BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 1342 (Steinorth) - Disability access
          
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          |Version: July 16, 2015          |Policy Vote: G.O. 12 - 0, JUD.  |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: August 17, 2015   |Consultant: Mark McKenzie       |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. 







          Bill  
          Summary:  AB 1342 would appropriate $120,000 from the General  
          Fund to the Commission on Disability Access (CDA) and require  
          the CDA to establish two permanent positions.  The bill would  
          also permanently extend a $1 fee on local business licenses that  
          funds state and local activities related to certified access  
          specialist (CASp) services, and make other changes to promote  
          compliance with disability access requirements.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
           One-time General Fund appropriation of $120,000 in 2015-16 to  
            support the establishment of 2 PY of permanent CDA staff  







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            positions.  Ongoing costs for these positions would be  
            $240,000 annually, beginning in 2016-17. (General Fund)

           Ongoing costs of approximately $135,000 annually to the  
            Division of the State Architect (DSA), beginning in 2019,  
            related to the conversion of a temporary position to permanent  
            as a result of eliminating the sunset on the $1 business  
            license fee that supports CASp services. (General Fund)

           Minor and absorbable costs to the DSA to collect information  
            on service locations of CASps and posting it on its website.   
            (General Fund)

           Ongoing collection of approximately $2.05 million in business  
            license fee revenues annually, beginning in 2019, as a result  
            of permanently extending the $1 fee.  Approximately $616,000  
            of this amount is deposited into the Disability Access and  
            Education Revolving Fund, and the remainder is retained at the  
            local level.


          Background:  Individuals with disabilities and medical conditions have  
          legal protections to ensure full and free access to and the use  
          of roadways, sidewalks, buildings and facilities open to the  
          public, hospitals and medical facilities, and housing.   
          Additionally, under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, all persons,  
          regardless of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national  
          origin, disability or medical condition, are entitled to the  
          full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities,  
          privileges, or services in all business establishments.  After  
          Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in  
          1990, the Legislature provided that violations of the ADA are  
          also violations of the Unruh Act.
          Existing law establishes the CDA, an independent state agency  
          composed of 17 members, to monitor disability access compliance  
          and make recommendations to the Legislature for necessary  
          changes in order to facilitate implementation of state and  
          federal laws on disability access.  Existing law requires the  
          State Architect to establish and publicize a program for the  
          voluntary certification of any person who meets specified  
          criteria to qualify as a CASp.  Each applicant for CASp  
          certification or renewal   is required to pay specified fees for  
          deposit into the Certified Access Specialist Fund, a  
          continuously appropriated fund to support the DSA in  








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          administering the program.  


          Local agencies are required to employ or retain a sufficient  
          number of building inspectors who are CASp to conduct  
          inspections with respect to new construction.  Existing law  
          requires, until December 31, 2018, any applicant for a local  
          business license to pay an additional $1 fee.  The local agency  
          that collects the fee retains 70 percent of the fee revenues to  
          fund increased CASp services and facilitate compliance with  
          accessibility requirements, and the remaining 30 percent is  
          transferred to the DSA for deposit into the Disability Access  
          and Education Revolving Fund, a continuously appropriated fund  
          that supports the oversight of the CASp program and moderates  
          expenses related to certification and testing.  Local agencies  
          are required to report specified information to the DSA  
          regarding the amount of fees collected, and activities  
          undertaken and moneys spent to increase CASp services and  
          facilitate compliance.


          Existing law requires a commercial property owner to state on  
          every lease form or rental agreement executed on or after July  
          1, 2013, whether the property being leased or rented has been  
          inspected by a CASp, and if so, whether the property has been  
          determined to meet applicable construction-related accessibility  
          standards.




          Proposed Law:  
            AB 1342 would require the CDA to establish a permanent  
          legislative outreach coordinator and educational outreach  
          coordinator positions and appropriate $120,000 from the General  
          Fund to CDA to establish those positions in 2015-16.  This bill  
          would also do the following:
           Require applicants for certification and renewal of  
            certification to provide DSA with information about the city  
            or county in which the applicant provides or intends to  
            provide services, and require the DSA to post that information  
            on each CASp's service area on its website.
           Require CDA to post a link on its website to the DSA's CASp  
            Program website to assist building owners and tenants in  








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            locating or hiring a CASp.
           Require CDA to make educational materials and information on  
            disability access requirements available to state agencies and  
            local building departments.
           Delete the December 1, 2018 sunset date on the additional $1  
            fee on business license applications for local and state CASp  
            services, thereby extending that fee in perpetuity.
           Require a commercial property owner, for every lease 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, as specified.
           Require the property owner or lessor to include a specified  
            statement on the rental agreement, if the subject premises  
            have not been issued a current disability access inspection  
            certificate.  The statement must indicate 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.


          Related  
          Legislation:  AB 1608 (Corbett), Ch. 549/2008, established the  
          CDA and enacted various other reforms to increase voluntary  
          compliance with longstanding state and federal laws requiring  
          access to the disabled in any place of public accommodation.
          SB 1186 (Steinberg and Dutton), Ch. 383/2012, reduced statutory  
          damages and provided litigation protections for specified  
          defendants who timely correct construction-related accessibility  
          violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act.  The bill also banned  
          prelitigation "demands for money" and created rules for demand  
          letters and complaints in claims involving construction-related  
          accessibility violations.




          Staff  
          Comments:  AB 1342 includes an appropriation of $120,000 in  
          2015-16 from the General Fund to the CDA to establish the two  
          outreach coordinator positions.  This amount would cover half of  
          the full-year costs of the salaries, benefits, and overhead from  
          January 1, 2016 through the end of the fiscal year.  The ongoing  








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          costs for those positions would be $240,000 annually, which  
          would be an ongoing expense from the General Fund beginning in  
          2016-17.
          The bill would permanently extend the $1 additional fee on local  
          business licenses that supports specified local and state costs  
          related to the CASp program.  The 2015 Budget Act includes a  
          temporary full-time position through the current expiration date  
          of the $1 fee for DSA's costs to administer the activities  
          related to the state portion of fee revenues.  By eliminating  
          the sunset on the fee, this bill would allow DSA to reclassify  
          the current limited-term position to a permanent position,  
          resulting in continued annual General Fund costs of  
          approximately $135,000, beginning on January 1, 2019.


          By continuing the $1 fee in perpetuity, the bill would impose a  
          mandate on local agencies to continue to report specified  
          information regarding the collection and expenditure of those  
          fees to the DSA.  The state is not responsible for reimbursing  
          local agencies for these reporting costs because they have  
          exiting fee authority to offset any continued expenses.




          Recommended  
          Amendments:  Amendments will be required to avoid chaptering out  
          changes enacted to Government Code 4467 by SB 84 (Committee on  
          Budget and Fiscal Review), Ch. 25/2015.  SB 84 required local  
          agencies to report to the DSA, rather than specified committees  
          of the Legislature, on activities undertaken and expenditures  
          related to additional $1 fee on business licenses.  


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