BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 921


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          Date of Hearing:  April 14, 2015


                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS


                                Susan Bonilla, Chair


          AB 921  
          (Jones) - As Introduced February 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Private investigators:  Disciplinary Review Committee.


          SUMMARY:  Establishes a Private Investigator Disciplinary Review  
          Committee (DRC), to which a licensed private investigator, under  
          the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS), may  
          appeal the assessment of an administrative fine and to which a  
          person denied a license to work as a private investigator may  
          appeal the denial.


          EXISTING LAW


          1)Establishes the Private Investigator Act (Act), which provides  
            for the licensure and regulation of private investigators by  
            the BSIS, within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), and  
            requires the director of Consumer Affairs to administer and  
            enforce the act. (Business and Professions Code (BPC)   
            7512-7573)


          2)Authorizes the director to deny, suspend, or revoke a license  
            if the director determines, among other things, that the  
            licensee has violated any provision of the act. (BPC  7561.1)









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          3)Authorizes the director to impose a civil penalty of no  
            greater than $500 instead of suspending or revoking a license  
            issued under the Act for the violation of specified provisions  
            if the director determines that the imposition of the civil  
            penalty better serves the purposes of the Act. (BPC  7563)


          4)Establishes two Private Security DRCs, one in northern  
            California and one in southern California, which licensees  
            have the option of using to review administrative fines and  
            licensure decisions, except as specified. (BPC  
            7581.1-7581.5)


          5)Establishes an Alarm Company Operator DRC, which licensees  
            have the option of using to review administrative fines and  
            licensure decisions, except as specified. (BPC   
            7591.17-7591.20)


          THIS BILL


          1)Requires the Governor to appoint a Private Investigator DRC,  
            and allows the Governor to remove any member of the committee  
            for misconduct, incompetency, or neglect of duty.


          2)Requires the DRC to consist of three members actively engaged  
            in the business of a licensed private investigator and two  
            public members.  The public members shall not be licensees or  
            registrants, or engage in any business or profession in which  
            any part of the fees, compensation, or revenue thereof, is  
            derived from any licensee.


          3)Requires the DRC to meet every 60 days, or more or less  
            frequently as may be required. The members shall be paid per  








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            diem pursuant to BPC  103 and shall be reimbursed for actual  
            travel expenses.  The members shall be appointed for a term of  
            four years.


          4)Authorizes a person licensed with the BSIS to appeal the  
            assessment of an administrative fine to the committee and  
            authorizes a person denied a license under the act to appeal  
            the denial of a license, unless the denial of a license is  
            ordered by the director in a formal administrative hearing.


          5)Requires a request for an appeal to the DRC to be made in  
            writing to the BSIS within 30 days of the assessment of an  
            administrative fine or denial of a license.


          6)Requires that, following review of the appeal, the appellant  
            shall be notified in writing, by regular mail, within 30 days  
            of the committee's decision.


          7)Authorizes the appellant to request a formal administrative  
            hearing to appeal a DRC decision. A request for such a hearing  
            shall be made by written notice to the DCA within 30 days  
            following notice of the committee's decision.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown. This bill is keyed fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel. 


          COMMENTS


          1)Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by the California Association  
            of Licensed Investigators. According to the author, this bill  
            "would amend the Private Investigator Act in the Business and  
            Professions Code to require the establishment of a  








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            disciplinary review committee [DRC], to which a licensed  
            private investigator could voluntarily opt into, to contest  
            the assessment of an administrative fine or to appeal a denial  
            of a license."


            "This bill would save the [DCA] money, and would also save  
            licensees time and money if they chose to opt-in to the new  
            disciplinary review committee to resolve their situation."


          2)Background.  Current law provides for three DRCs within the  
            BSIS.  The Private Security Services Act establishes two DRCs,  
            one in Northern California and one in Southern California, and  
            the Alarm Company Act establishes one DRC. The DRCs provide  
            their respective applicants and licensees an alternate path to  
            consider appeals of the BSIS's decisions to deny, suspend, or  
            revoke licenses, or assessments of administrative fines. 


            The purpose of the DRC is to consider appeals from applicants  
            and licensees on the BSIS's


            decisions to issue a fine, or deny, suspend, or revoke a  
            license.  The scheduling of the DRC is dependent on the number  
            of appeals received; therefore, BSIS states is not feasible to  
            establish an annual calendar for DRC meetings. 


