Contractor License Law Update 2020

License law may be printed black and white in the rule books, but it lives and evolves with every day and that’s why it is a never-ending learning curve for

contractors. It’s what makes my years of daily practice working with them an expert opinion you can count on when you need it as contractors have for more than 30 years…

Three months into the new year, I wanted to devote this column to the new 2020 Contracting Laws that are now in effect.  These new laws may change the way you do business!

*Senate Bill (SB) 601 (Ch. 854, Stats. of 2019): added section 11009.5 to the Government Code, which authorizes specified state agencies to establish a process for a person or business either displaced or experiencing economic hardship as a result of an emergency to apply for a fee reduction or waiver required to obtain a license, renew or activate a license, or replace a physical license for display. 

*( SB 610 (Ch. 378, Stats. of 2019): extends CSLB’s sunset date (which is an overall review of the CSLB’s activities) from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2024. Prior to that time, CSLB operations will again be reviewed by the Legislature and a new sunset date considered. (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 7000.5.) The bill also requires CSLB to conduct a study on whether the current contractor bond amount is sufficient and report the findings to the Legislature by January 1, 2021. (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 7071.6.) 

The bill also requires CSLB to charge “C-10” (Electrical) contractors a $20 fee to enforce electrician certification requirements and authorizes CSLB to automatically suspend a contractor’s license for an unsatisfied construction-related judgment entered against a member of the personnel of record of a license. (Bus. & Prof. Code, §§ 7071.17, 7137.) 

*Assembly Bill (AB) 1076 (Ch. 578, Stats. of 2019): requires that the Department of Justice, on a monthly basis, to review the records in the statewide criminal justice databases and identify those eligible for relief by not disclosing their arrest or conviction records, as specified. (Penal Code, §§ 851.93., 1203.425.) 
This bill’s provisions do not apply to offenses requiring sex offender registration or to any pending criminal charges. The bill extends its requirements to the criminal information provided by the department to other entities for employment, licensing, or certification. 

*AB 1296 (Ch. 626, Stats. of 2019): added section 15925 to the Government Code and provides additional tools to agencies participating in the Joint Enforcement Strike Force (JESF) on the Underground Economy. CSLB is a member of the JESF. 

This bill adds the Department of Justice, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and the Franchise Tax Board to the JESF, and authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles and California Highway Patrol and other agencies to serve the JESF in an advisory capacity.

Finally, the bill authorizes JESF representatives to exchange intelligence, data, documents, confidential information, or lead referrals and authorizes sharing such information with the Labor Enforcement Task Force. 

*AB 1475 (Ch. 289, Stats. of 2019): amended sections 6702 and 6971 of the Public Contract Code to clarify that a construction manager on California Department of Transportation projects be a licensed contractor pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code.