Drone Use Takes Off in Land Surveying

shutterstock_633132635As more and more hobbyists use drones to capture memorable video and photos, commercial uses for unmanned aerial vehicles continues to expand at a rapid rate, from monitoring agricultural crops to crowd control by law enforcement.

Among those emerging commercial uses for drones is land surveying. In its spring newsletter Bulletin, the state Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (Board) outlined the growth of drone use in land surveying based on lower costs and availability of easy-to-use software. But the Board also warned of potential drawbacks—such as upstart companies entering into the unlicensed practice of land surveying.

The Board emphasized that the burgeoning industrial drone market—which will exceed $20 billion globally by 2021, according to an analysis by Deloitte—has spurred a variety of companies offering services that include drone flight planning, piloting, and photography. However, for consumers needing a land surveyor for such things as establishing property lines or elevation analysis data, it’s critical to use the services of licensed land surveyors.

In the spring Bulletin, the Board stated: “No matter how field data are acquired, the process of locating any fixed works designed by a civil engineer or determining alignments or elevations is required by law to be performed by, or under the responsible charge of, persons licensed to perform land surveying.”

Furthermore, the Board said, mapping produced by those who may not have the training, education, and experience of a licensed land surveyor has the potential to put the public at risk through faulty data.

Consumers who need the services of a land surveyor should check that the individual or company they are considering is licensed by the state through the Board’s website, www.bpelsg.ca.gov.

Mark Your Calendar: Medical Cannabis Public Hearings Are Just Days Away!

Public comment period open

DCA’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) recently announced the release of proposed medical cannabis regulations which include general provisions applicable to all bureau licenses, distributors, transporters, dispensaries, and testing laboratories. Part of BMCR’s regulations announcement includes the news of  public hearings to collect public comment on the proposed regulations.

The bureau encourages all interested stakeholders to review the proposed regulations and attend a hearing near you to provide feedback. Hearing dates and locations are as follows:

June 1, 2017
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (dispensaries, transportation and distribution regulations)
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (testing lab regulations)
Adorni Center
1011 Waterfront Drive, Eureka, CA 95501

June 8, 2017
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (dispensaries, transportation and distribution regulations)
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (testing lab regulations)
Junipero Serra Building
320 W. Fourth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

June 9, 2017
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (dispensaries, transportation and distribution regulations only)
Department of Consumer Affairs, Hearing Room, S-102
1625 North Market Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95834

June 13, 2017
1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (dispensaries, transportation and distribution regulations)
4 p.m. – 6 p.m. (testing lab regulations)
King Library, Second Floor
150 E. San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA 95112

June 20, 2017
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (testing lab regulations only)
Department of Consumer Affairs, Hearing Room, S-102
1625 North Market Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95834

To review the medical regulations for licensing dispensaries, distributors and transporters, visit the BMCR website at http://bmcr.ca.gov/laws_regs/mcrsa_ptor.pdf; Proposed testing laboratory regulations can be found at http://bmcr.ca.gov/laws_regs/mcrsa_lab_ptor.pdf. Links to all key bureau regulations information can be accessed on BMCR’s website home page, including the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Initial Statement of Reasons. You can also find these documents and more valuable information by visiting the new Cannabis Web Portal, www.cannabis.ca.gov.

Get involved!

Can’t make a meeting but still want to give feedback? Get involved in the regulatory process by following the steps listed on BMCR’s website at www.bmcr.ca.gov/about_us/documents/17-065_public_comment.pdf. This includes what to include in your public comments as well as how and when to submit them.

For additional information about BMCR, or to subscribe to email alerts to hear about updates as they become available, please visit http://www.bmcr.ca.gov/.

California’s Drug Take Back Nets Largest Haul in U.S.

Californians dropped off 37 tons of unwanted medications during the thirteenth National Prescription Take Back Day on April 29 – netting the largest haul out of any state in the country.

California also boasted the most drop-off locations and the third highest number of law enforcement partners when compared to all 50 states. During the collection, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) worked with 204 law enforcement agencies in California at 346 different locations.

