Amended in Assembly January 25, 2016

Amended in Assembly January 11, 2016

Amended in Senate April 6, 2015

Senate BillNo. 269


Introduced by Senators Roth and Vidak

(Principal coauthor: Senator Galgiani)

(Coauthors: Senators Anderson, Moorlach,begin insert Morrell,end insert and Nielsen)

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Cooper,begin insert Eggman, Gray,end insert Linder,begin insert O’Donnellend insert and Olsen)

February 19, 2015


An act to amend Sections 55.53 and 55.56 of the Civil Code, and to amend Sections 4459.7, 4459.8, and 8299.06 of, to add Section 65941.6 to, and to add Article 4 (commencing with Section 65946) to Chapter 4.5 of Division 1 of Title 7 of, the Government Code, relating to disabilitybegin delete access. end deletebegin insert access, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.end insert

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 269, as amended, Roth. Disability access.

(1) Existing law prohibits discrimination on the basis of various specified personal characteristics, including disability. The Construction-Related Accessibility Standards Compliance Act establishes standards for making new construction and existing facilities accessible to persons with disabilities and provides for construction-related accessibility claims for violations of those standards. Existing law specifies that a violation of construction-related accessibility standards personally encountered by a plaintiff may be sufficient to cause a denial of full and equal access if the plaintiff experienced difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment because of the violation. Under existing law, a defendant is liable for actual damages plus minimum statutory damages for each instance of discrimination relating to a construction-related accessibility standard.

This billbegin delete wouldend deletebegin insert would, for claims filed on and after its effective date,end insert establish a rebuttable presumption, for the purpose of an award of minimum statutory damages, that certain technical violations do not cause a plaintiff to experience difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment, if specified conditions are met. This bill would also exempt a defendant from liability for minimum statutory damages with respect to a structure or area inspected by a certified access specialist for a period of 120 days if specified conditions are met. The bill would require a defendant who claims the benefit of this exemption to disclose the date and findings of any certified access specialist (CASp) inspection to the plaintiff.

(2) Existing law requires the State Architect to establish and publicize a program for the voluntary certification by the state of any person who meets specified criteria as a CASp. Existing law requires the State Architect to annually publish a list of CASps. Existing law requires each applicant for CASp certification or renewal to pay certain fees, and requires the State Architect to periodically review those fees, as specified. Existing law provides for the deposit of those fees into the Certified Access Specialist Fund, which is continuously appropriated for use by the State Architect to implement the CASp program.

This bill would additionally require the State Architect to publish, and regularly update, easily accessible lists of businesses that file prescribed notices of inspection, and businesses which have been inspected by a CASp on or after January 1, 2017, including the date of the inspection. The bill would require the State Architect to develop a process by which a small business may notify the State Architect that a structure or area has had a CASp inspection and to develop a form for businesses to notify the public that the business has obtained a CASp inspection. The bill would also require applicants for CASp certification or renewal to additionally provide to the State Architect the name of the city, county, or city and county in which the applicant intends to provide or has provided services, and would require the Division of the State Architect to post that information on its Internet Web site.

(3) Existing law establishes the California Commission on Disability Access for purposes of developing recommendations to enable persons with disabilities to exercise their right to full and equal access to public facilities and facilitating business compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Existing law sets forth the powers and duties of the commission, including developing educational materials and information for businesses, building owners, tenants, and building officials, posting that information on the commission’s Internet Web site, and coordinating with other state agencies and local building departments to ensure that information provided to the public on disability access requirements is uniform and complete.

This bill would additionally require the commission to provide a link on its Internet Web site to the Internet Web site of the Division of the State Architect’s CASp certification program, and make the commission’s educational materials and information available to other state agencies and local building departments.

(4) The Permit Streamlining Act establishes procedures for the application, and review of an application, for a development project. Existing law requires a public agency to notify applicants for development permits of specified information, including the time limits established for the review and approval of development permits.

This bill would additionally require local agencies to develop and provide to applicants materials relating to the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or to instead provide similar materials developed by the California Commission on Disability Access. The bill would require a local agency to notify an applicant that approval of a permit does not signify that the applicant has complied with that act. The bill would also require local agencies to expedite review of projects for which the applicant provides a copy of a disability access certificate, demonstrates that the project is necessary to address an alleged violation of a construction-related access standard or a violation noted in a CASp report, and, if project plans are necessary for approval, has had a CASp review the project plans for compliance with all applicable construction-related accessibility standards. The bill would declare that these provisions constitute a matter of statewide concern and would apply to charter cities and charter counties.

