BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1685
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 8, 2014

              ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS AND CONSUMER  
                                     PROTECTION
                               Susan A. Bonilla, Chair
                   AB 1685 (Williams) - As Amended:  April 2, 2014
           
          SUBJECT  :   Structural pest control operators: fees.

           SUMMARY  :   Increases the statutory maximum for licensure  
          examination fees charged by the Structural Pest Control Board  
          (Board).  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Authorizes a registered structural pest control company to  
            provide by electronic mail a written notice to the owner or  
            owner's agent, and the tenant of the premises where pest  
            control work is to be done.

          2)Removes the $15 cap on the applicator's examination fee, and  
            instead authorizes the Board to charge a fee in an amount  
            sufficient to cover the "reasonable regulatory cost" of  
            administering the examination.

          3)Increases the maximum licensure examination fees as follows: 

             a)   Operator examination fees from $25 to $100; 

             b)   Field Representative examination fees from $15 to $75;  
               and, 

             c)   Applicator examination fees from $15 to $60.

          4)Removes the $50 cap on examination fees in cases where the  
            exam is taken during the course of license renewal, and  
            instead authorizes the board to charge an examination fee  
            amount sufficient to cover the reasonable regulatory cost of  
            administering each exam.


           EXISTING LAW  

          1)Provides a comprehensive licensure scheme for the regulation  
            of the structural pest control industry which, among other  
            things, sets forth a fee schedule for licensure and  
            registration of those companies and their personnel who are  








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            engaged in structural pest control work.  (Business and  
            Professions Code (BPC) Section 8500, et seq.)

          2)Establishes the Board to administer and enforce structural  
            pest control statutes and regulations.  (BPC 8520-8536)

          3)Authorizes the Board to charge an examination fee in an amount  
            sufficient to cover the cost of administering the examination  
            not to exceed fifteen dollars ($15).  (BPC 8564.5(d))

          4)Authorizes the Board to charge a fee for the retaking of an  
            examination during the course of license renewal in an amount  
            sufficient to cover the cost of administering each  
            examination, provided, however, that in no event shall the fee  
            exceed fifty dollars ($50) for each examination.  (BPC 8593)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Purpose of this bill  .  AB 1685 would increase the statutory  
            maximums on certain examination fees charged by the Board to  
            support the transition to computer based testing (CBT).  CBT  
            is anticipated to significantly reduce the risks of cheating  
            and simplify test validation, scheduling, and monitoring for  
            Board staff and examinees.  This bill is sponsored by the Pest  
            Control Operators of California.

           2)Author's statement  . According to the author's office, "There  
            are currently 17 CBT sites proposed in the state of California  
            and 22 sites in other states. The Board currently only has two  
            examination sites.  As such, CBT is an obvious improvement in  
            testing availability and efficacy, particularly for  
            out-of-state candidates who will save on costs associated with  
            airfare and other travel to California to take an examination.  
             This bill increases the existing examination fees for each  
            license type which are currently capped at $25 and haven't  
            been increased in more than 50 years."

           3)The structural pest control industry  . The Board regulates the  
            pest control industry and issues licenses to individuals  
            engaged in the structural fumigation of pests.  "Fumigation"  
            is the use of a substance to destroy plant and animal life  
            within an enclosed space.  Structural fumigation applies  
            solely to the fumigation of houses or other structures, such  








                                                                  AB 1685
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            as railroad cars, ships, docks, trucks, and airplanes.  To  
            fumigate a home or structure, it must be vacated and enclosed  
            with a tent or tarps, and after a fumigant is released the  
            home or structure must remain enclosed for a set period of  
            time to kill the pests.  Afterwards, the home or structure  
            must be properly ventilated before the inhabitants can return.

            Structural fumigation is regulated by the Board because it  
            utilizes large quantities of toxic chemicals, particularly  
            sulfuryl fluoride.  Sulfuryl fluoride is a highly toxic  
            pesticide fumigant used to control termites and other pests in  
            homes and other structures.  Sulfuryl fluoride is colorless,  
            odorless, and leaves no residue; if used incorrectly, it can  
            result in fluoride poisoning and cause illness or death in  
            humans.

