Contractors Face New Laws in 2010
On January 1, 2010, legislation that was passed into law in 2009 was enacted(with one exception, AB 457, as noted below). Several of these new laws will have an impact on the way contractors do business in 2010 and beyond.The descriptions below are not intended to cover every aspect of the legislation – only the highlights. It is recommended that specific bill language be reviewed for complete details.
AB 229 - Public contracts: transit design-build contracts.
Extends design-build authority for transit districts until January 1, 2015.
AB 798 - California Transportation Financing Authority: toll facilities.
Creates the California Transportation Financing Authority, with authority to issue bonds, to fund transportation projects to be backed by various revenue streams of transportation funds and toll revenues.
AB 1086 - Public contracts: bids.
Makes findings and declarations regarding stating legislative intent to encourage contractors and manufacturers to develop and implement new and ingenious materials, products, and services at a lower cost to taxpayers. Transportation
AB 561 - Highway workers: assault and battery.Revisesthe definition of "highway worker" to include a contractor or employee of a contractor while under contract with Caltrans, for the purpose of enhanced penalties for assault or battery upon a "highway worker."
AB 672 - Transportation: bond-funded projects.Allows an agency responsible for administering a Proposition 1B project to issue a letter of “no prejudice” to a local agency providing an assurance that the local agency will be reimbursed for expenditures it makes on a Proposition 1B project that has been programmed, but for which funds have not yet been allocated. Liability
AB 927 - Common interest developments: construction defects.
Current law provides until July 1, 2010, with respect to certain common interest developments, that certain requirements be satisfied before an association files a complaint for damages against the builder, developer, or general contractor of the development based upon a claim for defects in the design or construction of the development. AB 927 extends the expiration date for these provisions to July 1, 2017.
AB 1196 - The False Claims Act.
Revises the state’s False Claims Act to make it consistent with federal law and allows the defendant to collect attorney’s fees under a more favorable standard than current law when wrongly accused.
Liens / Arbitration
AB 457 - Liens.(will become effective January 1, 2011)
Requires the mechanic's lien and the Notice of Mechanic's Lien to be served on the owner, reputed owner of the property, the construction lender, or the original contractor, if those parties cannot be served. Requires a proof of service affidavit to be completed and signed by the person serving the Notice of Mechanic's Lien, and it would be included as part of the mechanic's lien or claim of lien. Failure to serve the mechanic's lien, including the Notice of Mechanic's Lien, as required, would cause the mechanic's lien to be unenforceable as a matter of law.
AB 1090 - Arbitration.
Existing law requires a person serving as a neutral arbitrator pursuant to an arbitration agreement to comply with the ethics standards for arbitrators adopted by the Judicial Council, and it also specifies that these provisions do not apply to an arbitration conducted pursuant to the terms of a public or private sector collective bargaining agreement. AB 1090specifies that certain ethic requirements and standards are non-negotiable and shall not be waived.
Workers’ Compensation / Unemployment Insurance
AB 361 - Workers' compensation: treatment authorization.
Provides that, regardless of whether an employer has established a medical provider network or entered into a contract with a health care organization, an employer that authorizes medical treatment shall not rescind or modify the authorization for the portion of the medical treatment that has been provided after that treatment has been provided for any reason, including, but not limited to, the employer's subsequent determination that the physician who treated the employee was not eligible to treat that injured employee.
AB 483 - Workers' compensation: Internet Web sites.
Provides that a licensed rating organization shall establish and maintain an Internet Web site for the purposes of assisting any person to determine whether an employer is insured for workers' compensation.
AB 1093 - Workers' compensation.
Provides that for purposes of determining whether to grant or deny a workers' compensation claim, if an employee is injured or killed by a third party in the course of the employee's employment, no personal relationship or personal connection shall be deemed to exist between the employee and the third party based only on a determination that the third party injured or killed the employee solely because of the third party's personal beliefs relating to his or her perception of the employee's race, religious creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, sex, or sexual orientation.
SB 313 - Workers' compensation: penalty assessments.
Increases the penalty assessment on uninsured employees from $1,000 to $1,500 per employee employed during the period the employer was uninsured.
California State License Board
AB 370 - Unlicensed contractors.
Makes a first conviction of unlicensed activity punishable by a fine not exceeding $5,000 or by imprisonment in a county jail for no more than 6 months or both. Requires the fine for a second conviction be the greater of 20% of the contract price, 20% of the aggregate payments made to the unlicensed contractor, or $5,000. Requires that a third or subsequent conviction be punishable by both a fine and imprisonment in a county jail, and requires that the fine be no less than $5,000 and no more than the greater of $10,000, 20% of the contract price, or 20% of the aggregate payments made to the unlicensed contractor.
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
ABX4 21 - State contracts.
Requires state agencies to award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder meeting specified disabled veteran business enterprise participation goals. Eliminates “good faith effort” requirements for all state contracts, and, if a solicitation specifies higher participation goals, the bidder is required to meet the goals in the solicitation.
AB 31 - Public contracts: Small Business Procurement and Contract Act.
Increases the maximum amount of a contract a state agency can award for goods, services and informational technology from $100,000 to $250,000 for small business and disabled veteran business enterprises without complying with specific competitive bidding requirements.
SB 548 - California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Program.
Requires an awarding department, upon completion of an awarded contract for which a commitment to achieve a disabled veteran business enterprise goal was made, to require the prime contractor that entered into a subcontract with a disabled veteran business enterprise to certify to the awarding department certain information pertaining to the contract, and that all payments under the contract have been made to the disabled veteran business enterprise.
SB 147 - California State University: career technical education courses.
Requires the university system to recognize the completion of all high school career technical education courses that meet model curriculum standards established by the Superintendent of Public Instruction as satisfying the completion of a general elective course requirement for the purposes of admission to a university.
Labor / Employment
AB 396 - Apprenticeship programs.
Allows an awarding body that implements an approved labor compliance program, upon mutual agreement with the Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, to assist the director in the enforcement of prevailing rate wage laws and other requirements that apply to apprenticeships in public works projects. Allows a contractor to appeal the result of a labor compliance program enforcement action related to apprenticeships in public works projects through specified procedures.
SB 310 - Water quality: stormwater and other runoff.
Allows local government agencies that have permits for stormwater systems to voluntarily create a watershed improvement plan to improve stormwater management. Allows participating agencies to assess fees on activities that generate stormwater pollution to pay for the implementation of plans approved by the regional water board.
SB 790 - Water Quality:stormwater resource plans.
Establishes grant criteria for stormwater funding through the Safe Drinking Water Bond Act of 2006, and authorizes grants for projects designed to implement or promote low-impact development that will contribute to the improvement of water quality or reduce stormwater runoff and for projects designed to implement specified stormwater management plans.
AB 210 - Green building standards.
Clarifies that cities and counties may amend state green building standards if they make a finding that the amendments are reasonably necessary because of local climatic, geological, or topographical conditions.
AB 5 - Civil discovery: Electronic Discovery Act.
Establishes procedures for a person to obtain discovery of electronically stored information, in addition to documents, tangible things, and land or other property, in the possession of any other party to the action.