(5) By imposing additional duties on local agencies with respect to the receipt and review of applications for development project permits, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

begin insert

(6) This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

end insert

Vote: begin deletemajority end deletebegin insert23end insert. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P4    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 55.53 of the Civil Code is amended to
2read:

3

55.53.  

(a) For purposes of this part, a certified access specialist
4shall, upon completion of the inspection of a site, comply with the
5following:

6(1) For a meets applicable standards site, if the CASp determines
7the site meets all applicable construction-related accessibility
8standards, the CASp shall provide a written inspection report to
9the requesting party that includes both of the following:

10(A) An identification and description of the inspected structures
11and areas of the site.

12(B) A signed and dated statement that includes both of the
13following:

14(i) A statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected
15structures and areas of the site meet construction-related
16accessibility standards. The statement shall clearly indicate whether
17the determination of the CASp includes an assessment of readily
18achievable barrier removal.

19(ii) If corrections were made as a result of the CASp inspection,
20an itemized list of all corrections and dates of completion.

21(2) For an inspected by a CASp site, if the CASp determines
22that corrections are needed to the site in order for the site to meet
23all applicable construction-related accessibility standards, the
24CASp shall provide a signed and dated written inspection report
25to the requesting party that includes all of the following:

26(A) An identification and description of the inspected structures
27and areas of the site.

28(B) The date of the inspection.

29(C) A statement that, in the opinion of the CASp, the inspected
30structures and areas of the site need correction to meet
31construction-related accessibility standards. This statement shall
32clearly indicate whether the determination of the CASp includes
33an assessment of readily achievable barrier removal.

P5    1(D) An identification and description of the structures or areas
2of the site that need correction and the correction needed.

3(E) A schedule of completion for each of the corrections within
4a reasonable timeframe.

5(3) The CASp shall provide, within 30 days of the date of the
6inspection of a business that qualifies for the provisions of
7subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (g) of Section
855.56, a copy of a report prepared pursuant to that subparagraph
9to the business.

10(4) The CASp shall file, within 10 days of inspecting a business
11pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (g)
12of Section 55.56, a notice with the State Architect for listing on
13the State Architect’s Internet Web site, as provided by subdivision
14(d) of Section 4459.7 of the Government Code, indicating that the
15CASp has inspected the business, the name and address of the
16business, the date of the filing, the date of the inspection of the
17business, the name and license number of the CASp, and a
18description of the structure or area inspected by the CASp.

19(5) The CASp shall post the notice described in paragraph (4),
20in a form prescribed by the State Architect, in a conspicuous
21location within five feet of all public entrances to the building on
22the date of the inspection and instruct the business to keep it in
23place until the earlier of either of the following:

24(A) One hundred twenty days after the date of the inspection.

25(B) The date when all of the construction-related violations in
26the structure or area inspected by the CASp are corrected.

27(b) For purposes of this section, in determining whether the site
28meets applicable construction-related accessibility standards when
29there is a conflict or difference between a state and federal
30provision, standard, or regulation, the state provision, standard, or
31regulation shall apply unless the federal provision, standard, or
32regulation is more protective of accessibility rights.

33(c) Every CASp who conducts an inspection of a place of public
34accommodation shall, upon completing the inspection of the site,
35provide the building owner or tenant who requested the inspection
36with the following notice, which the State Architect shall make
37available as a form on the State Architect’s Internet Web site:

P6    1NOTICE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNER/TENANT:
2

3YOU ARE ADVISED TO KEEP IN YOUR RECORDS ANY
4WRITTEN INSPECTION REPORT AND ANY OTHER
5DOCUMENTATION CONCERNING YOUR PROPERTY SITE
6THAT IS GIVEN TO YOU BY A CERTIFIED ACCESS
7SPECIALIST.

8IF YOU BECOME A DEFENDANT IN A LAWSUIT THAT
9INCLUDES A CLAIM CONCERNING A SITE INSPECTED
10BY A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST, YOU MAY BE
11ENTITLED TO A COURT STAY (AN ORDER TEMPORARILY
12STOPPING ANY LAWSUIT) OF THE CLAIM AND AN EARLY
13EVALUATION CONFERENCE.

