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Monthly Update ALERT! March 2019

President's Message
Date: March 2019
RE: CalABC President's Message
When Change is the Only Constant
Great Day to All CalABC Members and Supporters,

As I look down the list of the new bills introduced by the California state legislature this year, I can only say we are up for another year of major changes, if we don’t figure out a way as an industry to work together. I am sorry, but to have the media create yet another circus around one situation with one franchise owner of a automotive repair chain be the cause of the way complaints are handled for an entire industry is wrong. The media has gone on the attack to BAR and the automotive repair industry and are pushing again for legislation that would create a grading system like restaurants for the automotive repair industry. Some of you may not have heard, but this reporter interviewed Assembly Member Low (AB 3141 Author) and is pushing Low to create a similar rating system for repair shops as there is for restaurants. 


As far as I know, restaurants are not rated in the window based on complaints, they are rated on cleanliness, not quite as ambiguous as some of these crazy complaints filed against repair shops. You must ask yourself: where will due process in all this fall? Especially when many repair shop owners arbitrarily resolve complaints with their consumer, when they haven’t done anything wrong. Los Angeles DA and City Attorney attempted this in 2007 and it never moved forward after Johan Gallo and a committee worked on it for 3 years with their staff. There were too many variables to consider a grading system, as all it takes is one person to ruin a business. And you live with the “Scarlet letter” branding your business for all to see. We have enough problems with fake ratings and other false online “Consumer Rating Reviews” by Social Media.

Then, there are issues on the table related to who is an independent contractor (AB5). I don’t know about you, but the gardener who comes to the shop and keeps the grounds clean, doesn’t want or need to be on my payroll or covered by workers compensation insurance and medical benefits. Not everybody who does work for you is an employee. It seems like the pendulum is really starting to go way to far against business in this state.

Hertzberg brought back his bill SB 522 on taxation to overhaul the tax code and add sales tax on service labor again this year. AB 210 is a bill to decrease the smog fleet again and exempt vehicles made prior to 1983. As a smog shop owner, how does that make you feel after you invested in upgrading your equipment? If you understood the January BAG meeting report on the smog program, the BAR is going to be recommending a new DAD unit to prevent the “small” amount of fraud they have detected in the program where “defeat” devices are used with the DAD unit to get vehicles to pass. Another one of those punish us all for the bad deeds of the few! The attitude in Sacrament is and has always been that it’s just the cost of doing business in this state – right? I have only hit upon a few of the bills coming out, please read and check out our list of legislative bills that we are actively working on to protect our industry. Jack Molodanof, our lobbyist and political analyst, along with Johan Gallo, our Executive Director work hand in hand daily to discuss changes with legislation to protect our membership’s best interest, while we provide our customer’s fair automotive services throughout California.

This month’s member question: CalABC would like to ask your opinion on us leading the way to bring a mandatory vehicle maintenance inspection program to the state of California. If you have shops in other states with an inspection program, what are your thoughts on legislation like this? What types of certification and training will technicians and shops need to hold in order to be a part of this type of program? Please send me your thoughts at nikki@ayersrepairs.com or call me at 805-962-7316. CalABC Board’s primary concern are the things that are on your mind and are keeping you up at night. CalABC wants to be sure that we’re on track with you and what we work on daily is relevant to our members.

Thank you for helping us continue to be at the table again this month! 

Member referrals and donations are always appreciated! See you in April at our Lunch and Learn! Please rsvp to Johan Gallo at gallojm1@outlook.com if you plan to attend the Lunch & Learn and Board of Director’s meeting.
Be prosperous,

Thank you, Nikki
Nikki Ayers
President CalABC
Owner Ayers Automotive
Santa Barbara California

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We’re reviewing all the new bills introduced for 2019 and these are the bills that Jack Molodanof has recommended we consider for this year. 

Assembly Member Low may gut and amend AB 496 to address the commitment he made to the media. Senator Hertzberg introduced SB 342 regarding consumer complaints that could be used if amended to address this idea of a rating system for automotive repair and BAR. We will be very active again this year, with Jack Molodanof working these bills to ensure they are amended, and the authors have the right language in the bill or work to defeat the bill and seek Governor Newsom’s veto if necessary. Keep in mind this doesn’t even include employee/employer bills. Send your thoughts on these to Johan Gallo so he can share them with the Board of Directors and Jack Molodanof. 
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CalABC has been working with Cliff Costa and Alisa Reinhardt with the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) to develop a vehicle donation program that would enable the donation of cars to school automotive programs that would have otherwise been taken to the dismantlers for crushing. They held a conference with CNCDA, BAR, CARB and CalABC’s Executive Director, Johan Gallo to discuss what would be required to shift these vehicles from being crushed to schools for training purposes. Initially it was thought that either a regulatory or legislative action would be required, but after further conversation, it was decided byCalifornia Air Resources Board (CARB) that a Memorandum of Understanding with the various departments noted above and the Department of Education would be adequate to spell out the terms and conditions where these “scrap” vehicles would be donated to the schools with automotive programs and they would have a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Non-Operational registration to indicate they are never to be registered and titled for road use. In addition, once the school no longer sees the vehicle has a useful training purpose and is done with the vehicle, it would be transferred back to the dismantler for crushing to complete the terms of the “scrap” vehicle program and CARB would receive the credits like any other vehicle that’s scrapped. This is a great program that helps get schools vehicles that can be used for training and frees up their financial resources to buy training tools, equipment and materials.

We will keep you updated on the vehicle donation program and provide you with a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) once it is completed.

Governor Newsom is a proponent of Career Technical Education and this year we have two education bills that have been introduced.

