized entity approved by BPELSG and 
          must pass a supplemental California specific exam that tests the 
          applicant's knowledge of state laws, rules and regulations, 
          seismicity and structural engineering unique to this state.  
          (BPC  6763.1)

        12)Creates the Professional Engineer and Land Surveyor's Fund.  
          (BPC  6797 and BPC  8800)

        13)Establishes CSLB, subject to review by DCA limited only to 
          unresolved issues identified by the Joint Committee on Boards, 
          Commissions and Consumer Protection, until January 1, 2012.  
          (BPC  7000.5)

        14)Authorizes CSLB to appoint, with DCA director approval, a 
          registrar of contractors as EO until January 1, 2012.  (BPC  
          7011)

        15)Establishes the Guide Dog Board until January 1, 2012 (BPC  
          7200).

        16)Establishes a pilot project for arbitration of disputes between 
          dog users and dog schools over continued custody and use of dogs 
          until January 1, 2012.  (BPC  7215.6)

        17)Establishes the Geologists and Geophysics Fund.  (BPC  7885)

        18)Requires applicants for registration as a geologist to pay an 
          exam fee set by the board, not to exceed $450.  (BPC  7887)

        19)Establishes BPELSG as the entity responsible for carrying out 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 4



          the Professional Land Surveyors Act until January 1, 2012.  (BPC 
           8710)

        20)Establishes the Commission until January 1, 2012.  (BPC  
          18602)

        21)Requires the Commission to provide a report to the Legislature 
          by July 30, 2010 on the condition of the Neurological 
          Examination Account and the Boxers' Pension Fund.


        This bill:

        1) Adds BPELSG to the list of specified boards whose licensing 
           applicants are required to submit a full set of fingerprints for 
           the purposes of conducting criminal history record checks.

        2) Extends the date of operation of CAB until January 1, 2014.

        3) Removes the sunset date on CAB's authority to implement an intern 
           development program, granting permanent authority to CAB.

        4) Amends CAB's license renewal process to clarify that licenses 
           expire no more than 24 months after the issue date and to clarify 
           that the expiration date of the original license shall be set by 
           CAB in a manner to best distribute renewal procedures throughout 
           each year.  Specifies that to renew and unexpired license, the 
           license holder shall apply for a renewal on or before the 
           expiration date of the license.

        5) Extends the date of operation of LATC until January 1, 2014.

        6) Extends the date of operation of BPELSG until January 1, 2014.

        7) Deletes the requirement for a California specific exam for 
           structural engineers.

        8) Adds "Geologist's and Geophysicist's" to the name of the BPELSG 
           fund, creating the "Board of Professional Engineer's, Land 
           Surveyor's, Geologist's and Geophysicist's Fund."

        9) Removes the cap on the exam fee set by the BPELSG for registration 
           as a geologist.

        10)Extends the operation of CSLB until January 1, 2012 and deletes an 
           obsolete reference to the Joint Committee on Boards, Commissions 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 5



           and Consumer Protection.

        11)Extends the operation of the Guide Dog Board and arbitration pilot 
           project until January 1, 2014.

        12)Extends the operation of the Commission until January 1, 2014 and 
           requires the Commission to provide a report to the Legislature by 
           July 30, 2012 on the condition of the Neurological Examination 
           Account and the Boxers' Pension Fund.

        FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.  This bill has been keyed "fiscal" by 
        Legislative Counsel.

        COMMENTS:
        
        1. Purpose.  This bill is one of 7 "sunset bills" authored by the 
           Chair of the Business Professions and Economic Development 
           Committee (Committee).  Under current law, each of the boards, 
           committees and commissions named below will expire on January 1, 
           2012.  SB 543 makes necessary statutory changes to the Business and 
           Professions Code to extend the sunset date of the California 
           Architects Board (CAB), Contractors State License Board (CSLB), 
           Landscape Architects Technical Committee (LATC), Board for 
           Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG), 
           State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind (Guide Dog Board), State 
           Athletic Commission (Commission).  This bill will ensure that 
           consumers continue to be protected by oversight of the 
           professionals licensed by CAB, CSLB, LATC, BPELSG, Guide Dog Board 
           and Commission while also implementing changes to better promote 
           the protection of the public, as recommended by the Committee in 
           Background Papers for the recent oversight hearings, based on 
           collection of substantive data and testimony.  
        
