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AB-1705 State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind: guide dog instructors.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 07/17/2017 10:00 AM
AB1705:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 17, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 30, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 02, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1705


Introduced by Committee on Business and Professions (Assembly Members Assembly Member Low (Chair), Brough (Vice Chair), Arambula, Baker, Bloom, Chiu, Dahle, Gipson, Grayson, Holden, Mullin, Steinorth, and Ting)

March 02, 2017


An act to amend Sections 7200, 7203, 7215.6, and 7215.7 of, and to add and repeal Section 7218 of, repeal and add Chapter 9.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to professions and vocations.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1705, as amended, Committee on Business and Professions Low. State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Blind: guide dog instructors.
Existing law, until January 1, 2018, establishes within the Department of Consumer Affairs a State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind, which consists of 7 members appointed by the Governor. Existing law authorizes the board to issue licenses for the instruction of persons who are blind or visually impaired in the use of guide dogs and for the training of guide dogs for use by persons who are blind or visually impaired. Under existing law, the board also has exclusive authority in this state to issue licenses to operate schools for the training of guide dogs and the instruction of persons who are blind or visually impaired in the use of guide dogs. Existing law makes it unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, give, hire, or furnish under any other arrangement, any guide dog or to engage in the business or occupation of training a guide dog unless he or she holds a valid and unimpaired license issued pursuant to the provisions governing guide dogs. A violation of those provisions is a crime.
This bill would repeal those provisions. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for any person to use in any sign, business card, or letterhead, or in any advertisement, the words “guide dog instructor,” “certified guide dog instructor,” or any other terms or letters indicating or implying that he or she is an instructor trained in the utilization or training of guide dogs for the blind, or to represent or hold himself or herself out as a guide dog instructor without being employed by a guide dog school certified by the International Guide Dog Federation or a successor entity. Because this bill would create a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also require a guide dog school to submit to the Department of Consumer Affairs, on or before September 1 of each year, a list of all trainers or guide dog instructors employed or contracted by the school.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

This bill would extend the term of the board to January 1, 2019. The bill would establish, until May 1, 2019, an advisory task force under the jurisdiction of the board. Not later than May 1, 2018, the bill would require the Director of Consumer Affairs to appoint the task force members. The bill would require the task force to prepare a specified written report with recommendations regarding, among other things, the role of the board. Not later than May 1, 2019, the bill would require the written report to be delivered to the Governor and certain legislative leaders and committees.

Existing law requires the board to organize and elect from its membership a president, vice president, and secretary who shall hold office for one year or until the election and qualification of a successor.

This bill would eliminate the secretary position.

Existing law, until January 1, 2018, establishes a pilot project to provide an arbitration procedure for the purpose of resolving disputes between a guide dog user and a licensed guide dog school, as specified.

This bill would extend the operation of that pilot project to January 1, 2019.

Existing law, until January 1, 2018, requires the board to prepare a factsheet regarding various functions of the board, to post that factsheet on its Internet Web site, and to provide copies to each of the licensed guide dog schools. Existing law, until January 1, 2018, also requires a licensed guide dog school to provide copies of the factsheet to every student receiving training from that school.

This bill would extend the operation of these factsheet provisions indefinitely.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NOYES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 9.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 9.5 (commencing with Section 7200) is added to Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:
CHAPTER  9.5. Guide Dogs for the Blind

7200.
 Any person who uses in any sign, business card, or letterhead, or in any advertisement, the words “guide dog instructor,” “certified guide dog instructor,” or any other terms or letters indicating or implying that he or she is an instructor trained in the utilization or training of guide dogs for the blind, or who represents or holds himself or herself out as a guide dog instructor, without being employed by a guide dog school certified by the International Guide Dog Federation, or a successor entity, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

7201.
 For purposes of this chapter:
(a) “Guide dog instructor” means a person who instructs or trains persons who are blind or visually impaired in the use of guide dogs or who engages in the business of training, selling, hiring, or supplying guide dogs for persons who are blind or visually impaired.
(b) “Guide dog” means a dog that has been trained or is being trained to assist blind or visually impaired individuals. For purposes of this chapter, “guide dog” is used to describe a “service dog.”

7202.
 A guide dog school shall submit to the Department of Consumer Affairs on or before September 1 of each year a list of all trainers or guide dog instructors employed or contracted by the school. The department shall not charge a fee for the collection of this data.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SECTION 1.Section 7200 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:
7200.

(a)There is in the Department of Consumer Affairs a State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind in whom enforcement of this chapter is vested. The board shall consist of seven members appointed by the Governor. One member shall be the Director of Rehabilitation or his or her designated representative. The remaining members shall be persons who have shown a particular interest in dealing with the problems of persons who are blind or visually impaired and at least three of them shall be persons who are blind or visually impaired who use guide dogs.

(b)This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2019, and as of that date is repealed. Notwithstanding any other law, the repeal of this section renders the board subject to review by the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature.

