BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION
                              Senator Isadore Hall, III
                                        Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:           AB 1342          Hearing Date:    6/29/2015
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          |Author:    |Steinorth                                            |
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          |Version:   |6/22/2015    Amended                                 |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:      |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Felipe Lopez                                         |
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          SUBJECT: Disability access


            DIGEST:    This bill appropriates $120,000 from the General Fund  
          to the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) which  
          shall be used to provide funding to establish two permanent  
          outreach coordinator positions and enacts other measures  
          intended to promote disability access compliance.

          ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law:

          1)Establishes the CCDA, an independent state agency composed of  
            17 members, with the general responsibility for monitoring  
            disability access compliance in California, and the authority  
            to hold hearings and make recommendations to the Legislature  
            for necessary changes to existing state law in order to  
            facilitate implementation of state and federal laws on  
            disability access.

          2)Requires the State Architect to establish and publicize a  
            program for the voluntarily certification by the state of any  
            person who meets specified criteria as a Certified Access  
            Specialist (CASp).

          3)Requires each applicant for CASp certification or renewal to  
            pay certain fees, and requires the State Architect to  
            periodically review those fees, as specified.







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          4)Provides for the deposit of those fees into the Certified  
            Access Specialist Fund, which is continuously appropriated for  
            use by the State Architect to implement the CASp program.

          5)Requires, until December 31, 2018, any applicant for a local  
            business license or equivalent instrument or permit, or  
            renewal of a local business license or equivalent instrument  
            or permit, to pay an additional fee of $1 for that license,  
            instrument, or permit.  The city, county, or city and county  
            that collected the fee retains 70% of the fee, and the  
            remaining 30% of the fee is deposited into the Disability  
            Access and Education Revolving Fund, a continuously  
            appropriated fund.

          6)Requires a commercial property owner or lessor to state on  
            every lease form or rental agreement executed on or after July  
            1, 2013, whether the property has been determined by a CASp to  
            meet all applicable construction-related accessibility  
            standards.

          This bill:

          1)Appropriates $120,000 from the General Fund to the CCDA to  
            establish a permanent legislative outreach coordinator  
            position and a permanent educational outreach coordinator  
            position.

          2)Requires applicants for CASp certification or renewal to  
            additionally provide to the State Architect information about  
            the city, county, or city and county in which the applicant  
            intends to provide or has provided services, and would require  
            the State Architect to post that information on his or her  
            Internet Web site.

          3)Removes the sunset provision under current law that requires  
            an applicant for a business license or renewal to pay a $1 fee  
            to local jurisdictions to assist in funding CASp services.

          4)Requires the CCDA to provide a link on its Internet Web site  
            to the Internet Web site of the Division of the State  
            Architect's CASp certification program and to make the CCDA's  
            educational materials and information available to other state  
            agencies and local building departments.









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          5)Requires a commercial property owner or lessor to state on  
            every lease form or rental agreement executed on or after July  
            1, 2016, to provide the lessee or tenant with a current  
            disability access inspection certificate and inspection report  
            or a copy of the CASp inspection report.  

          6)Requires, if the subject premises have not been issued a  
            current disability access inspection certificate, the property  
            owner or lessor to include a statement on the rental agreement  
            that, upon request of the lessee or tenant, the property owner  
            may permit a CASp inspection of the subject premises at the  
            lessee's or tenant's expense and that the parties must  
            mutually agree on the time and manner of the inspection.

          Background

          Purpose of the bill.  According to the author, "the CCDA is  
          entrusted with a variety of responsibilities relating to  
          disability access throughout California.  However, the CCDA has  
          not received funding increases in accordance with new  
          responsibilities from the Legislature.  The author further  
          argues that with the funding given to the CCDA by AB 1342, the  
          CCDA will have a half a year of funding so that they may begin  
          hiring permanent staff positions to pursue the goals of their  
          five year strategic plan."

          In addition, the author argues that, "AB 1342 takes several  
          actions relating to CASp inspections. It was noted to our office  
          by persons involved in the business community that it can be  
          difficult to identify CASp inspectors in their area who may  
          inspect their property."   AB 1342 would require CASp applicants  
          to provide the State Architect information about the location of  
          where he or she will be providing those services and require the  
          State Architect to post that information on the State  
          Architect's Internet Web site.

          Finally the author argues that, "the bill also requires property  
          owners to provide tenants with any copies of CASp inspections  
          that have occurred, so that tenants may be aware of any  
          potential access violations.  If a CASp inspection has not  
          occurred, as it is not required by state law, property owners  
          must state on the lease agreements that the tenant may seek a  
          CASp inspection if they desire, at their own expense.  The  
          purpose of this requirement is to increase awareness that these  
          inspections are available, providing tenants the opportunity to  








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          proactively ensure that the property is compliant with the  
          American with Disabilities Act (ADA)."

          History of CCDA.  In 2008, the Legislature passed SB 1608  
          (Corbett, Chapter 549, Statutes of 2008) which established the  
          CCDA as part of a bipartisan package of reforms shaped by  
          discussions from disability rights advocates, attorneys for  
          plaintiffs and defendants, and business interests. According to  
          their mission statement, the CCDA's mission is to promote  
          disability access in California through dialogue and  
          collaboration with stakeholders including but not limited to the  
          disability and business community and all levels of government. 