        2. Background.  In 2011, the Committee conducted oversight hearings to 
           review 9 boards:  the Board of Registered Nursing, the Board of 
           Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, the Dental Board of 
           California, the Commission, the Board of Accountancy, Professional 
           Fiduciaries Bureau, the CSLB, the BPELSG, the CAB and the LATC.  
           The Committee also conducted oversight hearings of the Department 
           of Real Estate and the Office of Real Estate Appraisers.  The 
           Committee began its review of these licensing agencies in March 
           with three days of hearings.  This bill, and the accompanying 
           sunset bills, is intended to implement legislative changes as 
           recommended in the Committee's Background Papers for several 
           licensing boards reviewed by the Committee this year.  
             





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 6



        3. California Architects Board (CAB).  The CAB is responsible for 
           implementation and enforcement of the Architects Practice Act; the 
           laws and regulations related to the licensure, practice and 
           discipline of the architecture and landscape architecture industry 
           in California.  CAB currently licenses 24,117 licensees.

           CAB renews licenses on a bi-annual basis in set years, rather than 
           as an ongoing process, which appears to be impacting the Board's 
           budget balancing.  As all boards and commissions under DCA are 
           currently subject to a hiring freeze imposed by Governor Brown, 
           following the action of his predecessor Governor Schwarzenegger, 
           staff shortages and limited resources are a problem many boards are 
           experiencing.  Additionally, Governor Brown's budget proposes 
           borrowing money from other boards as loans to the General Fund to 
           make up for a significant budget shortfall for FY 2011-12.  While 
           CAB may not immediately be impacted by this effort, streamlining 
           its internal processes to prepare for further impact to its ability 
           to effectively conduct business should be a goal.  The Committee 
           found that renewal and associated fees should be ongoing, rather 
           than performed in stated years to better utilize staff resources 
           while balancing revenue with expenditures.   This bill amends CAB's 
           license renewal fee collection process so that renewals occur in a 
           manner that may create a steadier and more predictable fund level 
           from year to year.   
         
           CAB has implemented important programmatic and operational changes 
           and enhancements since its last sunset extension, as well as made 
           important policy decisions and adopted regulatory changes, 
           including:

                     Converting its California Supplemental Examination (CSE) 
                from the oral format to a computer based format which is much 
                more accessible to candidates, as is be available 6 days a 
                week year round at 13 different sites throughout California 
                and ten sites out of state, rather than the previous oral 
                format, which was offered 6 times per year alternating between 
                the Bay Area and Orange County. 

                     The addition of Continuing Education Requirement on 
                Disabled Access.  The Board now requires licensees to complete 
                five hours of continuing education on disabled access 
                provisions each two year renewal period.  

                     Implementation of a structured internship program which 
                is viewed as a valuable tool of assuring that interns gain 
                broad experience in all relevant areas of practice and as a 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 7



                critical means of ensuring reciprocity so California 
                architects have greater ability to practice in other states. 

                     Implementation of a Website, www.architect.ca.gov, which 
                is designed to explain licensure requirements to students and 
                the wide range of career possibilities in architecture.

                     Conducting a major study of education and experience 
                requirements for landscape architect.

                     Implementation of regulations to allow for:  public 
                information disclosure to ensure clear, consistent, and 
                complete information is available for consumers; increased 
                fines that can be assessed for violations of the Architects 
                Practice Act; requirement for licensee response for 
                information requested regarding complaints; clarifying what 
                type of business can use the word "architect" in its name; 
                codifying a national standard of specifying that exam scores 
                for a division of the national exam are good for five years; 
                sponsoring legislation to clarify that licensees and insurance 
                companies report settlement, judgments and arbitration awards 
                over $5,000; sponsoring legislation to clarify how unlicensed 
                individuals can collaborate with architects and; supporting 
                and implementing legislation requiring California architects 
                to complete mandatory continuing education courses on disabled 
                access requirements as a condition of license renewal.
             
           In 2004, the Board adopted a structured internship requirement as a 
           prerequisite for licensure as a means of exposing interns to a full 
           range of the necessary areas of practice. Candidates who are 
           eligible to take the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), 
           which is administered by the National Council of Architectural 
           Registration Boards (NCARB), are required to complete NCARB's 
           Intern Development Program (IDP).  To complement IDP, CAB developed 
           its Comprehensive Intern Development Program (CIDP) which aims to 
           ensure that an intern's experience is effective and verified.  The 
           program is designed to encourage better communication between the 
           intern and supervisor while enhancing accountability.  CIDP 
           requires interns to gain practical experience performing specific 
           key functions in the practice of architecture and submit 
           evidence-based documentation of that experience through work 
           samples and written narratives that are discussed by interns and 
           their supervisors.   The program is working well and CAB's efforts 
           to shape its future have been successful, and are continuing.   This 
           bill grants CAB permanent authority to implement an intern 
           development program.