SEC. 2.Section 7203 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:
7203.

The board shall organize and elect from its membership a president and vice president who shall hold office for one year or until the election and qualification of a successor.

SEC. 3.Section 7215.6 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:
7215.6.

(a)In order to provide a procedure for the resolution of disputes between guide dog users and guide dog schools relating to the continued physical custody and use of a guide dog, in all cases except those in which the dog user is the unconditional legal owner of the dog, the following arbitration procedure shall be established as a pilot project.

(b)This procedure establishes an arbitration panel for the settlement of disputes between a guide dog user and a licensed guide dog school regarding the continued use of a guide dog by the user in all cases except those in which the dog user is the unconditional legal owner of the dog. The disputes that may be subject to this procedure concern differences between the user and school over whether or not a guide dog should continue to be used, differences between the user and school regarding the treatment of a dog by the user, and differences over whether or not a user should continue to have custody of a dog pending investigation of charges of abuse. It specifically does not address issues such as admissions to schools, training practices, or other issues relating to school standards. The board and its representative are not parties to any dispute described in this section.

(c)The licensed guide dog schools in California and the board shall provide to guide dog users graduating from guide dog programs in these schools a new avenue for the resolution of disputes that involve continued use of a guide dog, or the actual physical custody of a guide dog. Guide dog users who are dissatisfied with decisions of schools regarding continued use of guide dogs may appeal to the board to convene an arbitration panel composed of all of the following:

(1)One person designated by the guide dog user.

(2)One person designated by the licensed guide dog school.

(3)A representative of the board who shall coordinate the activities of the panel and serve as chair.

(d)If the guide dog user or guide dog school wishes to utilize the arbitration panel, this must be stated in writing to the board. The findings and decision of the arbitration panel shall be final and binding. By voluntarily agreeing to having a dispute resolved by the arbitration panel and subject to its procedures, each party to the dispute shall waive any right for subsequent judicial review.

(e)(1)A licensed guide dog school that fails to comply with any provision of this section shall automatically be subject to a penalty of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) per day for each day in which a violation occurs. The penalty shall be paid to the board. The license of a guide dog school shall not be renewed until all penalties have been paid.

(2)The penalty shall be assessed without advance hearing, but the licensee may apply to the board for a hearing on the issue of whether the penalty should be modified or set aside. This application shall be in writing and shall be received by the board within 30 days after service of notice of the penalty. Upon receipt of this written request, the board shall set the matter for hearing within 60 days.

(f)As a general rule, custody of the guide dog shall remain with the guide dog user pending a resolution by the arbitration panel. In circumstances where the immediate health and safety of the guide dog user or guide dog is threatened, the licensed school may take custody of the dog at once. However, if the dog is removed from the user’s custody without the user’s concurrence, the school shall provide to the board the evidence that caused this action to be taken at once and without fail; and within five calendar days a special committee of two members of the board shall make a determination regarding custody of the dog pending hearing by the arbitration panel.

(g)(1)The arbitration panel shall decide the best means to determine final resolution in each case. This shall include, but is not limited to, a hearing of the matter before the arbitration panel at the request of either party to the dispute, an opportunity for each party in the dispute to make presentations before the arbitration panel, examination of the written record, or any other inquiry as will best reveal the facts of the disputes. In any case, the panel shall make its findings and complete its examination within 45 calendar days of the date of filing the request for arbitration, and a decision shall be rendered within 10 calendar days of the examination.

(2)All arbitration hearings shall be held at sites convenient to the parties and with a view to minimizing costs. Each party to the arbitration shall bear its own costs, except that the arbitration panel, by unanimous agreement, may modify this arrangement.

(h)The board may study the effectiveness of the arbitration panel pilot project in expediting resolution and reducing conflict in disputes between guide dog users and guide dog schools and may share its findings with the Legislature upon request.

(i)This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2019, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 4.Section 7215.7 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:
7215.7.

(a)The board shall prepare a factsheet that shall contain all of the following:

(1)A description of the purposes served by the board.

(2)A description of the board’s role in assisting guide dog users who are victims of alleged guide dog discrimination.

(3)A description of the board’s arbitration procedure under Section 7215.6.

(b)The board shall post the factsheet on its Internet Web site and provide copies to each guide dog school licensed pursuant to this chapter. A school licensed under this chapter shall provide a copy of the factsheet to every student receiving training from that school.

SEC. 5.Section 7218 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:
7218.

(a)An advisory task force is hereby established under the jurisdiction of the board. Not later than May 1, 2018, the Director of Consumer Affairs shall appoint the members of the task force.

(b)The task force shall prepare a written report with recommendations on the role and the mission of the board and if there is a continued need for the regulation of guide dog schools, guide dog trainers, and fundraising programs.

(c)(1)Not later than May 1, 2019, the written report shall be delivered to the Governor, the Senate Committee on Rules, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions, and the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development.

(2)The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(d)This section shall remain in effect only until May 1, 2019, and as of that date is repealed.