          According to the author of SB 1608, the bill included a  
          multi-faceted approach aimed at addressing the high rate of  
          non-compliance with construction-related accessibility standards  
          by public accommodations in California, recognizing the value of  
          and promoting voluntary compliance and prevention.  Significant  
          portions of SB 1608 were dependent on the continued funding of  
          the Commission.  The author of AB 1342 contends that the CCDA  
          since its inception has been tasked with additional  
          responsibilities without corresponding increases in funding.


          Locating a CASp. The State Architect publishes a list of all the  
          CASps in the State on its website.  Currently, there are over  
          575 CASps, however, the current list does not specify the  
          location in which a CASp provides his or her services.  This  
          bill requires an applicant for CASp certification or renewal to  
          provide the State Architect the location where the applicant  
          will provide CASp services, specifically, the city, county, or  
          city and county.  Additionally, AB 1342 requires the State  
          Architect to publish information on his or her Internet Web  
          site.


          Compliance with Disability laws.  Under current law, a  
          commercial property owner is required to state on every lease  
          form or rental agreement whether the property has been inspected  
          by a CASp.  However, because the property owner may not know  
          whether the property has met all applicable-related  
          accessibility standards, current law may unintentionally create  
          a disincentive for a business property owner to obtain CASp  
          services.  The additional information provided under this bill  








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          might allow commercial tenants to better understand the state of  
          the leased property, and hopefully allow the commercial property  
          owner or tenant to take proactive steps in reaching compliance  
          with disability access laws.


          Prior/Related Legislation
          
          AB 52 (Gray, 2015) provides that the defendant's maximum  
          liability for statutory damages in a construction-related  
          accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation is  
          $1,000 for each offense if the defendant has corrected all  
          construction-related violations within 180 days of being served  
          with the complaint.  (Held in Assembly Judiciary Committee)

          AB 54 (Olsen, 2015) requires a plaintiff who has been denied  
          access to a public accommodation because of a  
          construction-related accessibility violation of a standard which  
          has changed in the past three years to give notice to the  
          defendant 60 days before filing a complaint and an opportunity  
          to cure the violation, with no statutory damages payable to the  
          plaintiff; and provides a tax credit under the Personal Income  
          Tax Law and the Corporation Tax Law to any taxpayer who obtains  
          a certified access specialist inspection.  (Held in Assembly  
          Revenue and Taxation Committee)

          AB 1230 (Gomez, 2015) establishes the California Americans with  
          Disabilities Act Small Business Compliance Act to provide loans  
          to assist small businesses finance the costs of projects that  
          alter or retrofit existing small business facilities to comply  
          with the federal American with Disabilities Act.  (Pending in  
          Senate Governmental Organization Committee)

          AB 1468 (Baker, 2015) provides that a public entity's possession  
          of a close out letter from the State Architect certifying that  
          the buildings, facilities, and other places meet the applicable  
          construction-related accessibility standards of the federal  
          Americans with Disabilities Act, serves as presumptive evidence  
          of compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.   
          (Held in Assembly Judiciary Committee)

          SB 67 (Galgiani, 2015) exempts a small business from statutory  
          damage liability in connection with a construction-related  
          accessibility claim and extends the period for correcting  
          construction-related violations that are the basis of a claim  








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          from 60 days to 120 days of being served with the complaint, for  
          purposes of reducing a defendant's minimum statutory damage  
          liability to $1,000.  (Held in Senate Judiciary Committee)

          SB 1608 (Corbett, Chapter 549, Statutes of 2008) enacted the  
          CCDA and various other reforms intended to increase voluntary  
          compliance with longstanding state and federal laws requiring  
          access to the disabled in any place of public accommodation.

          FISCAL EFFECT:                 Appropriation:  Yes    Fiscal  
          Com.:             Yes          Local:          No


            SUPPORT:  

          American Institute of Architects California Council
          Building Owners and Managers Association of California
          California Building Industry Association
          California Business Properties Association
          California Chamber of Commerce
          California Commission on Disability Access
          Commercial Real Estate Development Association, NAIOP of  
          California
          Consumer Attorneys of California
          Disability Rights California
          International Council of Shopping Centers
          National Federation of Independent Businesses

          OPPOSITION:

          None received

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:    According to Disability Rights  
          California, "the CCDA has been instrumental in collecting  
          information about disability access issues.  Their reports  
          provide an excellent overview of the types of architectural  
          access issues that exist.  Providing additional funding to  
          continue their research is critical as they develop and  
          implement recommendations as outlined in its strategic plan for  
          improving access across California."
          
          The CCDA argues that "AB 1342 properly addresses the lack of  
          resources for CCDA to fulfill its mandate.  The recognition of  
          this lack of sufficient resource allocations required for CCDA  
          to accomplish its legislative mandates is appropriately  








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          observed.  We believe AB 1342 properly establishes the vehicle  
          to ensure the CCDA will be able to do its work."
          
          DUAL REFERRAL:  Senate Judiciary Committee