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California Grooming Bill Still Excessive, PIJAC Warns

Despite several amendments to a bill that would now establish a voluntary groomer certification program, the Washington, D.C.-based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council urged California pet groomers to oppose the current legislation at a hearing tomorrow.

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EDITORS' NOTE: The California Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection postponed the June 19 hearing to Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The bill was amended on June 20, but PIJAC maintained its opposition to the bill.

Despite several amendments to a bill that would now establish a voluntary groomer certification program, the Washington, D.C.-based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council urged California pet groomers to oppose the current legislation at a hearing tomorrow.

The proposed legislation contains several provisions that would place undue burdens on pet groomers and others that would be difficult to enforce, PIJAC warned in an industry notice sent out late Friday afternoon.

As amended, Senate Bill 969, which passed the Senate on May 30 and has been assigned to the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, would create a California Pet Grooming Council to oversee the certification program for people that bathe, brush, clip or style pets for compensation in California. The original bill mandated licensing for groomers in the state.

The amended legislation would make it an unfair business practice for people engaged in pet grooming to advertise or promote themselves as register, certified or licensed pet groomers without being certified and regulated by the council. The legislation would also establish requirements and obligations necessary for certification as either a pet groomer or a pet bather and brusher.

The bill also sets forth standards for disciplining certified groomers and bathers and authorizes the council to establish a fee schedule. The legislation calls for that fee schedule to include, but not be limited to, application and examination fees, initial certification fees, renewal fees, reinstatement fees, delinquency fees, duplicate certificate fees, and processing fees (not to exceed $20).

If approved, the certification program would last until Jan. 1, 2017, unless the legislation later votes to extend or end the program.

PIJAC is recommending further amendments to SB 969, including removing an “expensive, burdensome and unnecessary” examination requirement, ensure the grooming council is constituted to “effectively” accomplish its purpose, streamline and cap the fee structure, establish “reasonable” training requirements, remove “excessive” insurance requirements, limit the grooming council’s ability to discipline certificate holders, modify a requirement to provide “unnecessary” personal information about grooms to law enforcement agencies upon request, and amend a provision allowing an injunction against groomers.

The Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at 9 a.m. in Room 447 of the state Capitol in Sacramento.

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