Happy New Year to all! We at the Hartnett Law Group have made the resolution to keep you as apprised as possible to all new laws and changes that will go into effect in 2012. As part of that ongoing resolution, we have gathered a summary of changes in the law that may affect you and your business as they go into effect in 2012. Probably most significantly, a new California law, SB 459, went into effect on January 1, 2012. SB 459 is likely the most important and significant legislation for any California employer to be aware of this year. and is probably the most significant piece of new employment-related legislation for. SB 459, in short, states that the “willful” misclassification of independent contractors will become in and of itself an unlawful act that will subject an employer to fines of $5,000 to $25,000 for each violation as well as other significant disciplinary action.
Please see below for a short synopsis of other laws that will go into effect in 2012. For more information, please see our blog, which will contain a more detailed analysis of various new legislation.
· Limited Liability Companies are now able to apply for contractor licenses in California, in compliance with Senate Bill 392. LLC officers interested in obtaining a contractor license must fill out a form specific to LLCs to initiate the process. That form is now available on the CSLB website. You can visit the CSLB website athttp://www.cslb.ca.gov/.
· Assembly Bill 397 requires a contractor who certifies that he/she has no employees and is exempt from carrying a workers’ compensation policy to submit a new certification, or proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage or self-insurance, each time the license is up for renewal. ( Please note: C-39 Roofing contractors must still purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage even if they certify they have no employees, as required by Business and Professions Code section 7125)
· Assembly Bill 551 increases the fines for contractors who fail to pay prevailing wage on public works projects and for failure to provide certified payroll records in a timely fashion. It also requires the Labor Commissioner to notify CSLB when it updates its lists for these violations, and to annually notify awarding bodies of the availability of debarred contractors.
· Assembly Bill 766, a companion to Assembly Bill 551, requires that certified copies of the payroll records be made available to members of the Joint Enforcement Strike Force on the Underground Economy or other law enforcement on request. If such records are requested by the public, information on the employees would not be included.
· Assembly Bill 1307 states that CSLB may discipline a license for failure to resolve outstanding final liabilities assessed by the Board of Equalization, in addition to the current disciplinary laws coordinated between CSLB and the Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department, and Department of Industrial Relations.
· Assembly Bill 1424 requires CSLB to state on its applications that the law allows the Board of Equalization and Franchise Tax Board to share information with CSLB and that a license may be suspended for failure to pay state taxes.
· As of July 1, 2012: Senate Bill 190 makes technical changes to the mechanic’s lien overhaul legislation passed last year (SB 189) that is to take effect on July 1, 2012. Please see our blog for ongoing information and changes with respect to SB 189.
· Senate Bill 424 allows a design professional lien to be converted to a mechanic’s lien if the design professional lien expires, and remains partially or fully unpaid.
· Assembly Bill 456 makes clear that the proof of service affidavit that must accompany a mechanic’s lien filing to validate the lien must show the name of the property owner and the title or capacity in which the person or entity was served the claim of lien.
· Senate Bill 341 requires that construction vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or more be equipped an automatic backup alarm audible from 200 feet under normal conditions.
· Senate Bill 221 increases the jurisdiction for small claims court from $7,500 to $10,000.
· Assembly Bill 1091 requires that CSLB be notified within 90 days of a Responsible Managing Officer’s (RMO) or Employee’s (RME) disassociation from the license. The bill also enables a 90-day extension in limited circumstances to replace the qualifier for the license.
If you have any questions or would like a more detailed analysis of the above changes in the law, please do not hesitate to visit our blog for more information. The above information was obtained, and is available, from the Contractors State License Board website athttp://www.cslb.ca.gov/. If we can be of any assistance to you in 2012, as always, please feel free to contact us at the Hartnett Law Group.
Meghan E. George, Esq.
Hartnett Law Group
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