The DEA says its partners throughout the country collected more unused prescription drugs than at any of the 12 previous Drug Take Back Day events. Nationally, the event brought in 450 tons of medications at close to 5,500 sites. A total of 4,052 tons of prescription drugs have been collected and safely disposed of since the first Drug Take Back event in 2010.

According to the DEA, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. That study showed that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

The DEA’s next National Prescription Take Back Day is Saturday, October 28, 2017.

For more information, go HERE to the DEA website.

Senior Scam Stopper Seminars Scheduled

senior scamSenior citizens are often a favorite target for scam artists such as unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors.

That’s why knowledge is power. If seniors have the tools and information needed to spot a fake or notice red flags before something happens, the better they will be able to protect themselves.

Since 1999, the Contractors State License Board has been sponsoring Senior Scam Stopper seminars across the state to help combat and bring awareness to these types of scams. The events are held in cooperation with legislators, state and local agencies, law enforcement, district attorneys, and community-based organizations.

Seminars provide information about construction-related scams and how seniors can protect themselves when hiring a contractor. Speakers also often make presentations about broader topics, including identity theft, auto repair, Medicare, fake foreign lotteries, and mail fraud.

Upcoming Senior Stopper Seminars include:

  • Thursday, May 25, in Lynwood from noon to 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 30, in North Hollywood from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 30, in Sun Valley from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 31, in Mission Hills from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 31, in Pacoima from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

CSLB also offers a brochure titled What Seniors Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor. The brochure is available in both English and Spanish and can be ordered online or by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752). For more information about Senior Scam Stopper events in your area, contact CSLB’s outreach coordinator at (916) 255-3273.

Governor Appoints New Chief for Professional Fiduciaries Bureau

The Department of Consumer Affairs is pleased to announce the appointment today of Rebecca May as Chief of the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.  Read the Governor’s press release here.

Beat the Summer Heat by Keeping Your Cool

Many people don’t realize this, but maintaining your air conditioning system is important to help avoid costly repairs or breakdowns at times when it matters the most, like when the temperature is in triple digits outside. Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. That’s according to Energy Star, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and improve energy efficiency. To ensure efficient system operation, it’s important to perform routine maintenance beyond simply changing the filter every month.

You can do this by calling in a licensed contractor to do annual pre-season check-ups. Ask neighbors, friends, and family for HVAC contractor recommendations. Check the status of the contractor’s license with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) before you hire at www.cslb.ca.gov. Contractors get busy once summer comes, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring. Energy Star recommends the following typical maintenance efforts:

  • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increase the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels. If plugged, the drain can cause water damage in the house, affect indoor humidity levels, and breed bacteria and mold.
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to ensure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.

And remember—don’t be pressured into buying a new system, especially if it’s unnecessary. CSLB has issued warnings about upselling scams. Before replacing your system, read CSLB’s guidelines. For more tips on how to heat and cool efficiently, visit https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_hvac.

Having Dense Breasts: What Does It Mean?

When women get their mammogram results, they may be notified that they have “dense breast tissue.” Starting in April 2013, California law requires that patients be informed if they have dense breasts, and if they do, they may want to consult with their doctor about additional screening options.

Density is apparent only in mammograms and has nothing to do with firmness. Breasts appear dense if there is a great deal of fibrous or glandular tissue, and less fatty tissue. According to the American Cancer Society, about 40 percent of women in the U.S. over age 40 have dense breasts.

Having dense breasts increases your risk of getting breast cancer—the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, with lung cancer as the number one-leading cause. A February 2017 University of California, San Francisco, study showed that women with dense breast tissue are at a greater risk for breast cancer compared to women with a family history of the disease, their own history of benign lesions, or a first full-term pregnancy over age 30. However, it’s still not understood why there is a link. But what is clear is that dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to see tumors in mammograms.

If you do receive notice that you have dense breasts, be sure to discuss with your doctor about what follow-up tests (e.g., an MRI, ultrasound, or 3D mammography) may be necessary. To check the license of a doctor, visit the Medical Board of California website at www.mbc.ca.gov.



May is Mental Health Month

Do you know how it feels to be adrift in one’s own mind? According to Mental Health America, one in four American adults lives with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. May is Mental Health Month, which began more than 65 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness. Home

Last month, in support of mental health wellness, Assembly Bill 89, authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine, (D-Marin County), and sponsored by the California Board of Psychology, passed out of the Assembly. The bill requires applicants for licensure with the California Board of Psychology to complete a minimum of six hours of coursework or applied experience under supervision in suicide risk assessment and intervention.