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 8



            
           The Committee found that CAB has shown over the years a strong 
           commitment to improve its overall efficiency and effectiveness and 
           has worked cooperatively with the Legislature and Committee to 
           bring about necessary changes.   This bill extends the sunset on CAB 
           for 4 years  .  

        1. Landscape Architects Technical Committee (LATC).  California began 
           regulating the practice of landscape architecture in 1953 with the 
           formation of the Board of Landscape Architects (BLA).  In 1997, BLA 
           was allowed to sunset after review by this Committee and CAB was 
           recommended as the appropriate oversight agency for landscape 
           architects, due to the similarities between the two professions and 
           the existing infrastructure of CAB's regulatory programs.  In April 
           1997, the groups reached consensus and CAB unanimously supported 
           legislation to establish LATC under its jurisdiction.  LATC was 
           statutorily established, with the purpose of acting in an advisory 
           capacity to CAB on examination and other matters pertaining to the 
           regulation of the practice of landscape architecture in California. 
            This structure allows LATC and CAB to perform all of the licensing 
           and enforcement functions required of a state regulatory body.

           LATC is responsible for the examination, licensure, and enforcement 
           programs concerning landscape architects in the state of 
           California.  LATC currently licenses more than 3,500 of the over 
           15,000 licensed landscape architects in the United States.  
           California has both a practice act, which precludes unlicensed 
           individuals from practicing landscape architecture, and a title 
           act, which restricts the use of the title "landscape architect" to 
           those who have been licensed by LATC.  

           In 2004, the California Performance Review's (CPR), conducted 
           during Governor Schwarzenegger's second year in office, 
           recommendation was to eliminate CAB and LATC because they are not 
           needed to conduct licensing and regulatory activities of 
           professional disciplines and to transfer their functions to the new 
           Division of Licensing under the Department of Commerce and Consumer 
           Protection.  Both the Legislative Analyst Office and the CPR 
           Commission rejected this proposal.  The Governor's Reorganization 
           Plan to convert CAB to a bureau and eliminate LATC was rejected by 
           the Legislature.

           LATC has implemented important programmatic and operational changes 
           and enhancements since its last sunset extension, as well as made 
           important policy decisions and adopted regulatory changes, 
           including:





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 9




                     Conducting an occupational analysis to identify critical 
                job activities performed by landscape architects licensed in 
                California as part of LATC's comprehensive review of the 
                practice of landscape architecture and to serve as a basis for 
                the examination program.

                     Providing a report and recommendations on California's 
                eligibility requirements and access to landscape architecture 
                licensure in California.

                     Taking steps to increase awareness of LATC and the 
                profession it regulates through outreach efforts to public 
                agencies, firms/businesses, associations, landscape 
                architectural schools and inviting landscape architecture 
                faculty to attend and participate at LATC meetings.

                     Strengthening its enforcement program by adding an 
                additional 0.4 position.

                     Clarifying the exempt area of practice for consumers and 
                practitioners in order to ensure the public's safety and 
                promote efficient enforcement of statutes through legislative 
                changes.

                     Creating a candidate education/experience tracking 
                system based on the recommendations of the Education 
                Subcommittee.

                     Streamlining examination processing and reducing costs 
                by contracting with the Council of Landscape Architectural 
                Registration Boards (CLARB) to administer all five sections of 
                the Landscape Architects Registration Examination (LARE).

                     Redeveloping the format of the California Supplemental 
                Exam (CSE) from a take-home written exam to a computer-based, 
                multiple choice exam.

                     Reviewing and approving the University of California 
                Extension Certificate Programs according to LATC's 
                requirements for an approved Extension Certificate Program.

                     Holding annual strategic planning sessions. 

                     Updating publications to reflect changes in licensure 
                requirements and landscape architecture laws.





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 10




                     Creating an email subscription lists for landscape 
                architect candidates, licensees, professionals, faculty and 
                the public.

                     Creating an online consumer satisfaction survey to 
                analyze trends and improve services.

