The Contractors State License Board Loses Its Apostrophe, Sees New Reforms with the Enactment of SB 1474

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By Sabrina Barr

SB 1474 (Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development), as amended August 26, 2020, is an omnibus bill that amends a number of sections of the Business and Professions Code, including 39 sections pertaining to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Of note, the bill amends the agency name from “Contractors’ State License Board” to “Contractors State License Board,” without an apostrophe, signaling an important message regarding the Board’s statutory mission. Section 7000.6 of the Business and Professions Code provides that “Protection of the public shall be the highest priority for the Contractors’ State License Board in exercising its licensing, regulatory, and disciplinary functions.” Before the amendment, the apostrophe in the name of the agency implied that the Board existed to serve contractors; the name change reflects the actual functions and priorities of the agency.

SB 1474 also makes other amendments to the Contractors State License Law.  Specifically, it amends section 7071.4 to clarify that if CSLB is notified, in writing, of a civil action against a contractor’s deposit, the deposit may not be released for any purpose, except as determined by the court.  The bill also amends section 7137 to strike the requirement that CSLB’s Registrar must deposit the service fees they collect in the Contractors’ Deposit Fund.

In addition, SB 1474 amends section 7141.5 to require the Registrar to grant the retroactive renewal of a license within 90 days of the expiration of the license if the licensee submits a completed application for renewal and pays the delinquency fees, and strikes the requirement for a licensee to demonstrate that the delay was due to circumstances beyond their control.  According to the bill analysis, this amendment simplifies the process for contractor licensees to receive a retroactive license renewal.

The bill also adds section 7099.9 to the Business and Professions Code to allow the Registrar to issue a letter of admonishment to an applicant, licensee, or registrant in lieu of issuing a citation where the Registrar has cause to believe the applicant, licensee, or registrant has committed acts or omissions that are grounds for denial, suspension, or revocation of a license.

Governor Newsom signed SB 1474 on September 29, 2020 (Chapter 312, Statutes of 2020).

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