Kern County Builders' Exchange News

Date ArticleType
5/21/2015 Legislation
Bills of Interest Still Moving

Bill Volume Decreases Significantly as Deadline Passes

May 21, 2015

Also In This Update

  • Bills of Interest Still Moving
  • Update on Vacuum Excavation
  • Cal OSHA Reports On ‘”Slips, Trips and Falls” and How to Find Help to Prevent Them

Bill Volume Decreases Significantly as Deadline Passes

This week’s bill status report is over 100 bills ‘lighter’ than weeks’ past because all of the two-year bills have been archived.  Last Friday was the deadline for all bills, regardless if they had fiscal impact or not, to pass out of their house of origin’s policy committee(s).  Each of the removed two-year bills will have one more ‘bite of the apple’ next January to pass from  their policy committee or they die.  In the meantime, each will be monitored but not listed in the file. 


The next deadline fast approaching is for bills to pass out of their house’s Appropriations Committee by May 29th.  As you read the attached status report, many bills state they are on ‘Suspense’.  Any bill estimated to result in an annual revenue loss or gain of $150,000 or more to the state will be moved to the Committee's Suspense File, without prejudice, for further consideration.  Next Thursday, May 28th is the typical day when both house’s Appropriations Committees meet to report which bills have passed and which will remain in committee on Suspense (die).  Thankfully, many of the ‘bad’ bills will stay here and that will be the end of them for the year. 


Which bills pass off of Suspense?  ‘Pet’ bills of the Appropriation chairs and the leadership, ones that they want to curry favors to the authors (or the bill’s sponsor), and ones of public policy importance are typically the bills that move on. 


So, next Friday the status report list will be reduced substantially again, all part of the legislative paring-down process.  This pared-down list will constitute a much more manageable ‘load’ and, more importantly, provides  us with a list of bills whose chance of ultimate passage is considerably more real.  In other words, while there are still pitfalls later on in the process that the surviving bills will face, our attention will focus on the survivors.  

Bills of Interest Still Moving

Last week I reported on several ‘fence building’ bills that would require contractors to have a “skilled and trained” workforce in order to be qualified.  Each of these bills as well as others of interest continue to move forward:


AB 566 (O’Donnell)  – Would apply to schools utilizing lease/lease-back arrangements for projects from $1 million and over. To Senate Rules for assignment.


AB 1185 (Ridley-Thomas)  Would establish a pilot program to authorize the Los Angeles Unified School District to use, before December 31, 2020, a best value procurement method for bid evaluation and selection for public projects that exceed $1 million. On Assembly Second Reading File


AB 1358 (Dababneh)  – Would require all schools utilizing design/build or best value for projects over $1 million to comply with the PLA and “skilled and trained workforce” provisions.

To Senate Rules for assignment.


AB 1431 (Gomez)A ‘variation of a theme’ by requiring that a contractor must be signatory to a Project Labor Agreement, this bill deals with job order contracting and would expand its provisions statewide until 2022 for schools with these type of projects costing over $25,000. Assembly Second Reading


AB 151 (Rodriguez) Tax Credits for Apprentices –

This bill, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, and before January 1, 2020, would allow a credit against the taxes imposed under those tax laws in an amount equal to $1 for each hour a registered apprentice worked in the taxable year, up to $2,000 each for up to 10 registered apprentices trained by the taxpayer in the taxable year.  Assembly Second Reading


AB 251 (Levine) Establishing a Floor for Application of Prevailing Wage

This bill would provide that a project is not subject to prevailing wage if the public subsidy is de Minimis, which is defined as both less than $25,000 and less than 1% of the total project cost.  The bill would specify that those provisions do not apply to a project that was advertised for bid, or a contract that was awarded, before January 1, 2016. Senate Labor Committee


AB 552 – (O’Donnell) – Consequential Damages on Public Works –

This bill would provide that a public works contract entered into on or after January 1, 2016, that contains a clause requiring a contractor to be responsible for consequential damages is not enforceable unless the consequential damages have been liquidated to a set amount and identified in the public works contract. Senate Rules for Assignment


AB 622 (Hernandez) – E Verify Program –

This bill would expand the definition of an unlawful employment practice to prohibit an employer or any other person or entity from using the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of an existing employee or an applicant who has not received an offer of employment, except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds. The bill would also require an employer that uses the E-Verify system to provide to the affected employee any notification issued by the Social Security Administration or the United States Department of Homeland Security containing information specific to the employee's E-Verify case or any tentative non confirmation notice.  Assembly 3rd Reading


AB 852 (Burke) – Expansion of Prevailing Wage

Would expand the definition of "public works," for the purposes of provisions relating to the prevailing rate of per diem wages, to also include any construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work done under private contract on a general acute care hospital, as defined, when the project is paid for, in whole or in part, with the proceeds of conduit revenue bonds, as defined, that were issued on or after January 1, 2016.  Senate Labor Committee


SB 119 (Hill) - Protection of Subsurface InstallationsI have previously written about this bill which emanated several years ago as a result of the PG&E gas explosion in San Bruno.  Senator Hill whose district includes the explosion site has the’ impetus’ of PG&E behind him who obviously is trying to ‘shift’ the focus to others!  That’s not to suggest that there shouldn’t be more focus on ensuring that everyone including homeowners who ‘dig’ should not be responsible by calling Dig Alert to locate underground utilities before digging!  While this bill continues to evolve, it is also trying to attempt to put more responsibility on utilities as well by making them responsible if they fail to mark or mismark.  This bill still has a long way to go in the process.  Stay tuned! Senate Appropriations Committee


Vacuum Excavation

Speaking of excavation, there’s another issue dealing with vacuum excavation that I have been working with my colleagues on from the Common Ground Alliance (which consists of all of the utilities, Dig Alert, other contractor organizations and the PUC).  Back in 2004, I worked with the Common Ground Alliance to obtain the allowance for the use of vacuum excavation to excavate IF approved by the utilities whose installations were in the vicinity.  We have been working on revisions to this language.  Following is the latest iteration.  Should you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to me:


Government Code Section 4216.4.

 (a) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), if an excavation is within the  tolerance zone of a subsurface installation, the excavator shall expose with hand tools to the depth of the excavation within the tolerance zone, including any applicable clearance requirements, every 4 feet to 50 feet depending on the terrain and type of excavation unless otherwise determined by the operator and at all crossing of other subsurface installations.

(2) (A) An excavator may use a vacuum excavation device to expose subsurface installations within the tolerance zone if the excavator has informed the regional notification center of his or her intent to use a vacuum excavation device when obtaining a ticket, the vacuum equipment device is designed, engineered and built for the purpose of vacuum excavation work, a trained and competent person operates the vacuum excavation device, and have knowledge of specific operator requirements for marked subsurface installations being exposed.

(B) The operator upon notification of intent to use a vacuum excavation device shall notify the excavator of any issues or concerns around sensitive underground installations if applicable or inform the excavator the use of vacuum excavation devices are unacceptable.

(C) An excavator may use power-operated or boring equipment for the removal of any existing pavement only if there is no known subsurface installation contained in the pavement.



Cal OSHA Reports On ‘”Slips, Trips and Falls” and How to Find Help to Prevent Them


According to 2013 statistics on California workplace fatalities published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22 of 61 fatalities in the construction industry were due to slips, trips and falls. Cal/OSHA maintains helpful lists of fall protection requirements and safety information on its website.


Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers who want to learn more about California workplace health and safety standards or labor law violations can access information on DIR’s website as well as on Facebook and Twitter.


Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Program provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Program.