“Suicide kills twice as many people in California as homicide, but not all mental healthcare providers have the training they need in suicide risk assessment and prevention,” said Assemblymember Levine. “AB 89 will save lives by making sure that psychologists have the training they need to identify suicidal individuals.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data, suicide is the third leading cause of death for Californians ages 15 to 34, and the tenth leading cause of death for Californians of all ages.

Moreover, in Sacramento County, nearly 355,000 residents live with mental illness, but research shows that only one-third of those individuals will seek help primarily due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. 

The amount of training licensed psychologists receive varies widely from as few as six hours, to over 50. Assembly Bill 89 will standardize the minimum number of hours of suicide prevention training required for licensure in the State of California. This training can be completed through coursework, continuing education, or through applied experience.

On May 24, join mental health advocates on the East Steps of the State Capitol  for Mental Health Matters Day 2017.  The Each Mind Matters coalition has come together to plan and host this event to better the lives of people with mental illness.

In addition, learn more about reducing stigma and discrimination at StopStigmaSacramento.org and show your support on social media by following the project on Twitter @StopStigmaSac and be sure to ‘like’ the project on Facebook . Engage in positive mental health messages using the hashtag #StopStigma.

To check the licensing status of a psychologist, please visit the Board of Psychology’s website at www.psychology.ca.gov.

To learn more about Mental Health America, visit their website at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may











CAL FIRE Wildfire Warnings, a New App, and a Chance to Win $10,000

May 7–13 is Wildfire Awareness Week, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is urging homeowners to prepare now for the dry, flammable season ahead. California’s wet winter has brought an abundance of spring grass and brush, which, after it dries, will pose great fire danger.

Removing excess vegetation around homes and maintaining 100 feet of defensible space can raise the odds that your home—or any other structures on your property—will survive a wildfire.

CAL FIRE has launched a new app, Ready for Wildfire, which puts a library of step-by-step, wildfire preparedness checklists, emergency preparation information and more in the palm of a user’s hand. In conjunction with the app launch, CAL FIRE is sponsoring the Ready for Wildfire Sweepstakes through May 21 for a chance to win up to $10,000 when the app is downloaded or updated.

The app can be downloaded at the App Store or on Google Play by searching for “Cal Fire”.


Public Service Employees Are the Unsung Heroes of Government

Public Service Recognition Week May 7-13, 2017

The first week of May marks Public Service Recognition Week which honors the men and women who serve our country as local, county, state and federal government employees.

These folks are the unsung heroes of government whose rank and file perform the daily tasks that keep government services rolling for all Americans. Many of these folks work behind-the-scenes and out of the limelight, but their dedication to their jobs benefits everyone.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines public service as “governmental employment” and civil service which it defines as “the branch of a government that takes care of the business of running the government and its programs.”

At the California Department of Consumer Affairs, our civil servants help to keep Californians safe as our 39 boards, bureaus, committees and commissions license and regulate many professions. Some of these professions are pharmacists, dentists, engineers, accountants, cosmetologists, contractors, physicians, psychologists, security guards, real estate agents, architects and court reporters, to name a few. For a full list of Department of Consumer Affairs licensing boards, bureaus, committees and commissions, click HERE.

The department also has staff that provides services to the boards, bureaus, committees and commissions. The various offices include the dedicated employees in Division of Investigation, Division of Legislative and Regulatory Review, Equal Employment Opportunity, Executive, Information Security, Internal Audits, Legal Affairs, Administrative Services, Professional Examination Services, Information Services, Communications, Strategic Planning and Development and Training Solutions.

We tip our hats to all civil servants and thank you for your service. Good government could not operate without you!

Public Service Recognition Week is organized annually by the Public Employees Roundtable and its member organizations to honor public service and connect citizens with their government. This week all across the country, mayors, governors, agency leaders, communities and public service organizations participate by issuing proclamations; hosting award ceremonies and special tribute events; and delivering messages about the value of public service.