SACRAMENTO UPDATE - Sept. 16, 2011 - Key Bills Await Governor's Action

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from Kevin Pedrotti, Legislative Advocate for the Golden State Builders Exchanges

As I made you aware throughout last week, there was considerable activity on numerous bills that are related to the construction industry. There were many significant last minute “gut and amends.” I have provided a brief summary of key bills that are waiting action by the Governor. Of these, there may be some that individual BX’s feel strongly about and may wish to write letters to the Governor. The Governor has until October 9 or before to act on these bills. If you need any additional information or assistance in drafting letters, please let me know.  
SB 293 (Padilla) - Requires a written notice be given to a surety and the bond principal prior to the completion of the project; (2) prohibit retention proceeds from exceeding five percent of payment for contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2012; (3) prohibits progress payments from being made in excess of 100 percent       
of the actual work completed; (4) provides that a subordinate contractor, who has not provided a contractor with a 20 day preliminary bond notice, may not enforce a   claim against the contractor; and 5) add clarifying language relative to not applying to a subcontractor who has been terminated from a project and all program payments were made as of the termination date. Has support of construction industry.
SB 474 (Evans) - Regulates indemnification agreements in specified private commercial and public works construction contracts. This issue has split GC’s and subcontractors.
SB 617 (Calderon/Pavley) -. The bill is intended to support more transparent rulemakings, improve oversight of agencies, and encourage policymakers to implement the most cost-effective ways to achieve societal goals.   Far from a major step forward in regulatory reform, it is supported by business regulatory reform coalition.
SB 835 (Wolk) - Expands the Best Value Construction Contract Pilot Program to all University of California campus construction projects statewide valued over $1 million, and extends the sunset date of the Best Value Pilot Program to January 1, 2017. The bill previously extended sunset for pilot program at UCSF. Some contractor groups are concerned with expansion of best value contracting by UC, concerned it may grow into other areas as well.
SB 922 (Steinberg/Perez) – A very last minute gut and amend. Pushed by the Building Trades, SB 922 forestalls a campaign by nonunion contractors to ban PLAs on the local level. A statewide coalition led by non-union contractors has managed to pass ordinances that ban PLAs in nine local jurisdictions so far. SB 922 would nullify PLA bans already approved in other jurisdictions. In the case of charter cities such as Sacramento which have independent authority over their contracting practices, the measure would prevent any state funds from being used to finance a project in a city where a PLA ban has been approved.  Local governments and some union and nonunion contractors have raised issues with this bill.
AB 436 (Solorio) – Another late amended bill sponsored by the Building Trades. Resolves constitutional issues with the Attorney General’s office the prevented SB x2 9 from being implements which established the State Public Works Enforcement Fund within the DIR to provide necessary resources to conduct required labor compliance monitoring. The bill also includes a provision that exempts a school district from having to reimburse DIR for labor compliance activities where the school district or public entitity has entered into a PLA. Those that opposed, oppose the provision exempting state funds to local projects where there are PLA bans.
AB 900 (Buchanan) – Late amended bill. The bill is actually that of Senator Steinberg. Establishes the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (ACT), which creates an expedited judicial review procedures under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for various types of LEED silver certified infill site projects, clean renewable energy project, and clean energy manufacturing project. The bill is a voluntary CEQA streamlining if developer wishes to adhere to the provisions of the bill. Questions were raised in committee about inclusion of LEED silver certification. The point being that LEED is a private entity and is certification is provided post occupancy. Opponents to LEED silver provision urged committee and author to amend to Cal Green 1 or 2 which is a building code. The author resisted and instead place a letter to the journal clarifying that a leadership project only needs to be "designed" as LEED silver certified; the project does not actually need to become certified as LEED silver.  This bill is double-joined to CEQA legislation tied to the LA stadium project. Several contactor and owner groups opposed unless amended bill because of LEED provision.
AB 1210 (Garrick) – Once defeated in another form, late amendments exempts a licensed civil engineer from additional experience, training, or certification requirements in order to prepare Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs). No opposition to this bill in amended form.