BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 2873 (Thurmond) - Certified access specialists
          
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          |Version: August 1, 2016         |Policy Vote: JUD. 5 - 2         |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: August 11, 2016   |Consultant: Jolie Onodera       |
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          *********** ANALYSIS ADDENDUM - SUSPENSE FILE ***********
             The following information is revised to reflect amendments 
                     adopted by the committee on August 11, 2016






          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 2873 would impose the following requirements on  
          local agencies:
           Commencing January 1, 2021, requires all building inspectors  
            employed or retained by a local agency who conduct permitting  
            and plan check services to review for compliance with state  
            construction-related accessibility standards by a place of  
            public accommodation with respect to new construction or  
            renovation to be certified access specialists (CASps), as  
            specified.








          AB 2873 (Thurmond)                                     Page 1 of  
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           Requires all new employees employed or retained by a local  
            agency on or after January 1, 2018, who will conduct  
            permitting and plan check services to review for compliance  
            with state construction-related accessibility standards by a  
            place of public accommodation to be CASps within 24 months of  
            their initial date of employment.


           Commencing January 1, 2017, increases the existing $1 fee  
            attached to an application for a local business license to $4,  
            and extends the current sunset on the fee authority for one  
            year to December 31, 2019. Reduces the proportion of fee  
            revenue to the Division of the State Architect (DSA) from 30  
            percent to 10 percent of collections.


           From January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2019, in any city,  
            county, or city and county that does not issue business  
            licenses, requires any applicant for a building permit to pay  
            an additional fee of $4 for that permit, as specified.




          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
            CASp mandate  :  Potential major increase in future ongoing  
            local agency costs in the millions of dollars related to the  
            imposition of CASp certification for all applicable building  
            inspectors and new/retained employees within specified  
            timeframes, potentially state-reimbursable if not fully  
            covered by the short-term fee increase and the ongoing fee  
            authority. To the extent the bill creates a higher level of  
            service on local agencies due to mandating CASp-certification  
            for all building inspectors and new/retained employees, local  
            agencies could claim reimbursement for those increased costs  
            not covered by fees. At an average cost of $4,500 for CASp  
            certification, certification costs for every 1,000 new CASps  
            would cost $4.5 million. These costs do not reflect the larger  
            impact associated with ongoing compensation for more highly  
            trained personnel.
            State fee revenue  :  Short-term net increase in fee revenues of  
            about $200,000 (Special Fund*) to the DSA through 2019, due to  








          AB 2873 (Thurmond)                                     Page 2 of  
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            the fee increase from $1 to $4 on business license  
            applications which is partially offset by the reduced  
            proportion (from 30 percent to 10 percent) of fee revenue to  
            DSA. The amount of fee revenue generated by the new $4 fee  
            imposed on building permits in local jurisdictions that do not  
            issue business licenses is unknown, but not anticipated to be  
            significant. 
            Local fee revenue  :  Short-term net increase in fee revenues  
            (Local Funds) of $6 million through 2019 due to the fee  
            increase from $1 to $4 on business license applications and  
            the increased share from 70 percent to 90 percent of total  
            fees collected. Additional fee revenues due to the new $4 fee  
            imposed on building permits of an unknown, but potentially  
            significant amount.
            DSA administrative costs  : One-time costs ranging from $750,000  
            to $1 million (Special Fund**) to (1) upgrade its existing  
            database system to accommodate the significant expansion of  
            the program, and, (2) revise and transition the CASp exam to  
            an electronic-based format. Additionally, ongoing resource  
            costs of $230,000 (Special Fund**) to manage administration of  
            the examination and certification renewals for the larger  
            program. The current fees for CASp examinations and renewals  
            are estimated to maintain cost-neutrality for the ongoing  
            costs of the program. 

          *Disability Access and Education Revolving Fund 

          **Certified Access Specialist (CASp) Fund - staff notes the CASp  
          Fund has experienced a slowly growing reserve balance over the  
          past three years, with a projected balance of $1.7 million  
          ending FY 2016-17, due to the CASp program operating on a  
          largely cost-neutral basis. However, the potentially significant  
          expansion of the program will likely necessitate budget  
          authority to invest additional funds on a one-time basis to  
          accommodate the changes needed to address the influx of  
          applicants necessitated by the mandate for CASp certification.




          Author  
          Amendments:  
                 Remove the minimum criteria that specified familiarity  
               with the applicability and content of various accessibility  








          AB 2873 (Thurmond)                                     Page 3 of  
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               requirements, including but not limited to the federal  
               requirements described in subdivision (c) of Section 4459  
               and the state standards established in Chapter 11A  
               (commencing with line 21 Section 1101A) and Chapter 11B  
               (commencing with Section line 22 11B-101) of Title 24 of  
               the California Code of Regulations. 
                 Remove the sunset date on fee authority, effective  
               January 1, 2020, and extends the $1 fee on local business  
               licenses, or $1 fee on building permits in jurisdictions  
               that do not issue business licenses, as specified, thereby  
               authorizing the fees in perpetuity. Reverts the DSA and  
               local entity share of fee revenues effective January 1,  
               2020, to 30 percent and 70 percent, respectively.  


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