BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                SB 152
                                                                Page  1

        SB 152 (Roth)
        As Amended  April 8, 2013
        Majority vote 

         SENATE VOTE  :35-1  
         BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS      9-3 APPROPRIATIONS      13-4        
        |Ayes:|Gordon, Bocanegra,        |Ayes:|Gatto, Bocanegra,         |
        |     |Campos, Dickinson,        |     |Bradford,                 |
        |     |Eggman, Hagman, Mullin,   |     |Ian Calderon, Campos,     |
        |     |Skinner, Ting             |     |Eggman, Gomez, Hall,      |
        |     |                          |     |Holden, Linder, Pan,      |
        |     |                          |     |Quirk, Weber              |
        |     |                          |     |                          |
        |Nays:|Jones, Maienschein, Wilk  |Nays:|Harkey, Bigelow,          |
        |     |                          |     |Donnelly, Wagner          |
         SUMMARY  :  Deletes the current provisions allowing a temporary  
        authorization to practice engineering, geology, and geophysics, and  
        requires the use of a written contract when contracting to provide  
        geological or geophysical services as specified.  Specifically,  this  
        bill  :   

        1)Repeals the authority of the Board for Professional Engineers,  
          Land Surveyors and Geologists (Board) to issue a temporary  
          authorization to practice engineering, as specified.

        2)Repeals the authority of the Board to issue a temporary  
          authorization to practice geology and geophysics, as specified.

        3)Requires a geologist or geophysicist to use a written contract  
          when contracting for geological or geophysical services, and  
          requires the contract to be executed prior to the work commencing  
          unless the client states otherwise in writing. 

        4)Requires the written contract for geographical or geophysical  
          services to include:

           a)   A description of the services to be provided to the client  
             by the geologist or geophysicist;


                                                                SB 152
                                                                Page  2

           b)   A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the  
             contract and the method of payment agreed upon by the parties;

           c)   The name, address and license or certificate number of the  
             geologist or geophysicist and the name and address of the  

           d)   A description of the procedure the geologist, geophysicist  
             and the client will use to accommodate additional services;  

           e)   A description of the procedure to be used by any party to  
             terminate the contract.

        5)Provides an exemption to the written contract requirement for any  
          of the following circumstances:

           a)   Geologic or geophysical services rendered by a geologist or  
             geophysicist for which the client will not pay compensation;

           b)   A geologist or geophysicist who has a current or prior  
             contractual relationship with the client to provide geologic or  
             geophysical services and who has already been paid the fees  
             that are due under the contract by the client;

           c)   If the client executes a waiver in writing after full  
             disclosure as specified, that a contract is not required; or,

           d)   Geological or geophysical services rendered by a geologist  
             or geophysicist to any of the following:  a licensed geologist  
             or geophysicist; a licensed engineer; a licensed land surveyor;  
             a licensed architect; a licensed contractor; or a public  

        6)Specifies that a "written contract" includes a contract in  
          electronic form.

        7)Makes other technical and clarifying changes.

        8)States that no reimbursement is required by this bill pursuant to  
          the California Constitution because the only costs that may be  
          incurred by a local agency or a school district will be incurred  
          because this bill creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a  


                                                                SB 152
                                                                Page  3

          crime or infraction, changes the penalty for a crime or  
          infraction, or changes the definition of a crime. 

         FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee,  
        costs associated with this legislation should be minor and  
        absorbable within existing resources. 

         COMMENTS  :   

         1)Purpose of this bill  .  This bill would repeal the Board's current  
          authority to issue a temporary authorization to out-of-state  
          licensees to practice geology, geophysics or engineering in the  
          state of California in order to ensure that those professionals  
          have sufficient knowledge of California's unique seismic issues.   
          In addition, this bill requires geologists and geophysicists to  
          execute a written contract, similar to that currently required of  
          engineers, prior to performing work in order to better protect  
          consumers from unfair contracting or billing practices.  This bill  
          is sponsored by the Board.

