BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







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        |Hearing Date:June 16, 2014         |Bill No:AB                         |
        |                                   |1685                               |
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                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, PROFESSIONS 
                               AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                              Senator Ted W. Lieu, Chair
                                           

                        Bill No:        AB 1685Author:Williams
                       As Amended:  April, 21, 2014Fiscal:  Yes

        
        SUBJECT:  Structural pest control operators: fees.
        
        SUMMARY:  Increases the statutory cap on the fees that the Structural  
        Pest Control Board (SPCB) may assess for license examinations in order  
        to fund the implementation of computer-based testing (CBT). 

        Existing law:
        
       1)Provides for the licensure and regulation of the practice of  
          structural pest control by the SPCB.  (Business and Professions Code  
          (BPC)  8500 et seq.)

       2)Requires the SPCB to examine all applicants for a license to practice  
          as an applicator, field representative, or operator in any of the  
          three branches of structural pest control and apply all fees.  (BPC  
           8560 et seq.)

       3)Permits the SPCB to charge a fee for examinations for the renewal of  
          licenses, but prohibits the fee from exceeding $50 dollars per  
          examination.  (BPC  8593)

       4)Establishes a fee schedule for the various stages in the application  
          process, including examination fees. The fees are set at $10 for  
          applicators, $15 dollars for field representatives and $25 for  
          operators.  (BPC  8674)

        This bill: Increases the maximum amount of fees the Board can charge  
        applicants to take an examination to $60 for applicators, $75 for  
        field representatives, and $100 for operators. 






                                                                        AB 1685
                                                                         Page 2



        
        FISCAL EFFECT:  This bill is keyed "fiscal" by Legislative Counsel.   
        According to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations analysis dated  
        April 30, 2014, this bill will result in minor special fund revenue  
        increase to the SPCB.

        
        COMMENTS:
        
       1.Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by the  Pest Control Operators of  
          California  (PCOC).  According to the Author, this bill will help  
          fund the implementation of computer based testing (CBT) for  
          licensees which will accomplish the following: reduce the risk of  
          cheating; simplify test validation, scheduling and monitoring for  
          SPCB staff and examinees; and significantly increase the number of  
          examination sites in and out of state, making it easier and cheaper  
          for applicants to take an exam.

        2. Background.  In January 2013, the SPCB's examinations were  
           compromised when examination participants misappropriated  
           examination questions.  This subversion led to suspension of the  
           examinations until the Board was able to draft a new examination at  
           a cost of $41,532.  CBT is seen as a way to decrease the risk of  
           the occurrence of cheating. 

           Further, because the Board currently only has two examination  
           sites, CBT will improve 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.  There are currently 17 proposed CBT sites in the  
           state of California and 22 sites in other states.  

           Currently, the Board is paying the increased cost for CBT.   
           However, the Board is only authorized to incur this increased cost  
           through 2014 in anticipation that it can raise the fee in 2015.   
           Fees assessed for these examinations will be based on actual costs  
           to administer the examinations (currently $37.50 under contract  
           with the Department Consumer Affairs and an outside vendor for CBT)  
           and miscellaneous costs for staffing. 

           A moderate increase in these fees to modernize testing  
           methodologies will allow the Board to more efficiently and  
           effectively offer the tests required to become a licensed operator  
           in California.

           The Committee requested that the SPCB complete a fee bill worksheet  





                                                                        AB 1685
                                                                         Page 3



           (see attached worksheet for more detailed information).  The  
           following is a table with the proposed changes:

          ------------------------------------------------------------------- 
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |     Examination Type |       Current Fee   |      Proposed Fee    |
         |----------------------+---------------------+----------------------|
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |  Operator's          |          $2         |                      |
         |  Examination         |          5          |      $100            |
         |----------------------+---------------------+----------------------|
         |        Field         |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |   Representative's   |          $1         |                      |
         |                      |          5          |       $75            |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |      Examinatio      |                     |                      |
         |          n           |                     |                      |
         |----------------------+---------------------+----------------------|
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |  Applicator's        |          $1         |                      |
         |  Examination         |          5          |       $60            |
         |----------------------+---------------------+----------------------|
         |   Operator's         |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |   Continuing         |          $2         |                      |
         |                      |          5          |      $100            |
         |   Education          |                     |                      |
         |   Examination        |                     |                      |
         |----------------------+---------------------+----------------------|
         |        Field         |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |   Representative's   |          $1         |          $75         |
         |                      |          5          |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |                      |                     |                      |
         |      Continuing      |                     |                      |
         |      Education       |                     |                      |
         |      Examinatio      |                     |                      |
         |          n           |                     |                      |
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                                                                        AB 1685
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        3. Arguments in Support.  According to the Pest Control Operators of  
           California (PCOC), this bill will help bring the industry up to  
           date with advances in today's technology.  PCOC believes the 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 proposed.  The organization also adds that this bill will  
           improve consumer protection and help small businesses in  
           California.  

           The  SPCB  supports the bill and writes, "The ability to offer CBT  
           examinations will help the Board ensure its applicants meet an  
           acceptable level of competency for licensure.  This helps the Board  
           achieve its goals of protection of public health and the promotion  
           of worker safety."

        
        SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION:
        
         Support:  

        Pest Control Operators of California (Sponsor)
        Structural Pest Control Board

         Opposition:  

        None on file as of June 11, 2014.



        Consultant:Vince Chee