            The BSIS posts notices and agendas for its meetings of the  
            Private Security DRCs and Alarm Company DRC in accordance with  
            the noticing requirement prescribed by the Bagley-Keene Open  
            Meeting Act.  Currently, meeting notices and agendas remain on  
            the website indefinitely.  However, older information is  
            archived by year to ensure current information is accessible.   
            The BSIS does not post draft or final minutes for its DRC, or  
            webcast DRC meetings.









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            This bill seeks to establish a similar DRC for private  
            investigators.  However, this bill does not include language  
            permitting the appeal of a firearm permit.


            Private Security DRCs.  The two Private Security DRCs are each  
            comprised of five members.  The members are appointed by the  
            Governor and may be removed for misconduct, incompetency, or  
            neglect of duty.  Three members are industry representatives  
            and two are public members.  Of the three industry members,  
            one member must be actively engaged in business as a licensed  
            private patrol operator, one member must be actively engaged  
            in business as a firearm training facility, and one member  
            must be actively engaged as a security guard. 


            The Private Security DRCs are authorized to hear appeals  
            relating to the BSIS's denial, suspension, or revocation of a  
            license and the imposition of fines from: 


             a)   Security guard applicants and registrants; 


             b)   Private patrol operator applicants and licensees; 


             c)   Proprietary private security officer applicants and  
               registrants; 


             d)   Firearm training facilities; 


             e)   Instructor applicants and certificate holders; and, 


             f)   Baton training facilities, instructor applicants, and  








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               certificate holders. 


            Those who are authorized to obtain a BSIS-issued firearm  
            permit may also appeal the BSIS's denial or suspension of the  
            firearm permit to a DRC if the denial or suspension is not  
            attributable to a DOJ firearm prohibition.


            Alarm Company Operator DRC.  The Alarm Company Operator DRC  
            consists of three members who are actively engaged in business  
            as a licensed alarm company operator and two public members.  
            The members are appointed by the Governor and serve at the  
            Governor's pleasure. 


            The Alarm Company DRC is authorized to hear appeals relating  
            to the BSIS's application denials, license suspension, and the  
            imposition of fines from alarm company operator applicants and  
            licensees, alarm company operator qualified manager applicants  
            and certificate holders, and alarm agent applicants and  
            registrants.  These individuals may also appeal the BSIS's  
            denial or suspension of a BSIS-issued firearm permit to the  
            DRC if the denial or suspension is not attributable to a DOJ  
            firearm prohibition.


          3)DRC Process.  The Private Security Services Act and the Alarm  
            Company Operator Act have different processes.  For private  
            security, applicants and licensees have the option of filing  
            an appeal with the DRC or through the administrative hearing  
            process.  If the applicant or licensee requests the appeal to  
            be heard first by the DRC, the applicant or licensee may still  
            appeal a DRC decision through the administrative process.


            For alarm companies, applicants and licensees are required to  
            file their appeal with a DRC first, and then provide the  
            applicant or licensee the authority to appeal a DRC decision  








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            through the administrative process.


            When applicants and licensees file their appeals to a DRC,  
            BSIS staff schedule the appeal review for an upcoming meeting  
            and mail the respondent information about the meeting and what  
            to expect when attending the DRC meeting.


            Approximately two weeks before a scheduled DRC meeting, BSIS  
            staff provides each DRC member with a case file for each  
            appeal to be heard during the meeting.  Each file contains the  
            pertinent information the BSIS considered in reaching its  
            decision.  


            DRC meeting proceedings are carried out in accordance with the  
            committee's adopted Rules of Order.  During the hearing, the  
            applicant or licensee is afforded the opportunity to present  
            his or her case.  He or she may be represented by an attorney  
            and may bring witnesses as character references or observers  
            of the incident resulting in the BSIS's action.  DRC members  
            ask questions to clarify issues related to the case to obtain  
            the information needed to make a decision on the appeal.  The  
            average hearing time per person is 15-30 minutes.  


            The BSIS staff mail the applicant or licensee the DRC's  
            decision on their appeal within 30 days.


          4)DRC Statistics.  In March of this year, the Assembly Committee  
            on Business and Professions and the Senate Committee on  
            Business, Professions and Economic Development held a joint  
            sunset oversight hearing to review several of the boards and  
            bureaus under the DCA, including the BSIS. 