14IN ORDER TO REQUEST THE STAY AND EARLY
15EVALUATION CONFERENCE, YOU WILL NEED TO VERIFY
16THAT A CERTIFIED ACCESS SPECIALIST HAS INSPECTED
17THE SITE THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF THE CLAIM. YOU
18 WILL ALSO BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE THE COURT AND
19THE PLAINTIFF WITH THE COPY OF A WRITTEN
20INSPECTION REPORT BY THE CERTIFIED ACCESS
21SPECIALIST, AS SET FORTH IN CIVIL CODE SECTION
2255.54. THE APPLICATION FORM AND INFORMATION ON
23HOW TO REQUEST A STAY AND EARLY EVALUATION
24CONFERENCE MAY BE OBTAINED AT
25www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-start.htm.

26YOU ARE ENTITLED TO REQUEST, FROM A CERTIFIED
27ACCESS SPECIALIST WHO HAS CONDUCTED AN
28INSPECTION OF YOUR PROPERTY, A WRITTEN
29INSPECTION REPORT AND OTHER DOCUMENTATION AS
30SET FORTH IN CIVIL CODE SECTION 55.53. YOU ARE ALSO
31ENTITLED TO REQUEST THE ISSUANCE OF A DISABILITY
32ACCESS INSPECTION CERTIFICATE, WHICH YOU MAY
33POST ON YOUR PROPERTY.


35(d) (1) Commencing July 1, 2010, a local agency shall employ
36or retain at least one building inspector who is a certified access
37specialist. The certified access specialist shall provide consultation
38to the local agency, permit applicants, and members of the public
39on compliance with state construction-related accessibility
40standards with respect to inspections of a place of public
P7    1accommodation that relate to permitting, plan checks, or new
2construction, including, but not limited to, inspections relating to
3tenant improvements that may impact access. If a local agency
4employs or retains two or more certified access specialists to
5comply with this subdivision, at least one-half of the certified
6access specialists shall be building inspectors who are certified
7access specialists.

8(2) Commencing January 1, 2014, a local agency shall employ
9or retain a sufficient number of building inspectors who are
10certified access specialists to conduct permitting and plan check
11services to review for compliance with state construction-related
12accessibility standards by a place of public accommodation with
13respect to new construction, including, but not limited to, projects
14relating to tenant improvements that may impact access. If a local
15agency employs or retains two or more certified access specialists
16to comply with this subdivision, at least one-half of the certified
17access specialists shall be building inspectors who are certified
18access specialists.

19(3) If a permit applicant or member of the public requests
20consultation from a certified access specialist, the local agency
21may charge an amount limited to a reasonable hourly rate, an
22estimate of which shall be provided upon request in advance of
23the consultation. A local government may additionally charge or
24increase permitting, plan check, or inspection fees to the extent
25necessary to offset the costs of complying with this subdivision.
26Any revenues generated from an hourly or other charge or fee
27increase under this subdivision shall be used solely to offset the
28costs incurred to comply with this subdivision. A CASp inspection
29pursuant to subdivision (a) by a building inspector who is a
30certified access specialist shall be treated equally for legal and
31evidentiary purposes as an inspection conducted by a private CASp.
32Nothing in this subdivision shall preclude permit applicants or any
33other person with a legal interest in the property from retaining a
34private CASp at any time.

35(e) (1) Every CASp who completes an inspection of a place of
36public accommodation shall, upon a determination that the site
37meets applicable standards pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision
38(a) or is inspected by a CASp pursuant to paragraph (2) of
39subdivision (a), provide the building owner or tenant requesting
40the inspection with a numbered disability access inspection
P8    1certificate indicating that the site has undergone inspection by a
2certified access specialist. The disability access inspection
3certificate shall be dated and signed by the CASp inspector, and
4shall contain the inspector’s name and license number. Upon
5issuance of a certificate, the CASp shall record the issuance of the
6numbered certificate, the name and address of the recipient, and
7the type of report issued pursuant to subdivision (a) in a record
8book the CASp shall maintain for that purpose.

9(2) Beginning March 1, 2009, the State Architect shall make
10available for purchase by any local building department or CASp
11sequentially numbered disability access inspection certificates that
12are printed with a watermark or other feature to deter forgery and
13that comply with the information requirements specified in
14subdivision (a).

