What is Assembly Bill 2138?

Learn the details of Assembly Bill 2138. Find out how it could affect your ability to get a contractor's license or a license renewal. Discover how it changes the existing law.

Contractors in California must have a proper license to do any work. Without the license, they are breaking the law. So, it is essential for contractors to understand the licensing laws, including recent changes. One such change is Assembly Bill 2138 that will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

Changes to take place

According to the Contractors State License Board, this new law will make some changes as to how the licensing board approaches applications. The main changes are how the board must deal with criminal convictions in applicant's past. It essentially stops the board from making a denial only on the basis of a criminal background.

The law states that the board cannot use a criminal background that is not a conviction. This means it cannot consider pardons, dismissals or arrests. It also must consider rehabilitation and not issue a denial for a construction contractor who shows rehabilitation. The board also can no longer ask the applicant to provide his or her criminal history.

What the new law does allow the board to do is continue to issue a denial based on a conviction if it was within the last seven years without having to consider the relation of the crime to the work duties, incarceration status or sex offender registration requirements.

How this differs from the old law

The changes in the new law, according to California Legislative Information, is mainly to how the board may approach criminal convictions and the requirements to report criminal convictions by contractors. As mentioned, contractors do not have to disclose criminal history anymore. The old law states not telling the board is failure to disclose and a reason for automatic denial.

The old law allowed a blanket approach to denying a license if a contractor had any criminal history. This included some situations that were not an actual conviction.

What contractors should do

Most contractors will not see much change to their licensing process as this new law really only affects those with a criminal past. However, some contractors who were denied a license in the past may now find they can get an approval from the board thanks to the changes in the law.

If you are a contractor who was denied a license previously, you should consider contacting an attorney, such as Last & Faoro. An attorney may be able to help you navigate the new licensing laws and assist you with the licensing process once they go into effect.