           LATC has shown over the years a strong commitment to improve its 
           overall efficiency and effectiveness and has worked cooperatively 
           with the Legislature and this Committee to bring about necessary 
           changes.  It is a regulatory program that has been found to be 
           efficient and effective when previously reviewed during Sunset 
           Review and by DCA.  One of the benefits of ongoing regulation of 
           the profession is direct participation of landscape architects in 
           decisions regarding oversight of their profession.   This bill 
           extends the sunset on LATC for 4 years  .     

        1. Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists 
           (BPELSG).  BPELSG is responsible for regulating the practice of 
           professional engineers and a number of branches of engineering, and 
           also land surveyors, geologists and geophysicists.  Engineers, land 
           surveyors, geologists, and geophysicists make professional 
           judgments, which have major financial, health, safety, and other 
           significant consequences on a daily basis.  BPELSG is responsible 
           for implementation and enforcement of the Professional Engineers 
           Act, the
           Professional Land Surveyors' Act, and the Geologist and 
           Geophysicist Act; the laws and regulations related to the 
           education, examination, licensure, practice and discipline of 
                  engineers, land surveyors, geologists and geophysicists. 

           BPELSG has implemented important programmatic and operational 
           changes and enhancements since its last sunset extension, as well 
           as made important policy decisions and adopted regulatory changes, 
           including:

                     Implementation of its reporting of legal actions program 
                where all professional engineers and land surveyors are 
                required to report criminal convictions; civil action 
                judgments, settlements, and arbitration awards; and 
                administrative actions to the Board within 90 days of their 
                occurrence or from when the licensee has knowledge of the 
                action.

                     Authorization of a selected organization to receive 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 11



                payments directly from applicants for examination fees and 
                contracting with an outside vendor for the direct collection 
                of national examination fees. 

                     More timely licensure of eligible candidates.

                     Biennial strategic planning sessions to review 
                accomplishments during the previous two years and to revise 
                the plan to reflect future goals and objectives.

                     Use of a national examination to better facilitate 
                licensure in California of structural engineers who are 
                licensed in other states.

           BPELSG currently treats the licensing and regulation of geologists 
           and geophysicists as a separate function (Program) apart from that 
           of the licensing and regulation of engineers and land surveyors.  
           Legislation enacted during the 4th Extraordinary Session of 2009 
           (ABx4 20) eliminated the Board for Geologists and Geophysicists and 
           transferred all of the duties, powers, purposes, responsibilities, 
           and jurisdiction to regulate the practices of geology and 
           geophysics to the Board for Professional Engineers and Land 
           Surveyors (BPELS).  The transfer of authority became effective 
           October 23, 2009.  The Geologist and Geophysicist Act and the Rules 
           and Regulations pertaining to the practices of geology and 
           geophysics remained in effect. The title of BPELS was then changed 
           to the "Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and 
           Geologists" pursuant to AB 1431 (Hill, Chapter 696, Statutes of 
           2010) and the composition of the Board was also increased from 13 
           to 15 by adding a licensed geologist or geophysicist and a public 
           member to the Board. It was the decision of BPELSG to continue with 
           a separate "Geologists and Geophysicists Program" to provide for 
           the licensing and qualifications and enforce the laws and 
           regulations as it pertains to geologists and geophysicists. 

           The Geologist and Geophysicists Program is a parallel program to 
           that for engineers and land surveyors. The budget, staff, and 
           online systems have been maintained as separate programs, and all 
           fees are directed to the appropriate accounts. The former Board for 
           Geologists and Geophysicists Fund has not been comingled with the 
           Engineers and Land Surveyors Fund.  There is some indication that 
           the reason for keeping the merger of the Geologist and Geophysicist 
           Board with that of BPELSG as a separate Program was that there may 
           be some action in the future to possibly undo what the Governor and 
           Legislature did back in 2009 (based on a lawsuit that had been 
           filed by an association of professional geologists following the 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 12



           elimination of the Board for Geologists and Geophysicists). This 
           appears doubtful.  It was also looked upon as a "cost savings" 
           approach by the former Governor when the staffing of the Geologists 
           and Geophysicists Board was reduced. Bringing the separate program 
           of geologists and geophysicists under BPELSG may at least help 
           address some of the resource and staffing issues which both this 
           separate Program has as well as that of BPELSG and improve the 
           overall effectiveness of the functions of this Program.   This bill 
           merges the Geologists and Geophysicists program with that of the 
           engineers and land surveyors and eliminates the separate Geologists 
           and Geophysicists Fund, specifying that all moneys should be 
           deposited into the new Professional Engineer's, Land Surveyor's, 
           Geologist's and Geophysicist's Fund .     

