California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills supported by state industry lobbyist SPEC. Both are meant to close licensing loopholes and increase the authority of the Contractors State License Board in combating those operating without a license, enabling such activity or misrepresenting their own license status.

Senate Bill 261 allows the CSLB to take administrative action against contractors who lend out their license numbers or otherwise help unlicensed companies evade the law, cite a license number other than the one appearing on their valid license, continue to work under expired or suspended licenses, or commit similar crimes. CSLB can issue warning letters, citations or fines, or even suspend or revoke a license for these crimes, without the aid of local law enforcement.

“…giving the CSLB this authority to issue citations and keep a record of these bad actors is a necessary step in combating the underground economy and [helping] law-abiding small businesses succeed,” SPEC said in a press release.

Senate Bill 262 says that the person named as the qualifier on a builders license now must directly supervise and control the work to ensure its quality and compliance with law. Applicants must submit detailed information explaining how the qualifier will perform these duties. The language also outlines limits and criteria for serving as qualifier for multiple companies. Where violations were previously punishable only by administrative action, they now are treated as misdemeanors punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment in a county jail, a fine of $3,000 to $5,000, or both.

“Consumers need to know that they can trust the contractor they hire to do the job properly,” SPEC said. “The consumer will be confident if they know a qualifier is ultimately responsible for job supervision, managing construction activities, making technical and administrative decisions, checking jobs for proper workmanship, and are directly supervising the work site.”

Both bills were authored by Senator William Monning, (D-Carmel).