15(3) The disability access inspection certificate may be posted
16on the premises of the place of public accommodation, unless,
17following the date of inspection, the inspected site has been
18modified or construction has commenced to modify the inspected
19site in a way that may impact compliance with construction-related
20accessibility standards.

21(f) Nothing in this section or any other law is intended to require
22a property owner or tenant to hire a CASp. A property owner’s or
23tenant’s election not to hire a CASp shall not be admissible to
24prove that person’s lack of intent to comply with the law.

25

SEC. 2.  

Section 55.56 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

26

55.56.  

(a) Statutory damages under either subdivision (a) of
27Section 52 or subdivision (a) of Section 54.3 may be recovered in
28a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public
29accommodation only if a violation or violations of one or more
30construction-related accessibility standards denied the plaintiff
31full and equal access to the place of public accommodation on a
32particular occasion.

33(b) A plaintiff is denied full and equal access only if the plaintiff
34personally encountered the violation on a particular occasion, or
35the plaintiff was deterred from accessing a place of public
36accommodation on a particular occasion.

37(c) A violation personally encountered by a plaintiff may be
38 sufficient to cause a denial of full and equal access if the plaintiff
39experienced difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment because of
40the violation.

P9    1(d) A plaintiff demonstrates that he or she was deterred from
2accessing a place of public accommodation on a particular occasion
3only if both of the following apply:

4(1) The plaintiff had actual knowledge of a violation or
5violations that prevented or reasonably dissuaded the plaintiff from
6accessing a place of public accommodation that the plaintiff
7intended to use on a particular occasion.

8(2) The violation or violations would have actually denied the
9plaintiff full and equal access if the plaintiff had accessed the place
10of public accommodation on that particular occasion.

11(e) (1) The following technical violations are presumed to not
12cause a person difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment for the
13purpose of an award of minimum statutory damages in a
14construction-related accessibility claim, as set forth in subdivision
15(c), where the defendant is a small business, as described by
16subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (g), the defendant
17has corrected, within 15 days of the service of a summons and
18complaint asserting a construction-related accessibility claim or
19receipt of a written notice, whichever is earlier, all of the technical
20violations that are the basis of the claim, and the claim is based on
21one or more of the following violations:

22(A) Interior signs, other than directional signs or signs that
23identify the location of accessible elements, facilities, or features,
24when not all such elements, facilities, or features are accessible.

25(B) The lack of exterior signs, other than parking signs and
26directional signs, including signs that indicate the location of
27accessible pathways or entrance and exit doors when not all
28pathways, entrance and exit doors are accessible.

29(C) The order in which parking signs are placed or the exact
30location or wording of parking signs, provided that the parking
31signs are clearly visible and indicate the location of accessible
32parking and van-accessible parking.

33(D) The color of parking signs, provided that the color of the
34background contrasts with the color of the information on the sign.

35(E) The color of parking lot striping, provided that it exists and
36provides sufficient contrast with the surface upon which it is
37applied to be reasonably visible.

38(F) Faded, chipped, damaged, or deteriorated paint in otherwise
39fully compliant parking spaces and passenger access aisles in
40parking lots, provided that it indicates the required dimensions of
P10   1a parking space or access aisle in a manner that is reasonably
2visible.

3(G) The presence or condition of detectable warning surfaces
4on ramps, except where the ramp is part of a pedestrian path of
5travel that intersects with a vehicular lane or other hazardous area.

6(2) The presumption set forth in paragraph (1) affects the
7plaintiff’s burden of proof and is rebuttable by evidence showing,
8by a preponderance of the evidence, that the plaintiff did, in fact,
9experience difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment on the
10particular occasion as a result of one or more of the technical
11violations listed in paragraph (1).

begin insert

12(3) This subdivision shall apply only to claims filed on or after
13the effective date of SB 269 of the 2015-16 Regular Session.

end insert

14(f) Statutory damages may be assessed pursuant to subdivision
15(a) based on each particular occasion that the plaintiff was denied
16full and equal access, and not upon the number of violations of
17construction-related accessibility standards identified at the place
18of public accommodation where the denial of full and equal access
19occurred. If the place of public accommodation consists of distinct
20facilities that offer distinct services, statutory damages may be
21assessed based on each denial of full and equal access to the distinct
22facility, and not upon the number of violations of
23construction-related accessibility standards identified at the place
24of public accommodation where the denial of full and equal access
25occurred.

