California lawmakers heard testimony recently from victims of a deadly balcony collapse in Berkeley last summer as they consider a bill to address contractor negligence.
The balcony was constructed by a company with a history of shoddy work, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The collapse caused the death of six college students and raised questions about California's building standards and balcony safety.
The bill, which already passed the state senate, would require the Contractors State License Board and the Building Standards Commission to research how to protect the public from negligent contractors and raise transparency in the construction industry. The two boards would then report back to the Legislature by 2018 with recommendations for reform.
After the tragedy, victims’ families discovered that the balcony had been built by a firm that paid $26.5 million in construction defect settlements that were never reported to the state license board. Disclosure of such settlements isn't required under current law.