           According to BPELSG, prior to 2004, a civil engineer applying to 
           use the title "structural engineer" was required to pass the 
           16-hour California Structural examination.  At that time, the 
           National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) 
           also provided a national examination for structural engineers, but 
           it was not used for licensing in California.  Based on discussions 
           during the prior Sunset Review process, it was determined that the 
           Board should use the national examination in conjunction with a 
           state specific examination. The Board made this transition in 2004. 
           The Board's Structural Engineers Technical Advisory Committee (SE 
           TAC) recommended to the Board in April of 2009 that the new 16-hour 
           NCEES Structural examination be administered in California for 
           structural licensing beginning in April 2011, and that the 
           legislative requirement for a California specific structural 
           examination be eliminated.  The requirements for a California 
           specific examination for structural engineering is unnecessary 
           since the 16-hour NCEES Structural Examination has been considered 
           as testing for all the material previously provided in the state 
           specific examination.  Reliance on the national exam can also 
           greatly facilitate comity licensing, as all other states will be 
           using this new examination as the only requirement for structural 
           licensing.   This bill eliminates the requirement for a state 
           specific structural engineering examination so that BPELSG no 
           longer has to create a "take-home" multiple choice examination to 
           meet the current statutory requirement.  

           BPELSG attempted, after seeking this same authority in 2003 and 
           2004, to seek legislation to obtain authority to fingerprint 
           applicants to best determine criminal activity or record.  BPELSG 
           indicates that its applications for in-training certificates and 
           for professional licensure require all applicants to state whether 
           or not they have been convicted of a crime, because current law 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 13



           allows the Board to deny certification or licensure if the 
           applicant has been convicted of a crime substantially related to 
           the qualifications, functions, and duties of the professional 
           practice. However, the Board does not have the legal authority to 
           obtain criminal history information to verify if the information 
           provided on the applications is correct. Since the Board has no 
           legal authority to independently verify the truthfulness of an 
           applicant's response, the Board must rely solely on the information 
           provided by the applicant on the applications. This current process 
           does not adequately protect consumers.  Additionally, the Board can 
           take disciplinary action against a licensee if the licensee has 
           been convicted of a crime substantially related to the 
           qualifications, functions, and duties of the professional practice. 
            However, the Board is not able to proactively monitor whether its 
           licensees have been convicted of crimes because it is not able to 
           obtain criminal history information directly.  The Board must wait 
           for someone to submit a complaint and provide the conviction 
           information.  Again, this current process does not adequately 
           protect consumers.   This bill clarifies that BPELSG is one of the 
           boards, bureaus, divisions, and programs under DCA that may obtain 
           both state and federal criminal history information.  
            
           BPELSG indicates that the Geologist and Geophysicist Program can 
           increase its revenue by increasing the exam fee for the 
           Professional Geologist's exam.  Currently, the national 
           examinations administered by the Program consist of a Practice of 
           Geology exam and a Fundamentals of Geology exam.  These 
           examinations are prepared by and purchased from the National 
           Association of State Board of Geology (ASBOG).  The two national 
           exams and a
           California Specific Exam (CSE) exam must be taken and passed to 
           achieve licensure as a Professional Geologist.  The Practice of 
           Geology exam costs the Program $250, and the Fundamentals of 
           Geology exam costs $150.  However, applicants are only being 
           charged $150 each for the exam.  Raising the ASBOG examination fees 
           to match the amount the Program spends on purchasing the 
           examination will not only increase its revenue, it will bring the 
           Program into compliance with current statute.   This bill removes 
           the $450 cap on fees charged for exam fees.  
            
           The health, safety and welfare of consumers is protected by a 
           well-regulated
           engineering, land surveying and geology profession.  BPELSG has 
           shown over the years a strong commitment to improve its overall 
           efficiency and effectiveness and has worked cooperatively with the 
           Legislature and this Committee to bring about necessary changes.  





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 14



            This bill extends the sunset on the BPELSG for 4 years.  

