Sen. Dodd’s worker protection bill clears committee

SACRAMENTO – Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to protect employees of contractors by ensuring compliance with California’s workers’ compensation laws cleared a key committee on Monday.

“For the most part, contractors do carry workers’ compensation insurance but too often, they do not,” Sen. Bill Dodd said. “My bill will eliminate barriers to coverage so we can protect those employees who might be injured on the job.”

In California, there are about 230,000 licensed contractors in 44 different areas, from general building and engineering to electricians, plumbers and landscapers.

About 55 percent claim they have no employees, making them exempt from a requirement to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

However, research and enforcement from the Contractors State Licensing Board suggests many of these claims are false, creating a widespread problem leaving workers unprotected.

Senate Bill 216 would require all concrete, heating and air conditioning and tree service contractors to carry the insurance, regardless of whether they claim employees or not. Further, it would require that by 2025, all licensed contractors in the state carry workers’ compensation insurance.

SB 216, which is sponsored by the Contractors State License Board, was approved by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development committee. It heads next to Appropriations.

Dodd represents the Third Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa and Sacramento counties.