26(g) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, a defendant’s liability
27for statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim
28against a place of public accommodation is reduced to a minimum
29of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense if the defendant
30demonstrates that it has corrected all construction-related violations
31that are the basis of a claim within 60 days of being served with
32the complaint, and the defendant demonstrates any of the following:

33(A) The structure or area of the alleged violation was determined
34to be “CASp-inspected” or “meets applicable standards” and, to
35the best of the defendant’s knowledge, there were no modifications
36or alterations that impacted compliance with construction-related
37accessibility standards with respect to the plaintiff’s claim that
38were completed or commenced between the date of that
39determination and the particular occasion on which the plaintiff
40was allegedly denied full and equal access.

P11   1(B) The structure or area of the alleged violation was the subject
2of an inspection report indicating “CASp determination pending”
3or “Inspected by a CASp,” and the defendant has either
4implemented reasonable measures to correct the alleged violation
5before the particular occasion on which the plaintiff was allegedly
6denied full and equal access, or the defendant was in the process
7of correcting the alleged violation within a reasonable time and
8manner before the particular occasion on which the plaintiff was
9allegedly denied full and equal access.

10(C) For a claim alleging a construction-related accessibility
11violation filed before January 1, 2018, the structure or area of the
12alleged violation was a new construction or an improvement that
13was approved by, and passed inspection by, the local building
14department permit and inspection process on or after January 1,
152008, and before January 1, 2016, and, to the best of the
16defendant’s knowledge, there were no modifications or alterations
17that impacted compliance with respect to the plaintiff’s claim that
18were completed or commenced between the completion date of
19the new construction or improvement and the particular occasion
20on which the plaintiff was allegedly denied full and equal access.

21(D) The structure or area of the alleged violation was new
22construction or an improvement that was approved by, and passed
23inspection by, a local building department official who is a certified
24access specialist, and, to the best of the defendant’s knowledge,
25there were no modifications or alterations that affected compliance
26with respect to the plaintiff’s claim that were completed or
27commenced between the completion date of the new construction
28or improvement and the particular occasion on which the plaintiff
29was allegedly denied full and equal access.

30(2) Notwithstanding any other law, a defendant’s liability for
31statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim
32against a place of public accommodation is reduced to a minimum
33of two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each offense if the defendant
34demonstrates both of the following:

35(A) The defendant has corrected all construction-related
36violations that are the basis of a claim within 30 days of being
37served with the complaint.

38(B) The defendant is a small business that has employed 25 or
39fewer employees on average over the past three years, or for the
40years it has been in existence if less than three years, as evidenced
P12   1by wage report forms filed with the Economic Development
2Department, and has average annual gross receipts of less than
3three million five hundred thousand dollars ($3,500,000) over the
4previous three years, or for the years it has been in existence if
5less than three years, as evidenced by federal or state income tax
6returns. The average annual gross receipts dollar amount shall be
7adjusted biannually by the Department of General Services for
8changes in the California Consumer Price Index for All Urban
9Consumers, as compiled by the Department of Industrial Relations.
10The Department of General Services shall post that adjusted
11 amount on its Internet Web site.

12(3) (A) Notwithstanding any other law, a defendant shall not
13be liable for minimum statutory damages in a construction-related
14accessibility claim, with respect to a violation noted in a report by
15a certified access specialist (CASp), for a period of 120 days
16following the date of the inspection if the defendant demonstrates
17compliance with each of the following:

18(i) The defendant is a businessbegin delete thatend deletebegin insert that, as of the date of
19inspection,end insert
has employed 50 or fewer employees on average over
20the past three years, or for the years it has been in existence if less
21than three years, as evidenced by wage report forms filed with the
22Employment Development Department.

23(ii) The structure or area of the alleged violation was the subject
24of an inspection report indicating “CASp determination pending”
25or “Inspected by a CASp.”

26(iii) The inspection predates the filing of the claim by, or receipt
27of a demand letter from, the plaintiff regarding the alleged violation
28of a construction-related accessibility standard, and the defendant
29was not on notice of the alleged violation prior to the CASp
30inspection.