           4)Proposed fee increase  . The proposed fee cap increases are  
            intended to allow the Board to raise the money necessary to  
            modernize testing methodologies from its current written  
            examination and more efficiently offer the tests required to  
            become a licensed operator in California.  If this bill were  
            enacted, the Board would finalize a cost analysis and then  
            promulgate regulations to support the Board's fully loaded  
            costs to administer the examination program.  The Board has  
            already started a CBT pilot program with two testing sites and  
            is currently absorbing the additional CBT examination cost.

            According to the Board, the current cost to administer each  
            examination is $37.50 under a Department of Consumer Affairs  
            contract with an outside CBT vendor.  The Board anticipates  
            increasing the examination fees by roughly $40 per licensure  
            category to cover the actual costs of administering the  
            examination.  The Board anticipates this moderate increase in  
            fees will have a minimal impact on licensees. The proposed  
            examination fee increases by the Board would raise the  
            operator examination fee from $25 to $65; the field  
            representative examination fee from $15 to $50; and the  
            applicator examination fee from $15 to $55.

            This bill would also remove the $50 cap on examination fees in  
            cases where a renewing licensee opts to retake the examination  
            in order to demonstrate his or her knowledge of developments  
            in the field of pest control in lieu of submitting proof of  
            completion of required continuing education. 









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           5)Notice Requirement  . AB 1685 would also change the way in which  
            notice is delivered for pest control work by including  
            electronic mail as an additional method of delivery.  
            Currently, notice may be mailed, posted or personally  
            delivered.  

          To ensure that the "conspicuous" requirement of notice is  
            satisfied, notice by default will be delivered for pest  
            control work by first class mail, and sent as electronic mail  
            only at the customer's request.

           6)Arguments in support  . According to the Pest Control Operators  
            of California, "[The current tests are only given in the  
            Northern and Southern California locations, once a month  
            causing a business owner a lot of financial strain.  As a  
            result of the antiquated testing system, tests have also been  
            compromised numerous times[,] costing the [Board] tens of  
            thousands of dollars.  In addition, tests [have] had to be  
            postponed to be rewritten, also costing the industry payroll  
            and job losses.  [This bill] will help improve the application  
            and licensing process in a manner that will save pest control  
            companies far more than the nominal fee increases."

          " [This bill] will [also] help bring the industry up to date  
            with advances in today's technology.  We know that electronic  
            mail is more timely environmentally friendly, and easier to  
            track and retrieve.  By making this modification it would not  
            only be making the consumer interaction more favorable, but it  
            would allow Pest Management Professionals to have more options  
            that are in line with today's standards."  

           7)Previous legislation  .  AB 1177 (Bocanegra) (Chapter 596,  
            Statutes of 2013) established a structural fumigation  
            enforcement program that requires the Director of the  
            Department of Pesticide Regulation to provide oversight for  
            the program that oversees which commissioners may perform  
            increased structural fumigation, inspection, and enforcement  
            activities, to be funded by an $8 increase in the filing fee.

            AB 1284 (Eng) (Chapter 488, Statutes of 2008) increased the  
            registration fee for geologists and geophysicists from $300 to  
            $450.

            SB 136 (Figueroa) (Chapter 909, Statutes of 2004) established  
            an examination fee of $100 for marriage and family therapists  








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            and a reexamination fee of $150, and also required the Board  
            of Behavioral Sciences to adjust all examination fees to  
            reflect actual costs incurred in holding the examinations.

            AB 446 (Committee on Business and Professions) (Chapter 204,  
            Statutes of 2001) established an examination fee cap of $15  
            for structural pest control licensure examinations. 

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Pest Control Operators of California (sponsor)

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Girard Kelly / B.,P. & C.P. / (916)  
          319.3301