With the passage of the CMSA-sponsored AB 2118 household goods
carrier bill almost one year ago, CMSA has provided the California
Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff with additional tools
required in leveling the playing field for licensed movers in
California and protecting consumers from being scammed by unlicensed
moving companies. While most provisions in the bill have been
effective January 1, 2013, a system of electronic transmission of
moving documents was to be established by July 1, 2013. Since
Governor Brown signed the bill into law, CMSA has been working with
CPUC officials in getting the electronic document transmission
section of AB 2118 ready for commercial use.
As of August 15, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission
had approved Resolution TL-19109, which included the electronic
transmission language from AB 2118. Now, California moving companies
may add CPUC-approved electronic documents as an option for sending
moving documents to consumers.
What does this mean for CMSA
CMSA members are able to transmit moving documents to the shipper
electronically. To do this, movers must send Item 475 (”Shippers
Consent to Use of Electronic Documents and Electronic Signatures”)
to the shipper. Once this form has been signed by the shipper and
returned to the moving company, movers would then be allowed to
electronically send documents to its shippers.
There are a number of ways to follow this requirement. One option
would be for moving companies to scan and send the documents to the
shippers. The shippers then print the documents, and sign, scan and
send the documents back to the companies to process. Another option
would be for moving companies to create their own documents through
fill-in-the-blank software (for example, DocuSign) for shippers to
electronically sign and transmit the signed documents back to the
company. If supplier companies begin creating and selling electronic
fillable forms, moving companies can buy these e-forms and send them
to their clients as well.
All signed electronic documents have the same legal standing and
require the same retention requirements as its hard copy
How did CMSA get involved with AB 2118?
This journey has been a tough, but worthwhile endeavor for CMSA, to
the benefit of its members and potential consumers.
In December 2011, John Skoglund, then-Assemblymember Betsy Butler’s
staffer in Sacramento, was first to contact CMSA for an industry
outlook on the proposed AB 2118. With what was expected to be a few
comments or issues to add to the existing bill, John Skoglund
entered into a full-scale industry discussion with CMSA President
Steve Weitekamp for almost an hour. Floored by the number of issues
that were raised, Skoglund asked Weitekamp to meet Assemblymember
Butler in Sacramento to brief her on the current issues of the
Public Utilities Code inflexibility and illegal operators.
After accepting the invitation to Sacramento, Weitekamp assembled a
CMSA-member group to help represent these concerns to Assemblymember
Butler. With Weitekamp, 2012-2013 CMSA Chairman Dennis Doody of Blue
Chip Moving & Storage Inc., Chris Higdon of California Moving
Systems (who referred Skoglund to CMSA for industry input), CMSA
Legislative Advocate Chuck Cole and CMSA Legal Counsel Mark Hegarty
traveled to Assemblymember Butler’s office to address licensed
moving companies’ concerns with the industry code and items that
should be incorporated in the AB 2118 bill.
Weitekamp had to make a few extra trips to Sacramento for the
redevelopment of the bill. Some were good meetings and some were
difficult meetings. In order to keep the important industry changes
in the bill, some of the non-essential parts had to be withdrawn.
After many conference calls, extra work hours and some concessions,
AB 2118 passed the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
AB 2118 Highlights
Below are the main highlights of AB 2118 that will benefit not only
CMSA members but all licensed moving companies and consumers for
Brokers will be required to be permitted and follow all the same
rules and regulations as permitted carriers.
Any individuals or companies that are proven to falsify a CPUC
permit, CMSA membership or place of business will be a direct Public
Utilities Code violation and can be punishable with daily fines up
CPUC must develop a program (which is to send shippers the Item 475
form to fill out and submit to moving companies) to allow carriers
to transmit moving documents electronically.
Other areas of the code have been modified to assure that there will
be minimum fines for non-permitted carriers and that no scenarios
will exist where the fines for the activities of non-permitted
carriers would be less than what they would be for legal operators.
For questions about AB 2118 or the procedure to electronically
transmit moving documents to consumers, please contact the CMSA
office at (562) 865-2900.