31(iv) The defendant has corrected, within 120 days of the date
32of the inspection, all construction-related violations in the structure
33or area inspected by the CASp that are noted in the CASp report
34that are the basis of the claim.

35(B) Notwithstanding any other law, a defendant who claims the
36benefit of the reduction of, or protection from liability for,
37minimum statutory damages under this subdivision shall disclose
38the date and findings of any CASp inspection to a plaintiff if
39relevant to a claim or defense in an action.

P13   1(4) A defendant may claim the protection from liability for
2minimum statutory damages under paragraph (3) only once for
3each structure or area inspected by a CASp, unless the inspected
4structure or area has undergone modifications or alterations that
5affect the compliance with construction-related accessibility
6standards of those structures or areas after the date of the last
7inspection, and the defendant obtains an additional CASp
8inspection within 30 days of final approval by the building
9department or certificate of occupancy, as appropriate, regarding
10the modification or alterations.

11(5) If the defendant has failed to correct, within 120 days of the
12date of the inspection, all construction-related violations in the
13structure or area inspected by the CASp that are noted in the CASp
14report, the defendant shall not receive any protection from liability
15for minimum statutory damages pursuant to paragraph (3), unless
16a building permit is required for the repairs which cannot
17reasonably be completed by the defendant within 120 days and
18the defendant is in the process of correcting the violations noted
19in the CASp report, as evidenced by having, at least, an active
20building permit necessary for the repairs to correct the violation
21that was noted, but not corrected, in the CASp report and all of
22the repairs are completed within 180 days of the date of the
23inspection.

24(6) This subdivision shall not be applicable to intentional
25violations.

26(7) Nothing in this subdivision affects the awarding of actual
27damages, or affects the awarding of treble actual damages.

28(8) This subdivision shall apply only to claims filed on or after
29the effective date of Chapter 383 of the Statutes of 2012, except
30for paragraphs (3), (4), and (5), which shall apply only to claims
31filed on or afterbegin delete January 1, 2017.end deletebegin insert the effective date of SB 269 of
32the 2015-end insert
begin insert16 Regular Session.end insert Nothing in this subdivision is
33intended to affect a complaint filed before those dates, as
34applicable.

35(h) This section does not alter the applicable law for the
36awarding of injunctive or other equitable relief for a violation or
37violations of one or more construction-related accessibility
38standards, nor alter any legal obligation of a party to mitigate
39damages.

P14   1(i) In assessing liability under subdivision (d), in an action
2 alleging multiple claims for the same construction-related
3accessibility violation on different particular occasions, the court
4shall consider the reasonableness of the plaintiff’s conduct in light
5of the plaintiff’s obligation, if any, to mitigate damages.

6(j) For purposes of this section, the “structure or area inspected”
7means one of the following: the interior of the premises, the
8exterior of the premises, or both the interior and exterior.

9

SEC. 3.  

Section 4459.7 of the Government Code is amended
10to read:

11

4459.7.  

(a) (1) No later than October 31 of each year, the
12State Architect shall publish and make available to the public a
13list of certified access specialists who have met the requirements
14of Section 4459.5.

15(2) The State Architect shall publish and regularly update on
16its Internet Web site easily accessible lists of all of the following:

17(A) Businesses that have obtained a CASp inspection and have
18filed, or a CASp has filed on their behalf, a notice pursuant to
19paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 55.53 of the Civil Code.

20(B) Businesses which have been inspected by a certified access
21specialist on or after January 1, 2017, including the date of the
22inspection.

23(3) The lists required pursuant to this section shall include a
24written disclaimer of liability as specified in subdivision (b).

25(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a state agency
26or employee of a state agency may not be held liable for any injury
27or damages resulting from any service provided by a certified
28access specialist whose name appears on the list published pursuant
29to subdivision (a).

30(c) The State Architect may perform periodic audits of work
31performed by a certified access specialist as deemed necessary to
32ensure the desired standard of performance. A certified access
33specialist shall provide an authorized representative of the State
34Architect with complete access, at any reasonable hour of the day,
35to all technical data, reports, records, photographs, design outlines
36and plans, and files used in building inspection and plan review,
37with the exception of proprietary and confidential information.

