Legislation and Regulations Update

The following are updates on various legislative and regulatory proposals. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, given the nature of the legislative process, the information provided may not reflect the latest updates. The most current bill information is located on the California Legislative Information website at www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. For more information on legislation or regulation proposals, or to learn about future opportunities for public participation, visit the About BAR page at www.bar.ca.gov.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1174 was vetoed by Governor Brown on September 22, 2016. This bill would have required BAR to adopt regulations regarding its processes for handling and mediating consumer complaints (excluding those processes related to undercover investigations), and to post these regulations on BAR’s website. The bill would also have required BAR to track and retain data on complaint mediation results, including the types of complaints filed, the remedies sought and obtained by consumers, and the number of complaints handled. BAR would have been required to report these results to the Legislature on an annual basis beginning January 1, 2018.

AB 873 was signed by Governor Brown on September 30, 2016. However, the enactment of AB 873 was contingent upon the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 778 which was vetoed by Governor Brown on September 30, 2016. This bill would have provided installation of propulsive batteries is not a minor service. Prior to January 1, 2018, the bill would have required BAR to adopt comprehensive regulations defining "minor services." On and after January 1, 2018, the bill would have removed the current exemption from Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) registration for certain repairs and would have defined "repair of motor vehicles" to exclude "minor services as determined through regulations adopted by BAR" and "roadside services." The exemption for "roadside services" would have included tow trucks enrolled in the Basic Inspection of Terminals Program and motor clubs.

Senate Bill (SB) 778 was vetoed by Governor Brown on September 30, 2016. This bill would have made several important changes to existing law, including:

  • Creating a new business registration type for businesses providing oil changes and certain other services currently listed as "minor" under the Automotive Repair Act. Automobile maintenance providers (AMPs) would have been subject to certain estimate requirements.

  • Requiring that ARD's and AMPs that provide oil changes must, when recommending an oil change interval, follow the vehicle owner's manual unless the customer chooses a different interval, or else discloses the reasons for not doing so on the invoice.

  • Adopting the provisions of AB 873, with certain modifications to adapt these provisions to the AMP licensing framework. For example, SB 778 would have defined "minor services" so mean the services provided by an AMP.

  • Exempting BAR from Department of General Services (DGS) procurement rules for purchasing vehicles used in its undercover operations.

Disciplinary Guidelines

BAR officially adopted the new Disciplinary Guidelines and other regulations related to the disciplinary process on July 28, 2016. The guidelines which are statutorily mandated to be adopted in regulation, are intended to be a resource for those involved in and affected by the disciplinary process, including registrants, licensees, administrative law judges, and BAR enforcement staff. They also promote consistent and appropriate penalties when disciplinary actions are imposed. The changes to the Disciplinary Guidelines are necessary to address legislative and regulatory changes that have occurred since their last revision in May 1997. The guidelines also include a new probationary registration and license process.

Windshield Replacement Standards

Windshields are an important safety feature in motor vehicles and are manufactured and installed according to certain standards to have sufficient strength and bonding to the vehicle to prevent ejection during a crash. On October 17, 2016, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved BAR's proposed regulation requiring that the products and procedures involved in windshield installation and replacement meet accepted trade standards. The regulation also requires disclosures to the customer of the cure time necessary to safely drive the vehicle, the date and time upon which installation was completed, and whether the windshield supplied is an original or non-original equipment manufacturer part. This regulation will take effect January 1, 2017.

Advertising Requirements for Mobile Automotive Repair Services

At the request of the automotive industry, BAR has proposed a new regulation concerning advertising requirements for ARDs who perform mobile repairs. The regulation will assist BAR in combating unlicensed activity. ARDs whose business model relies primarily on mobile repair typically advertise on the internet and are more difficult to monitor than other repair dealers since they do not operate out of a registered business address. Public workshops were held in July and October 2014.

A public hearing was held on March 14, 2016, and a 15-day notice period for modified text ran from August 16 to August 30, 2016. The regulation is under the Department of Consumer Affairs' final review before filing with OAL.

BAR-97 EIS Update

BAR is working on a regulation change to require an internet connection to the Vehicle Information Database (VID) instead of the traditional dial-up line for BAR-97 inspections. The proposed regulation would also require the use of a BAR-97 certified to an updated specification currently under development at BAR. See related BAR-97 EIS Changes article for more information.

BAR held a regulation workshop on these changes on October 20, 2016.

Smog Check Training Institutions and Instructors

This proposed regulation will update and revise the requirements for certification of training institutions and instructors to create consistency with Smog Check licensing requirements. The regulation will also replace the technologically out-of-date Bureau of Automotive Repair Standards document with the new Bureau Training Programs Standards document, which sets forth the minimum standards to provide training for Smog Check licensees. Finally, the proposed regulation would allow vehicle manufacturer training to satisfy the renewal requirements for the Smog Check repair technician license.

The next step for this proposed regulation is filing of notice with OAL.

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