There are two basic entities in CA. The ARB(air resource board) and the BAR(bureau of automotive repair).
The ARB can write regulations and issue executive orders. Manufacturers can apply for an EO and the ARB will test the device and determine if it diminishes the pollution control systems. If it does not an EO can be issued that can be used during an inspection to certify that device like a wavier. It can be an air intake, exhaust, supercharger...
The BAR is responsible for inspections, sort of. The Bureau is formed by the public to protect the public; however, as many of us know bureaucracies get out of control. Let's just say if certain individuals working for the BAR did not enjoy the immunities of the Bureau, and were subject to laws like the rest of us, they would be up on charges. I am truly shocked at the level of incompetence and criminal acts performed by the BAR.
The BAR is a disconnected series of entities that start with the Bureau which gets the private sector involved and Referee's end up in community collage auto shops. Most Ref's seem OK but they are given orders from above, Sacramento, to fulfill an agenda. This puts the Ref's in an awkward situation. What it all comes down too is interpretation. The BAR can interpret the law anyway they want making any mod illegal. Problem is this is not in the public's best interest and the DCA knows this. The Bureau is ultimately responsible too the public. The Bureau Chief is responsible to the DCA. Beyond this the Bureau employees can do what they want and interpret the law how they want, enforcement is political. Of coarse many swaps are passed by one Ref or another but they are acting on their own and probably rightfully so. The orders from up North are the problem, the decisions are not fact based but politically motivated. The Public can go to "Sunset hearings" where the Bureau is held responsible for their actions. The Chief can be replaced by the DCA and the public can decide if the Bureau is acting on their behalf. Recently the Bureau of guide dogs was shut down becase it was determined it was not needed.
An engine conversion is much more complex than an air intake swap so the process is complex. This is why using approved components like unmodified factory wiring harnesses and modules are important. Using components from a USEPA certified vehicle means you do not need an EO for it to be compliant. The BAR hit us and many others recently. Clandestine meetings were held and Ref's ordered to carry out orders. I have spoken to several Ref's that are frustrated about this.
We will continue to work with the BAR so they follow the spirit of the law. Problem is there are so many non compliant swaps using hot rod harnesses, hacked calibrations, monitors turned off.... that the BAR feels compelled to discriminate against all of us. We fought and proved we follow the spirit of the law. After months of negotiations we got the BAR to admit we are different, they even watch my videos
So in the best interest of all of us we will make our best effort to work with the BAR and ARB to make conversions available in CA. I grew up in Los Angeles doing V8 engine swaps in Toyota Pick up's in the early 1980's. We did many swaps in CA before the political environment got out of control. Most companies avoid CA but Socal is my home and I know many guys there that don't to be left out.