38(d) By January 1, 2017, the State Architect shall develop a
39process by which a certified access specialist (CASp) may notify
40the State Architect that a structure or area on the premises of a
P15   1business has been inspected by a CASp and to notify the public
2that the business has a “CASp determination pending,” or has been
3“Inspected by a CASp,” as provided by paragraph (3) of
4subdivision (g) of Section 55.56 of the Civil Code, which shall
5include the name and address of the business, the date of the
6notification, the date of the inspection of the business, the name
7and license number of the CASp, and a description of the structure
8or area inspected by a CASp.

9(e) By January 1, 2017, the State Architect shall develop a form
10for a business to notify the public that the business has obtained a
11CASp inspection pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (g) of
12Section 55.56 of the Civil Code, which shall include the date of
13the notification, the date of the inspection, and a description of the
14structure or area inspected by a CASp.

15(f) For purposes of this section, the “structure or area inspected”
16means one of the following: the interior of the premises, the
17exterior of the premises, or both the interior and exterior.

18

SEC. 4.  

Section 4459.8 of the Government Code is amended
19to read:

20

4459.8.  

(a) The certification authorized by Section 4459.5 is
21effective for three years from the date of initial certification and
22expires if not renewed. The State Architect, upon consideration of
23any factual complaints regarding the work of a certified access
24specialist or of other relevant information, may suspend
25certification or deny renewal of certification.

26(b) (1) The State Architect shall require each applicant for
27certification as a certified access specialist to do both of the
28following:

29(A) Pay fees, including an application and course fee and an
30examination fee, at a level sufficient to meet the costs of application
31processing, registration, publishing a list, and other activities that
32are reasonably necessary to implement and administer the certified
33access specialist program.

34(B) Provide to the State Architect the name of the city, county,
35or city and county in which the applicant intends to provide
36services.

37(2) The State Architect shall require each applicant for renewal
38of certification to do both of the following:

39(A) Pay a fee sufficient to cover the reasonable costs of
40reassessing qualifications of renewal applicants.

P16   1(B) Provide to the State Architect the name of the city, county,
2or city and county in which the applicant has provided services
3since the last day of certification by the State Architect.

4(3) The State Architect shall periodically review his or her
5schedule of fees to ensure that the fees for certification are not
6excessive while covering the costs to administer the certified access
7specialist program. The application fee for a California licensed
8architect, landscape architect, civil engineer, or structural engineer
9shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

10(c) All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited
11into the Certified Access Specialist Fund, which is hereby created
12in the State Treasury. Notwithstanding Section 13340, this fund
13is continuously appropriated without regard to fiscal years for use
14by the State Architect to implement Sections 4459.5 to 4459.8,
15inclusive.

16(d) The State Architect shall post on his or her Internet Web
17site the name of the city, county, or city and county in which each
18certified access specialist provides or intends to provide services.

19

SEC. 5.  

Section 8299.06 of the Government Code is amended
20to read:

21

8299.06.  

(a) A priority of the commission shall be the
22development and dissemination of educational materials and
23information to promote and facilitate disability access compliance.

24(b) The commission shall work with other state agencies,
25including the Division of the State Architect and the Department
26of Rehabilitation, to develop educational materials and information
27for use by businesses to understand its obligations to provide
28disability access and to facilitate compliance with
29construction-related accessibility standards.

30(c) The commission shall develop and make available on its
31Internet Web site, or make available on its Internet Web site if
32developed by another governmental agency, including Americans
33with Disabilities Act centers, toolkits or educational modules to
34assist a California business to understand its obligations under the
35law and to facilitate compliance with respect to the top 10 alleged
36construction-related violations, by type, as specified in subdivision
37(a) of Section 8299.08. Upon completion of this requirement, the
38commission shall develop and make available on its Internet Web
39site, or work with another agency to develop, other toolkits or
40educational modules that would educate businesses of the
P17   1accessibility requirements and to facilitate compliance with that
2requirement.

3(d) The commission shall post the following on its Internet Web
4 site:

5(1) Educational materials and information that will assist
6building owners, tenants, building officials, and building inspectors
7to understand the disability accessibility requirements and to
8facilitate compliance with disability access laws. The commission
9shall at least annually review the educational materials and
10information on disability access requirements and compliance
11available on the Internet Web site of other local, state, or federal
12agencies, including Americans with Disabilities Act centers, to
13augment the educational materials and information developed by
14the commission.