        1. Contractors State License Board (CSLB).  The CSLB is responsible 
           for implementation and enforcement of the Contractors State License 
           Law; the laws and regulations related to the licensure, practice 
           and discipline of the construction industry in California.  All 
           businesses and individuals who construct or alter, or offer to 
           construct or alter, any building, highway, road, parking facility, 
           railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be 
           licensed by the Board if the total cost (labor and materials) of 
           one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more. 

           The Board licenses approximately 310,000 contractors in 43 license 
           classifications and two certifications.  CSLB issues some 27,000 
           licenses each year, and more than 123,000 licenses are renewed each 
           year.  A license may be issued to an individual, partnership, 
           corporation, or joint venture.  All licenses must have a qualifying 
           individual (also referred to as "qualifier").  A qualifying 
           individual is the person listed on CSLB records who satisfies the 
           experience and examination requirements for a license.  The Board 
           also registers some 7,400 home improvement salespersons (HIS) who 
           are engaged in the sale of home improvement goods and services.

           CSLB has implemented important programmatic and operational changes 
           and enhancements since its last sunset extension, as well as made 
           important policy decisions and adopted regulatory changes, 
           including:

                   Implementation of an Imaging and Workflow Automation 
               System (IWAS) which is a system to scan, route, retrieve 
               (search), process, and print various documents used by 
               licensing staff who process applications and also allows 
               enforcement staff to scan, retrieve, and print documents for 
               use in their analysis and processing of cases.

                   A commitment to alternative dispute resolution, as 
               recognized by the California Dispute Resolution Council for 
               CSLB's arbitration programs, as well as its on-site negotiation 
               program, mandatory settlement conference policies, and 
               extensive conciliation efforts.

                   Participation in the Economic and Employment Enforcement 
               Coalition (EEEC), a coalition of state and federal agencies 
               charged with overlapping jurisdiction in the area of labor law 
               enforcement  that was created to make a concerted, consistent, 
               and vigorous effort to combat illegal and unscrupulous 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 15



               operators.  

                   Establishment of a partnership with the Los Angeles City 
               Attorney's Office to streamline the procedure for processing 
               consumer complaints against unlicensed activity, enabling CSLB 
               to refer cases to the L.A. City Attorney's Office within 60 
               days of receipt.  

                   Use of new software to administer exams.  In 2007, CSLB 
               began administering all examinations using the State 
               Contractors Official Regulatory Exam (SCORE) software, a new 
               Microsoft Windows-based system developed in-house by Testing 
               Division staff.  The SCORE system provides a reliable, 
               user-friendly system, and has the technology to automate 
               reports, increase examination security, and, in many cases, 
               trouble shoot and fix hardware and software problems without 
               the need for staff to travel to the affected site.  Examination 
               results are available in real time and statistical analyses are 
               built into the system, allowing test development staff to 
               perform statistical analysis for each of their assigned 
               examination programs in a matter of minutes.

                   Receipt of the 2009 Innovation in Regulation award by the 
               National Association of State Contracting Licensing Agencies 
               (NASCLA) in recognition of its innovation, creativity, and 
               excellence in maintaining fair and balanced regulation of the 
               construction industry as demonstrated by the efforts of the 
               Service and Repair Task Force, which brought a sophisticated, 
               organized, and massive fraud ring to justice.

                   Participation in a memoranda of understanding (MOU) for 
               the purpose of sharing enforcement information with the 
               Employment Development Department (EDD), the Division of 
               Occupational Health and Safety (DOSH), the Division of Labor 
               Standards Enforcement (DLSE), the Division of Apprenticeship 
               Standards (DAS), the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), 
               the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), and the Department of Industrial 
               Relations' (DIR) Office of Director - Legal (ODL).  During 
               2009, CSLB worked with each agency to further enhance the 
               existing MOUs; thus, strengthening enforcement of labor, tax, 
               and licensing laws.

                   Implementation of a fingerprint requirement for license 
               applicants so that CSLB can be better informed about 
               convictions by applicants and licensees and have the ability to 
               take necessary action in an effective and consistent manner.  





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 16




           CSLB has shown over the years a strong commitment to improve its 
           overall efficiency and effectiveness and has worked cooperatively 
           with the Legislature and Committee to bring about necessary 
           changes.   This bill extends the sunset on CSLB for 4 years  .     

        1. State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind (Guide Dog Board).  The 
           Guide Dog Board is tasked with issuing licenses for the instruction 
           of blind persons in the use of guide dogs and for the training of 
           guide dogs for use by blind persons.  The Board also has exclusive 
           authority to license guide dog schools.

