BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                 SB 152
                                                                 Page  1

         SENATE THIRD READING
         SB 152 (Roth)
         As Amended  August 8, 2013
         Majority vote

          SENATE VOTE  :   35-1
           
          BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS          9-3                 APPROPRIATIONS  
                             13-4        
          
          ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
         |Ayes:|Gordon, Bocanegra,        |Ayes:|Gatto, Bocanegra,         |
         |     |Campos, Dickinson,        |     |Bradford, Ian Calderon,   |
         |     |Eggman, Hagman, Mullin,   |     |Campos, Eggman, Gomez,    |
         |     |Skinner, Ting             |     |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;

            b)   A description of any basis of compensation applicable to  








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              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  
              client; 

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

            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 agency.

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

         7)Adds language to avoid chaptering out issues with SB 822  
           (Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee).

         8)Makes other technical and clarifying changes.

         9)States that no reimbursement is required by this bill pursuant  
           to the California Constitution because the only costs that may  








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           be incurred by a local agency or a school district will be  
           incurred because this bill creates a new crime or infraction,  
           eliminates a 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  








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           before the Board to demonstrate their competency and  
           understanding 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  








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           consumer and the professional by ensuring that both parties have  
           a clear understanding of the services that will be provided, as  
           well as clarifying the terms of the contract and helping to  
           ensure fair pricing.  



           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)  
           319-3301                                               FN:  
           0001536