BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     SB 541

                                                                    Page  1


          541 (Hill)

          As Amended  September 3, 2015

          Majority vote

          SENATE VOTE:  40-0

          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                   |Noes                 |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |Utilities       |14-0 |Rendon, Patterson,     |                     |
          |                |     |Achadjian, Bonilla,    |                     |
          |                |     |Burke, Dahle, Eggman,  |                     |
          |                |     |Cristina Garcia,       |                     |
          |                |     |Hadley, Obernolte,     |                     |
          |                |     |Quirk, Santiago, Ting, |                     |
          |                |     |Williams               |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |Public Safety   |7-0  |Quirk, Melendez,       |                     |
          |                |     |Jones-Sawyer, Lackey,  |                     |
          |                |     |Lopez, Low, Santiago   |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |Appropriations  |17-0 |Gomez, Bigelow, Bloom, |                     |
          |                |     |Bonta, Calderon,       |                     |
          |                |     |Chang, Nazarian,       |                     |


                                                                     SB 541

                                                                    Page  2

          |                |     |Eggman, Gallagher,     |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |                |     |Eduardo Garcia,        |                     |
          |                |     |Holden, Jones, Quirk,  |                     |
          |                |     |Rendon, Wagner, Weber, |                     |
          |                |     |Wood                   |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |
          |                |     |                       |                     |

          SUMMARY:  This bill codifies the State Auditor report's  
          recommendations on strengthening the California Public Utilities  
          Commission's (CPUC) oversight of transportation-related  
          activities of household goods carriers and charter party  
          carriers (CPC).  Specifically, this bill:

          1)Directs the CPUC to coordinate enforcement with peace  
            officers, as specified.

          2)Authorizes the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a  
            city attorney to prosecute actions or proceedings for the  
            violation of any law committed in connection with a  
            transaction involving the transportation of household goods  
            and personal effects.

          3)Requires the CPUC to establish specified goals related to its  
            existing authority to provide oversight and regulation of  
            transportation-related activities of household goods carriers  
            and CPCs, and passenger stage corporations (PSC).

          4)Requires the CPUC to hire an independent entity for no more  
            than $250,000 to, in consultation with carrier trade  
            associations, assess its capabilities to carry out the  


                                                                     SB 541

                                                                    Page  3

            activities specified in the goals, and submit a report to the  
            Legislature by January 1, 2017, with an analysis of current  
            capabilities and deficiencies, and recommendations to overcome  
            any deficiencies identified.

          5)Allows peace officers to impound a bus or limousine of a CPC  
            or PSC for 30 days if the officer determines that specified  
            violations occurred while the driver was operating the vehicle  
            of the charter party carrier:

          6)Clarifies that impoundment provisions do not apply to  
            privately-owned, personal vehicles, or to charter party  
            carriers that are not required to carry individual permits.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, this bill would have an increased one-time cost of  
          approximately $250,000 for the CPUC to assess the transportation  
          program and submit an evaluation report to the Legislature. 


          1)Author's Statement:  "In a 2014 report, the California State  
            Auditor concluded that the CPUC Transportation Enforcement  
            Branch does not provide sufficient oversight of [CPCs] and  
            [PSCs] to ensure consumer safety ? SB 541 improves the  
            functions of the Transportation Enforcement Branch at the CPUC  
            to improve customer service and enforcement against illegally  
            operating [CPCs], [PSCs], and moving companies." 
          2)Background:  California law regulates different modes of  
            passenger transportation for compensation, including taxi  
            services, which are regulated by cities and/or counties, as  
            well as CPCs and PSCs, which are regulated by the CPUC.  The  
            division within the CPUC responsible to ensure that services  
            are delivered in a safe and reliable manner is the Safety and  


                                                                     SB 541

                                                                    Page  4

            Enforcement Division.  The Division is responsible for safety  
            oversight in specific industries, including electric, natural  
            gas, and telecommunications infrastructure; railroads, rail  
            crossings, and light rail transit systems; passenger carriers  
            and ferries; and household goods carriers. 

            The Division is funded through a fee assessed on various types  
            of state-regulated vehicles, including passenger carriers.   
            The CPUC collects these fees from operators and deposits them  
            in the Transportation Reimbursement Account.  The CPUC has set  
            the fee for passenger carriers that seat no more than 15  
            persons at 1/3 of 1% of their annual gross revenue, plus a $10  
            quarterly fee or a $25 annual fee.  The CPUC is allowed to  
            maintain an appropriate reserve in the account based on past  
            and projected operating experiences. 

          3)State Auditor Report:  In June 2014, the California State  
            Auditor released a report examining the efforts of the CPUC's  
            Transportation Enforcement Branch (within the Safety and  
            Enforcement Division) to regulate passenger carriers and its  
            use of fees collected from carriers.  The report found that  
            the branch did not provide sufficient oversight of CPCs and  
            PSCs to ensure consumer safety, and made a number of  
            recommendations to address the problems.  
            This bill codifies these recommendations by requiring the CPUC  
            to establish specific goals and to assess, in consultation  
            with carrier trade associations, its capabilities to achieve  
            such goals, and report to the Legislature with an analysis of  
            current capabilities and deficiencies, and recommendations to  
            overcome any deficiencies identified by January 1, 2017.

            To improve enforcement of the branch, the bill authorizes  
            peace officers, as defined, to help in the enforcement of  
            transportation-related services, as specified.  The CPUC would  
            coordinate efforts with peace officers through educational  
            outreach and establishing lines of communication.


                                                                     SB 541

                                                                    Page  5

          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Edmond Cheung / U. & C. / (916) 319-2083  FN: