It being La-La Land an all, if California legislators are finally seriously going to start pushing to put some kind of regulation on home inspections, I cringe to think what the pols will come up with down there.
In 2005 here in Washington State, one inspector got with a legislator and tried to create some kind of a "registration" scheme. Inspectors got wind of it, saw that it was seriously flawed and put pressure on the legislator to back it off. Then in January 2006 a senior state senator tried to push through her own version of a licensing law with a board that was top heavy with non-inspectors - educators, realtors and engineers and not a single inspector.
Even before that legislator submitted her first version of a licensing law to the Senate, the local ASHI chapter got wind of her planes and began to marshal resistance to licensing. Then another association got wind of what the local ASHI guys were doing and tried to throw up their own road blocks. It soon became a contest to see who was resisting more.
It was a waste of time and energy. Some of us agreed that, no matter what we did to resist it, licensing was coming whether we liked it or not; and, if we continued to fight it, we inspectors were liable to end up on the outside looking in as those unaffiliated with our profession decided how best to regulate us. We wanted to have a say in our own destiny and didn't want it to be decided by a bunch of pols who were bitter about some inspection that didn't measure up to the pols' standards. We agreed that it needed to be something that was fair to both consumer and inspectors; and that it had to be a joint effort - not led by one association - and that even independents with no association standing needed to get involved.
A coalition was formed and then a working group. For months, and then years, the coalition's working group worked to thwart that state Senator's efforts. Finally, unable to get her bill out of committee due to efforts by the coalition aided by ASHIWW's lobbyist, she came to the coalition hat in hand and agreed to listen to their concerns. Then, three days before submitting a third version of her proposed legislation, she asked the coalition to proof and edit her draft as necessary. Members of the coalition met on a Sunday and worked late into the evening to re-work the entire piece of legislation and then sent it back to her.
Two days later, she submitted her bill in the Senate with a few tweaks of her own. The next day, as insurance against a double-cross (She'd double-crossed the coalition two years previously), the coalition had a State Representative friendly to the coalition drop a companion bill into the hopper in the house. The companion bill was identical to what they'd sent back to her on Sunday night, without her tweaks. Checkmate! She revised her version and agreed to the coalition's version, The bill sailed through the senate, went over to the house, the house voted to accept it as written and withdrew the companion bill and it got sent back to the senate and on to the Governor's desk. The Governor signed it and it became law 90 days later. The board consisted of seven inspectors - not a single realtor, not a single engineer (well, there was one inspector with an engineering degree and license, but he was chosen for his home inspector input and not because he was an engineer) and not a single non-inspector educator - there was a requirement that one home inspector, who was an educator, hold one position. There was also a requirement that, as much as possible, the board would consist of at least one member from each major association, as well as at least one independent.
Two months after that, the Governor appointed a State Advisory Licensing board - some of whom were members of the coalition - made up of members of all major associations plus independents - and the board got to work creating all of the rules for licensing, continuing education, schools, a state SOP that was unique and not a carbon copy of an association's SOP and an enforceable code-of-ethics. By the time the first licensing deadline for established inspectors came around, the framework was in place.
In the end, those already in the business were required to prove they had been in the business for a minimum number of years, had done a specific number of inspections and had passed the National Home Inspector's Exam (NHIE), the only inspectors exam that had been crafted with the assistance of psychometricians, the point being to require all inspectors in the state to prove they had the basic knowledge needed to do inspections by passing that exam, regardless of their time in the business.
Those new to the business were required to prove they'd completed the mandatory number of training hours, that they'd spent 40 hours accompanying a licensed inspector and had written a specific number of reports, and they were required to pass the NHIE.
All of the time the coalition was working to put together something that would be good for inspectors and consumers alike, they were met by resistance from those in the profession who were opposed to licensing. Lots of folks reviled them on the net - claiming that those on the coalition were designing a system that would put them above others and enrich them and that it was all a money grab by the state - never mind that it was required to be an un-funded revenue-neutral program that paid for itself and made almost no money.
One group of about thirty five inspectors put together their own bill and got a legislator from the east side of the state to craft legislation that would allow them to be exempted from the law's requirements. They were so confident that they would get things their way that they refused meet the requirements for experienced inspectors; and then, three months before the deadline for new inspectors to have completed all of the licensing requirements, that group had their legislator drop their bill into the hopper in Olympia. A public hearing was scheduled to get public input on the bill. The coalition had representatives at the hearing to speak in favor of the current law as written, and against that group's attempt to do an end-run around the new law. The meeting chairman sent the bill to committee, which essentially killed the bill, because it couldn't get out of committee before the deadline for new inspectors came around. That group of 35 found that they had to get the mandatory number of hours of training and pass the NHIE, just like the rookies had to, before they could be licensed. About half of them failed the NHIE - some of them failed it multiple times - and about a quarter of them quit the profession.
Imagine that - inspectors - some of whom had been in the business in excess of fifteen years by then - who tried to make an end run around the new law because they claimed to have superior experience, and to already know all they needed to know to be great inspectors, failed an exam designed to gauge a rookie inspector's competency. Who'da thunk it? If there was ever an example of why inspectors should never be grandfathered unless/until they'd passed the NHIE, that was it!
The law has been in place now for nine years. None of the coalition's working group started schools and got rich off of teaching inspectors. None of the terrible things happened to established inspectors that those opposing the legislation said would happen. No plethora of lawsuits against inspectors developed. The board meets every quarter when the state budget permits and lots of inspectors have had their say at the board meetings. The board has accepted some ideas and rejected others, as it should be, and the original board members, some of whom served for two terms, have all been replaced and new board members are continuing with the tradition of working to keep the law fair and reasonable for both inspectors and consumers.
Down in California, if only one association tries to bird dog legislation designed to regulate all inspectors in the state, I can guaranty you it will turn into a pissing match between associations, pols there will write off the profession as a bunch of thugs and ner-do-wells and inspectors' concerns will be ignored. If California inspectors don't want to end up being saddled with stupid legislation they'd better put their petty little association differences aside, band together, roll up their sleeves and get ahead of whatever is being proposed down there or, I guaranty, they are going to end up with nightmare legislation.