15(2) A link to the Internet Web site of the Division of the State
16Architect’s certified access specialist (CASp) program to assist
17building owners and tenants in locating or hiring a CASp.

18(e) The commission shall, to the extent feasible, coordinate with
19other state agencies and local building departments to ensure that
20information provided to the public on disability access requirements
21is uniform and complete, and make its educational materials and
22information available to those agencies and departments.

23

SEC. 6.  

Section 65941.6 is added to the Government Code, to
24read:

25

65941.6.  

(a) Each local agency shall develop materials relating
26to the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act
27of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.). The local agency shall
28provide these materials to an applicant along with notice that
29approval of a permit does not signify that the applicant has
30complied with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

31(b) For the purposes of complying with the requirements of
32subdivision (a), a local agency may, in lieu of developing its own
33materials, provide applicants with those materials which the
34California Commission on Disability Access has developed and
35made available pursuant to Section 8299.06.

36

SEC. 7.  

Article 4 (commencing with Section 65946) is added
37to Chapter 4.5 of Division 1 of Title 7 of the Government Code,
38to read:

 

P18   1Article 4.  Expedited Review
2

 

3

65946.  

(a) For the purposes of this section, the following
4definitions shall apply:

5(1) “Certified access specialist” or “CASp” means any person
6who has been certified pursuant to Section 4459.5.

7(2) “Construction-related accessibility standard” means a
8provision, standard, or regulation under state or federal law
9requiring compliance with standards for making new construction
10and existing facilities accessible to persons with disabilities,
11including, but not limited to, any provision, standard, or regulation
12set forth in Section 51, 54, 54.1, or 55 of the Civil Code, Section
1319955.5 of the Health and Safety Code, the California Building
14Standards Code (Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations),
15the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law
16101-336; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), and the federal Americans
17with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (Appendix A to Part
1836 of Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

19(3) “Written inspection report” means the CASp report required
20to be provided pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 55.53 of the
21Civil Code.

22(b) A local agency shall expedite review of a project application
23if the project applicant meets all of the following conditions:

24(1) The applicant provides a copy of a disability access
25inspection certificate, provided by a CASp pursuant to subdivision
26(e) of Section 55.53 of the Civil Code, pertaining to the site of the
27proposed project.

28(2) The applicant demonstrates that the proposed project is
29necessary to address either an alleged violation of a
30construction-related accessibility standard or a violation noted in
31a written inspection report.

32(3) If project plans are necessary for the approval of a project,
33the applicant has had a CASp review the project plans for
34compliance with all applicable construction-related accessibility
35standards.

36

SEC. 8.  

The Legislature finds and declares that Sections 6 and
377 of this act, pertaining to the review and approval of development
38permit applications, constitute matters of statewide concern, and
39shall apply to charter cities and charter counties. These sections
P19   1shall supersede any inconsistent provisions in the charter of any
2city, county, or city and county.

3

SEC. 9.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
4Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for certain
5costs because a local agency or school district has the authority to
6levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the
7program or level of service mandated by this act, within the
8meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.

9begin insert

begin insertSEC. 10.end insert  

end insert
begin insert

This act is an urgency statute necessary for the
10immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within
11the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into
12immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

end insert
begin insert

13Recent data from the California Commission on Disability Access
14indicates that a handful of highly litigious plaintiffs and attorneys
15have targeted small businesses in the state, especially those without
16financial resources or sophistication, with lawsuits alleging
17violations of construction-related accessibility standards. The
18lawsuits appear to be motivated by a desire to obtain quick cash
19settlements with the businesses, rather than to improve access to
20public accommodations. As a result, small businesses are justifiably
21anxious about being sued, while disabled consumers are viewed
22with blame and suspicion, even though they have a right to full
23and equal access and should be able to expect all public
24accommodations to comply with the 25-year-old requirements of
25the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is necessary that this act
26go into immediate effect to ensure that small businesses have the
27information and resources they need in order to bring their
28properties into compliance with construction-related accessibility
29standards. It is also necessary that this act go into immediate effect
30to increase compliance with those standards for the benefit of the
31public, especially disabled consumers who have the right to go
32about their daily lives without difficulty, discomfort, or
33embarrassment, and with the basic dignity that comes from having
34the same access to public accommodations that nondisabled
35persons enjoy.

end insert


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