           In the 1940s, there were no minimum standards for guide dog school 
           operations, and it was possible for anyone to open a school.  The 
           Industrial Revolution and World War II casualties increased the 
           number of persons who were visually impaired.  Guide dog programs 
           of varying quality and competence emerged throughout the country, 
           most of them in California. 

           There was significant public confusion on the role and function of 
           guide dogs in public places and there was a long list of scandalous 
           activities that characterized the guide dog industry.  Providing 
           dogs with no training, raising funds with no plans to produce 
           trained dogs, selling dogs, accepting people for training and not 
           providing any and selling unauthorized certification papers were 
           commonplace occurrences.  Out of concern that the blind and 
           visually impaired were being victimized by scam artists, the Guide 
           Dog Board was created to protect the blind by establishing guide 
           dog school operation standards, providing oversight of the 
           disposition of donor funds to licensed schools and licensing and 
           regulating guide dog instructors.

           Prior to the establishment of the Board, there were approximately 
           20 guide dog school operations.  After the Board was created, only 
           two were able to qualify for licensure.  Those two schools still 
           exist today; Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. in San Rafael and Guide 
           Dogs of America in Sylmar.  A third California school, the Guide 
           Dogs of the Desert was licensed in 1972.   

           To ensure that the Committee can review the Guide Dog Board during 
           oversight hearings and properly determine its efficiency and 
           effectiveness,  this bill extends the sunset on the Guide Dog Board 
           for 2 years.
              
        2. State Athletic Commission (Commission).  The Commission is 
           responsible for protecting the health and safety of its licensees; 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 17



           boxers, kickboxers and martial arts athletes.  Established by 
           initiative in 1924, stemming from concerns for athlete injuries and 
           deaths, the Commission provides direction, management, control of 
           and jurisdiction over professional and amateur boxing, professional 
           and amateur kickboxing, all forms and combinations of full contact 
           martial arts contests, including mixed martial arts (MMA) and 
           matches or exhibitions conducted, held or given in California.  
           Functionally, the Commission consists of four components:  
           licensing, enforcement, regulating events and administering the 
           Professional Boxers' Pension Fund (Pension Fund).  

           The Commission is responsible for implementation and enforcement of 
           the Boxing Act also known as the State Athletic Commission Act.  
           The Commission establishes requirements for licensure, issues and 
           renews licenses, approves and regulates events, assigns ringside 
           officials, investigates complaints received, and enforces 
           applicable laws by issuing fines and suspending or revoking 
           licenses. 

           In 2010, the Commission supervised 184 events, including 82 boxing, 
           72 MMA, 16 kickboxing and14 muay thai.  Federal Law, the Muhammad 
           Ali Boxing Reform Act (Boxing Act) prohibits events from taking 
           place in a state without a regulatory commission unless the fight 
           is regulated by either another state's commission or on sovereign 
           tribal land.   Regulated events result in higher levels of 
           protection for fighters than unauthorized or illegal events in 
           addition to added revenue for the state and a boon to the local 
           economy where events take place.   

           The Committee held an oversight hearing focused on the Commission 
           in April 2010.  At that time, numerous operational deficiencies, 
           fighter safety issues and problems with amateur MMA regulation were 
           explored and discussed.  In addition to administrative issues that 
           plagued the Commission, since it was reconstituted in 2007, 
           Committee members were especially concerned with the process and 
           procedures by which the Commission delegated its authority for 
           amateur MMA regulation.

           Since that hearing, and throughout the course of the year, the 
           Commission has made several improvements and significant progress 
           in the way that it does business.  After years of failing to set 
           the foundation for the Commission's efforts to effectively do 
           business in the form of a Strategic Plan (Plan), and several missed 
           deadlines to prepare a Plan, the Plan was finally completed and 
           submitted to the Legislature in December 2010.  The Commission now 
           holds regular meetings that are generally well attended by new, 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 18



           more engaged Commission members after years of meetings where it 
           was difficult to even establish a quorum.  For the first time in 
           many years, the Commission has a full time Executive Officer (EO) 
           and Assistant EO and is not beleaguered with turmoil in personnel, 
           issues involving conflicts of interest, and  inappropriate 
           activities on the part of staff.  Additionally, there are now more 
           frequent and regular training and informational sessions offered 
           for field staff, covering a more consistent set of subjects, and 
           the Commission is finally holding bi-annual training sessions as 
           outlined in statute to ensure that field staff understand their 
           responsibilities and duties relative to all applicable laws and 
           regulations.   The Commission is going through the process of 
           updating regulations in the California Code of Regulations to 
           better conform to current practice and strengthen oversight of 
           athletes and events. 

