The 2020 session of the California State Legislature is starting to shape up, although the
deadline to introduce new bills for this year is still a week away. It is very likely that up to 1,500
bills will be introduced in the next seven to ten days. Those introductions will provide
perspective on key issues that might affect the swimming pool and spa industry; however, up to
about 40% of those bill introductions are simply placeholder bills that will become more flushed
out as policy committee hearings begin in late March or April.
California Pool & Spa Association (CPSA) does not just monitor and lobby the State Legislature,
for our advocacy efforts include up to 10 state agencies that have some regulatory authority
over the industry such as the California Building Standards Commission, California Contractors
State License Board, California Department of Water Resources, California Energy Commission
and California Public Utilities Commission.
Additionally, CPSA monitors the agendas of all 458 California cities for issues that affect the
swimming pool and spa industry such as emergency water use restrictions, interpretation of the
state barrier statutes, and new ordinances banning the use of natural gas and propane on new
commercial and residential buildings.
Dynamex/AB 5 (Gonzalez)
In our last CPSA Alert, we outlined the trials and tribulations of Dynamex and AB 5 (Gonzalez,
Chapter 296, Statutes of 2019). In that Alert, we discussed various newly introduced bills
proposing to amend AB 5, as well as several legal challenges to the bill. There is little doubt AB
5 and Dynamex will continue to be a headline issue for the remainder of the 2020 legislative
session. The only significant change since our last Alert is that a Federal judge refused a request
for an injunction by Uber, Lyft and Postmates on due process and equal protection grounds.
This means it is highly unlikely AB 5 will be thrown out legally, as no other lawsuit has
challenged the statute in its entirety. CPSA will continue to update its members on further
developments regarding this issue and will take any opportunity to clarify the provisions of the
bill we were successful in obtaining last year for the pool and spa industry.
With Democrat supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, there are no restrictions on
passing new tax laws, including the service tax. Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg
continues to advocate for some form of service tax to end the state’s dependence on income
taxes on the wealthy. Last session Senator Hertzberg decided not to try to move the bill, but
with new bonds and taxes on the ballot in November, now may be the time to seriously
consider this option. In the bill’s latest iteration, the service tax would only apply to business-
to-business services as a start to a more expansive reach. We will monitor this issue closely in
The Governor and State Legislature are committed to reducing greenhouse gases 40% below
1990 levels by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2050. Last year CPSA filed comments in
opposition to proposed bans on the use of natural gas in two regulatory hearings before the
California Energy Commission and California Public Utilities Commission. The association also
filed numerous comments in opposition to cities in Northern California that proposed to adopt
so-called REACH Codes that would ban the use of natural gas and propane in any new
residential or commercial construction beginning as early as the first of 2020. CPSA has also
retained legal counsel to file an amicus brief in the case brought by the California Restaurant
Association challenging the adoption of a natural gas ban by the City of Berkeley.
As cities and regulatory agencies run into opposition on proposed new ordinances and
regulations, it is extremely likely this issue will end up back in the California Legislature. CPSA
and its coalition members including the California Business Roundtable, California Restaurant
Association, California Business Properties Association and California Association of Realtors
will be ready.
Pool Barrier Statutes
CPSA regularly responds to pool builders who are confronted by different building department
interpretations of the state’s pool barrier statutes. While some departments want to mandate
certain barriers, other departments either refuse to allow one or more of the seven options or
try to require the pool builder to choose one barrier from each of a group of barriers developed
from the seven options. Given the confusion or disparities with the law by various jurisdictions,
CPSA is concerned and on the lookout for any legislation addressing this topic. Organizations
committed to ending accidental children’s deaths are well funded and have the support of first
responder organizations and the life insurance industry.
Outdoor Water Use
After a one-year respite, the Department of Water Resources is back on task in developing
quotas for outdoor water use as mandated by legislation enacted two years ago and signed by
Governor Jerry Brown. CPSA has been heavily involved in this regulatory effort and retained key
water use consultants with expertise in the State’s Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.
Outdoor water use quotas are to be developed by 2022. CPSA’s task is to ensure swimming
pools and spas continue to be treated differently than decorative water features and make
certain there are adequate outside water quotas to support swimming pools and spas.
Labor and Transportation Bills
Lastly, there are two other key areas where CPSA is involved. The association is actively
involved with the California Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent
Businesses in fighting against more bad labor and workplace bills. With the oversized influence
of organized labor organizations, too many bad bills have been passed over the last couple of
years. We will continue our work here, especially when it comes to obtaining exemptions for
Transportation issues, especially relative to carrying pool chemicals, is something CPSA is
always on the lookout for legislatively. The pool industry is the only industry that can legally
carry toxic chemicals in open trucks where the chemicals are not locked up and secured.
However, it only takes one high-profile accident to place this exemption under scrutiny.
With over 3,000 bills introduced each legislative session, there will be issues that have the
potential to adversely affect the swimming pool and spa business in California. We cannot
anticipate every issue or event that might lead to a subject that the Legislature feels it must
address, i.e. a high-profile drowning, a builder defrauding homeowner, or an accident involving
a pool service truck resulting in a hazmat cleanup. Whatever might develop over the legislative
session, California Pool & Spa Association will be there to engage on behalf of the industry.
Without your support, CPSA is unable to fight all the necessary battles for the pool and spa
industry in California. Join today!