AB 1303, O’Donnell, California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program:
Strong Workforce Program. This bill would instead specify that the purpose of the program is to encourage, maintain, and strengthen the delivery of high-quality career technical education programs. The bill would specify that, upon appropriation by the Legislature, $450,000,000 shall be made available for the program to the department each year for the 2018–19 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter. The bill would, commencing with the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019, reduce the required match from a grant applicant to $1 for each $1 received from the program.

This bill would add regional occupational centers or programs operated by county offices of education to the entities authorized to be grant recipients under the program.
This bill would instead require that regional career technical education coordinators funded, subject to the enactment of an appropriation for that purpose in the Budget Act or another statute, would provide technical assistance and support to grant recipients.

This bill would terminate the appropriation for the K-12 component of the Strong Workforce Program after the 2018–19 fiscal year. The bill would move the provisions of the K-12 component of the Strong Workforce Program to the elementary and secondary education part of the Education Code, would render these provisions inoperative on July 1, 2020, and would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2021.

SB 643, Roth. Career technical education:

Existing law establishes, in the State Department of Education, a career technical education staff responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of a basic integrated statewide information system for career technical education and technical training. Existing law requires the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to collect and maintain information related to career technical education and technical training within the California Community Colleges for inclusion within the integrated statewide information system. With respect to this integrated statewide information system, existing law specifies that its data gathering, and analysis capabilities include maintaining a comprehensive inventory of all career technical education and technical training programs that are maintained by the public schools.
This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

ADA Lawsuits on the rise ALERT!
It has been reported that businesses in California are once again seeing an increase of ADA Violation type lawsuits being filed against businesses by plaintiffs’ attorneys. This is the first we’ve heard of it since the passage of SB 269 (ROTH) back in 2016. The purpose of SB 269 was to allow a business a timeframe to correct out of line conditions after being served notice they are not compliant with ADA laws and regulations. Below is the bill’s analysis that led to Governor Brown signing it into law in 2016 and provides you with the key information on SB 269. The entire bill can be found on this link < MORE >.

1) Establishes a presumption that certain "technical violations" are presumed to not cause a person difficulty, discomfort or embarrassment for the purpose of an award of minimum statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim, where the defendant is a small business, the defendant has corrected, within 15 days of the service of a summons and complaint asserting a construction-related accessibility claim or receipt of a written notice, whichever is earlier, all of the technical violations that are the basis of the claim, and the claim is based on one or more of the following violations:

a) Interior signs, other than directional signs or signs that identify the location of accessible elements, facilities, or features, when all such elements, facilities or features are accessible;

b) The lack of exterior signs, other than parking signs and, directional signs (including, signs that indicate the location of accessible pathways or entrance and exit doors when not all pathways, entrance and exit doors are accessible);

c) The order in which parking signs are placed or the exact location or wording of parking signs, provided that the parking sign is clearly visible and indicates the location of accessible parking and van-accessible parking;

d) The color of parking signs, provided that the color of the background contrasts with the color of the information on the sign;

e) The color of parking lot striping, provided that it exists and provides sufficient contrast with the surface upon which it is applied is reasonably visible;

f) Faded, chipped, damaged or deteriorated paint in otherwise fully compliant parking spaces and passenger access aisles in parking lots, provided that it indicates the required dimensions of a parking space or access aisle in a manner that is reasonably visible; or

g) The presence or condition of detectable warning surfaces on ramps, except where the ramp is part of a pedestrian path of travel that intersects with a vehicular lane or other hazardous area.

2) States that the above presumption affects the plaintiff’s burden of proof and is rebuttable by a preponderance of the evidence showing that the plaintiff did, in fact, experience difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment on the particular occasion as a result of one or more of the technical violations listed in 1) above.

3) Protects certain businesses from liability for minimum statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim made during the 120 day period after the business obtains an inspection of its premises by a CASp, under specified conditions.

4) Makes a number of related technical and enabling changes to the law.
Background Since 1969, persons with disabilities have enjoyed protection under Civil Code Sections 54 and 54.1, which entitle individuals with disabilities and medical conditions to full and free access to and use of roadways, sidewalks, buildings and facilities open to the public, hospitals and medical facilities, and housing. After Congress enacted the ADA in 1990, the state made a violation of the ADA also a violation of Section 54 or 54.1. A violation of the ADA also constitutes a violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, either of which subject a person to actual damages incurred by an injured party, plus treble actual damages, but in no event less than $4,000.

The California Legislature has taken further steps to ensure disability access laws are complied with. SB 262 (Kuehl, Chapter 872, Statutes of 2003) established in the Division of the State Architect, a voluntary "access specialist certification program" in order to assist business and property owners in complying with ADA and state access laws. Since that time, several bills have been introduced that would have precluded an action for damages for a de minimus violation, allowing only injunctive relief and attorney’s fees. All of those bills failed passage in the Judiciary Committees of their respective houses.

In 2012, Senators Steinberg and Dutton authored SB 1186 (Chapter 383, Statutes of 2012) which sought to comprehensively address continued issues with disability litigation. 

SB 1186 created a number of protections for small businesses and defendants who had, prior to a claim being filed, sought out a CASp inspection. These protections included reduced minimum statutory damages, early evaluation conferences, and mandatory stays of court proceedings while the violations were corrected. That bill also prevented the stacking of multiple claims to increase damages, banned pre-litigation demands for money, and increased data collection regarding alleged access violations.

This bill SB 269, is seeking to further promote compliance among small businesses by allowing a business owner 90 days from the date of a CASp inspection to fix violations before being subject to liability, also protects small businesses from liability for certain violations if the business corrected the violation within 15 days of receiving notice of the potential violation. 

This bill also creates tax incentives for businesses to correct violations, and requires the State Architect and the California Commission on Disability Compliance to post specified information to their respective Web sites for the purpose of educating the public on disability access laws.

Monday, March 11, 2019

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