           The Commission has implemented important programmatic and 
           operational changes and enhancements since its last sunset 
           extension, as well as made important policy decisions and adopted 
           regulatory changes, including:

                     Development of a Strategic Plan which includes goals for 
                efficiency, more proactive public outreach and the formulation 
                of performance measures.

                     Improved spending efforts and cost control.  The 
                Commission has focused on optimum utilization of its resources 
                by attempting to assign staff based on proximity to an event 
                and reducing labor and travel costs as well as managing 
                licensing and avoiding backlogs with a small staff.

                     Establishment of new cashiering and accounting 
                practices.  The Commission only accepts checks, ensures prompt 
                transmittal to DCA's cashiering unit, is developing a receipt 
                system to identify transactions and is creating a desk and 
                field manual to streamline staff procedures.

                     Creation of a temporary database and other systems to 
                create more electronic records.  The Commission is updating 
                records with past licensing information and attempting to have 
                a precise tracking system.  The Commission is also using 
                software to assist in assigning staff as opposed to relying on 
                hand written lists and cards.

                     Hiring staff and filling vacancies.  The Commission has 
                only one key staff position vacant as a means of achieving 
   




                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 19



                cost savings and recently hired an Assistant EO with a strong 
                background in board administration.

                     Positive investment accumulation for the Boxers Pension 
                Fund which historically was insolvent.

                     Exploration into eligible program development and proper 
                expenditures for the Neurological Examination Fund.

                     Monitoring the delegation of authority for regulation of 
                MMA events.  The Commission works closely with the nonprofit 
                organization overseeing MMA and receives regular reports on 
                its actions, fee structure and standards.

           While the Commission has experienced problems over the past number 
           of years, the current membership and management has shown a 
           commitment to improve the Commission's overall efficiency and 
           effectiveness and is working cooperatively with the Legislature and 
           this Committee to bring about necessary changes.  California's 
           professional and amateur boxers, kickboxers and mixed martial arts 
           athletes are better served with appropriate oversight, and the 
           state benefits from holding these events in California.   This bill 
           extends the sunset on the Commission for 2 years.    
         
        1. Related Legislation.  Other sunset bills to be presented before the 
           Committee include:  
         SB 538  which deals with the Board of Registered Nursing,  SB 539  which 
           deals with the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric 
           Technicians,  SB 540  which deals with the Dental Board of 
           California,  SB 541  which deals with Expert Consultants,  SB 542  
           which deals with the Board of Accountancy and the Professional 
           Fiduciaries Bureau, and  SB 706  which deals with the Department of 
           Real Estate and the Office of Real Estate Appraisers.

        2. Arguments in Support.  The  Contractors State License Board  (CSLB) 
           writes in support of SB 543, noting that "CSLB believes we are 
           working hard to fulfill our consumer protection mandate, and we 
           look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature, consumers 
           and other interested parties to further our efforts."

           The  California Landscape Contractors Association  (CLCA) believes 
           that CSLB has made remarkable progress in its mission to protect 
           consumers and provide contractors with a fair and competitive 
           marketplace for their services.  CLCA states that allowing CSLB to 
           sunset and be replaced by a bureau would be step backward and a 
           serious blow to open and responsive governance of the construction 





                                                                         SB 543
                                                                         Page 20



           industry.  

            Guide Dog Users Inc. (GDUI)  ,  Guide Dog Users of America  and the 
            State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind   write in support of 
           extending the date of operation for the Guide Dog Board, noting 
           that the Board provides important services to licensed 
           instructors and visually impaired consumers.  Supporters 
           believe that the work of the Guide Dog Board has resulted in 
           improved training standards for training of guide dogs for the 
           blind and an improved process for licensing dog trainers and 
           that it is important for the Board to continue providing 
           consumer protection.  

        
        SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION:
        
         Support:   

        California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA)
        Contractors State License Board
        Guide Dog Users Inc. (GDUI)
        Guide Dog Users of America
        State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind

         Opposition:   

        None received as of April 26, 2011.



        Consultant:Sarah Mason