Legislative Updates

June 5, 2019 Legislative Update from AEG’s Legislative Representative GV Ayers. Please contact Mbeswick@kleinfelder.com with any questions or comment below.

Attached is the legislative tracking report.  Friday, May 31 was the deadline for bills to pass out of the house in which they were introduced – termed the House of Origin Deadline.  Bills which do not meet that deadline become 2-Year Bills, and cannot be taken up until 2020.

Only one bill being tracked did not meet that deadline:  AB 626 (Quirk-Silva) relating to conflicts of interests for design professionals (including geologists) involving public contracts.  This bill was placed on the Assembly’s Inactive file at the request of the Author.

Please take a look at the following four bills.  AEG may wish to weigh in on the policies in these bills.

AB 1522 (Assembly Committee on Business & Professions) This is the Sunset extension for the BPELGS.  Currently the bill simply extends the sunset date until January 1, 2024.  This is the bill in which changes coming out of the Sunset Review of the Board would be made.  The amendments have not been made yet, but must be made soon.  My discussions with Committee staff do not indicate that there will be any significant changes related to geology practice.  There is no indication that there will be any threats to geology or geophysics licensure.

SB 556 (Pan) Professional Land Surveyors and Engineers.  Revises the land surveyor and civil engineering practices.  I would suggest that AEG review the changes for any impact to the geologists scope of practice.  Some of the revisions refer to works below the surface of the earth.  In particular, the bill defines “remote sensing” under the practice of engineering and land surveying to mean “the detecting, collection, processing and analysis of physical objects regarding the location or dimensions of a location or object, or otherwise using various acquisition methods intended to or resulting in the determination of the configuration or contour of the earth’s surface or the position of fixed objects above, on or below the surface of the earth.  You may wish to review to see if there is any impact of concern to AEG’s interests. 

AB 613 (Low) Professions and vocations: regulatory fees.  This bill would allow DCA boards, including BPELSG, to increase their fees every 4 years based on the increase in the California Consumer Price Index.  Proposed fee increases would be reviewed and approved by the Director or the Department of Consumer Affairs.  This would allow a board to increase fees without pursuing legislation (legislation typically sets maximum fees that a board can charge) or without a regulatory change (the specific fees are typically set by regulations adopted by the board).  This decreases input and transparency by the public and by the professions which pay the fees.  This was brought to my attention by the California Medical Association (CMA) who is opposing the bill.  AEG may wish to review this bill and consider weighing in on the policy.

SB 339 (Jones R) Engineers, land surveyors, and geologists and geophysicists: nondisclosure agreements: reporting.  This bill was amended on June 4 to include geologists and geophysicists.  It specifies that if a licensee (including a geologists or geophysicists) who is retained as an expert witness enters into a nondisclosure agreement, that agreement shall not be construed to prevent the licensee from reporting a potential violation of the act to the BPELSG.