         2)Author's statement  .  According to the author, "Temporary  
          authorizations [for the practice of engineering, geology or  
          geophysics] can pose a risk to the health and safety of the  
          consumers of California because individuals [who] are not licensed  
          in California may not be familiar with the terrain, soils or  
          seismic [issues] that are specific to California.  Currently,  
          there is no statutory requirement that professional geologists or  
          geophysicists execute written contracts with their clients [as do]  
          professional engineers and land surveyors [which] the board  
          believes that the written contracts are beneficial to both the  
          consumer and the licensee."

         3)Temporary authorization  .  The Board does not currently issue  
          temporary licenses, but it does allow certain out-of-state  
          licensees to obtain a temporary authorization to practice in  
          California.  The temporary authorization allows an engineer,  
          geologist, or geophysicists to work in California for a specified  
          amount of time, up to 180 days for an engineer and up to 60  
          consecutive days for a geologist or geophysicist, extendable to  
          120 days.  

        An applicant for a temporary authorization must submit an  
          application and supporting documents, and is required to appear  
          before the Board to demonstrate their competency and understanding  


                                                                SB 152
                                                                Page  4

          of their specialty branch of engineering or geology and  
          geophysics.  The Board members may question applicants about the  
          details of the specific project they will be working on or their  
          overall experience to date, but issues related to California's  
          unique seismic issues may be overlooked.  

          The situations that might lead to a temporary authorization  
          request include a case where a large, national engineering firm  
          may decide, on short notice, to use a particular out-of-state  
          licensee with specialized relevant experience.  According to the  
          Board, since 1995 there have been 40 temporary authorizations  
          granted for engineers. Of those 40 temporary authorizations, 20  
          individuals became licensed in California and seven individuals  
          failed the California licensing examination.  There has been only  
          one instance of the Board granting a temporary license to a  
          geologist in 2012.  

          The Board also has limited disciplinary recourse against a  
          temporary authorization.  While current law provides the Board  
          with the authority to take administrative or disciplinary action  
          (revocation or suspension) against a temporary authorization, by  
          the time the Board is notified of a problem and goes through the  
          investigatory and disciplinary process, the temporary  
          authorization time period would likely have ended and the  
          out-of-state practitioner would have returned to his or her home  
          state, making it difficult and perhaps pointless to pursue  
          disciplinary action.    
          According to the sponsors, doing away with temporary authorization  
          in favor of requiring professionals to take and pass the  
          standardized exam necessary for licensure is a more appropriate  
          way of measuring a particular licensee's ability.  It will also  
          ensure that engineering and geoscience professionals practicing in  
          this state have sufficient knowledge about California's unique  
          soil, terrain and seismic issues.  In practice, it will also give  
          the Board greater disciplinary power over the licensee.   

         4)Professional Contracts  .  Under current law, professionals such as  
          engineers, land surveyors, contractors, and architects are  
          required to use written contracts when contracting to provide  
          professional services.  A written contract can help protect the  
          consumer and the professional by ensuring that both parties have a  
          clear understanding of the services that will be provided, as well  


                                                                SB 152
                                                                Page  5

          as clarifying the terms of the contract and helping to ensure fair  

          This bill would put the geology and geophysics professions on par  
          with other Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) regulated  
          professions, and even some of those already regulated by the  
          Board.  AB 20 X4 (Audra Strickland), Chapter 18, Statutes of  
          2009-10 Fourth Extraordinary Session, eliminated the Board for  
          Geologists and Geophysicists and transferred all of its duties,  
          powers, purposes, responsibilities, and jurisdiction to regulate  
          the practices of geology and geophysics to the Board for  
          Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors - but did not harmonize  
          all of the provisions for each profession.  This bill would impose  
          uniform requirements for the contracts of all the professional  
          licensees regulated by the Board.

         Analysis Prepared by  :    Elissa Silva / B.,P. & C.P. / (916)  

                                                                  FN: 0001489