            In the BSIS's sunset report, it noted, "To maximize the  








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            efficiency of its disciplinary activities, the [BSIS] ensures  
            that those licensees eligible to have their appeals heard by a  
            Bureau [DRC] are properly notified of this option in a timely  
            manner.  Each year, approximately 900 [BSIS] licensees request  
            an appeal of their denials, suspensions, or imposition of  
            fines through DRC[s]."


            The BSIS notes that the number of pending appeal cases changes  
            depending on the fluctuating quantity of incoming appeal  
            requests from applicants and licensees.  It also states that  
            it has been able to address a high number of pending appeals  
            by scheduling two-day hearings and meeting monthly to  
            accommodate the number of appeals.  Once an appeal is received  
            by the BSIS, an appellant is generally scheduled for hearing  
            within 30 to 60 days. According to the BSIS, this approach has  
            resulted in no ongoing backlogs.


            In each of the last three FYs: 


             1)   The private security DRC held an average of 20 meetings  
               and had an average caseload of 35 appeals per meeting.  The  
               alarm DRC held an average of 3 meetings and had an average  
               caseload of 9 appeals per meeting.


             2)   The private security DRC overturned an average of 203  
               decisions and upheld an average of 345 decisions.  An  
               average of 505 appellants did not appear for their appeal  
               (skewed because in FY 2011 - 12 there were 607 no shows).   
               The alarm DRC overturned an average of 5 decisions and  
               upheld an average 7 decisions. An average of 10 appellants  
               did not appear. 


             3)   The private security DRC received an average of 12  
               citation and fine appeals. The alarm DRC received 1  








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               citation appeal (FY 2013 - 14). 


             4)   There were an average of 11 requests for formal  
               administrative appeals for citations and fines for all BSIS  
               professions. The BSIS also notes that, the overall average  
               time for cases to be considered through the administrative  
               hearing process is 290-300 days.


            By way of comparison, for private investigators, in each of  
            the last three FYs:


             a)   There were 8 citations and 0 appeals-an average of 3  
               citations and 0 appeals.


             b)   There 7 license denials and 1 appeal-an annual average  
               of 2 - 3 license denials and 0 - 1 appeal (which took 354  
               days).


            The number of BSIS licenses and permits at the time of the DCA  
            2015 snapshot:


             a)   Private security - 292,120.


             b)   Alarm Company - 24,625.


             c)   Private Investigators - 9981.


             d)   Total permits - 157,319.










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            Costs.  The annual costs of the DRC meetings are:


             a)   Southern California private security DRC (11 meetings) -  
               $27,820.32. 


             b)   Northern California private security DRC (10 meetings)  
               -$12,700.00. 


             c)   Alarm company DRC (4 meetings) - $7,978.69.


          1)Current Related Legislation. AB 281 (Gallagher) of the current  
            legislative session, would establish a DRC within the  
            Collateral Recovery Act for licensed repossessors. STATUS:  
            This bill is pending in the Assembly Committee on Business and  
            Professions.


          2)Prior Related Legislation. AB 409 (Yee) Chapter 381, Statutes  
            of 2006, provides a licensee under the Board of Barbering and  
            Cosmetology with appeal rights to the disciplinary review  
            committee established by the board and would require the board  
            to reinstate the license upon the licensee's completion of all  
            probationary terms and conditions.


          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT 


          The  California Association of Licensed Investigators  writes in  
          support, "This option could save the licensee time as the matter  
          could be resolved more quickly. This option could save the  
          Department of Consumer Affairs [DCA] time and expense as a DRC  
          decision accepted by the licensee would not proceed through the  
          more expensive adjudicatory route. A licensee who disagrees with  
          a DRC decision would be able to return to the current process.








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          At the recent Sunset Review Hearing of the Bureau of Security  
          and Investigative Services [BSIS] within DCA, conducted by this  
          committee together with the Senate Committee on Business,  
          Professions and Economic Development, BSIS noted the value of  
          the DRCs that currently exist for security guards and alarm  
          companies. For these reasons, CALI supports AB 921 and we look  
          forward to working with you to ensure its passage."


          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION


          None on file.


          SUGGESTED COMMITTEE AMENDMENT


          The process surrounding the review of a DRC decision overturning  
          a BSIS fine or denial is unclear.  The author may wish to amend  
          the bill to specify the details of this process.


          SUGGESTED TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS 


          On page 2, line 9, strike "of" and after "business" insert:


          or


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:


          Support









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          California Association of Licensed Investigators (sponsors)


          Opposition


          None on file.




          Analysis Prepared by:Vincent Chee / B. & P. / (916) 319-3301