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Nolan Kienitz

Texas Legislature Drops State Plumbing Board

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The just wonderful Texas Legislature recently finished their every two-years session and have done and not done a lot of stuff ... mostly rather stupid in many cases.

One of the major items is that they have shut down the State Board of Plumbing Examiners, Licensing & Regulation.  As of 09/01/2019 any 'Chuck in a truck' can paint a plumber label on the side of his truck and call himself a plumber.  No education or license required.  I've heard from several sources that the Governor is not planning on convening a special session which could resolve the issue, but highly unlikely.

State Board of Plumbing Board Examiners official statement

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Government licensing is no assurance of quality. It equalizes all license holders in the eyes of consumers.  If you think a government agency knows the difference between a tee and a wye, you're naive. Licensing makes it legal to do what is otherwise illegal. Plumbing, therefore, is illegal where it is required for plumbers to be licensed. The IRC and the IBC take care of the issue at hand.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Chad Fabry said:

Government licensing is no assurance of quality. It equalizes all license holders in the eyes of consumers.  If you think a government agency knows the difference between a tee and a wye, you're naive. Licensing makes it legal to do what is otherwise illegal. Plumbing, therefore, is illegal where it is required for plumbers to be licensed. The IRC and the IBC take care of the issue at hand.

 

Another retired home inspector and I were trading messages today along these lines.  Quite true in that the push for licensing seldom ever provides a quality plumber, electrician, inspector, etc..  As you have noted licensing makes the consumers feel good as it also makes the licensing agency feel good and "in control".  In our case it is the infamous TREC.

It is interesting to see the local (all over the state of Texas) TV news doing news stories about this and talking with plumbers and the 'woe is me' ... or rather 'customer' who is going to get ripped off.

One local (D/FW) station had comments being made that 'poop' was going to be backing up into their homes due to plumbers not being licensed. Local TV ... all about the hype.  Runs the gamut from politics to now unlicensed plumbers.

 

Edited by Nolan Kienitz

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The point of most state licensing is not to assure quality, but to keep track of the licensees. By requiring a license, the state then has the ability to take that license away when someone screws up badly enough. It's exactly like a driver's license. 

From what I can see the Texas legislature didn't "shut down" the plumbing board, it looks more like they just neglected to renew it. I suspect it was more of a screw up than a conscious decision, and I'll bet you a dollar that somehow or other, the board will manage to remain intact. 

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And, by the way, there are good state licensing programs. Look at Oregon's licensing program for electricians. To become a journeyman electrician in Oregon, you must: 

  • Have a high school diploma and have passed at least one year of high-school level algebra. 
  • Apply for an apprenticeship by passing a test and submitting to an interview. 
  • Serve a 4-year apprenticeship during which you complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 800 hours of classroom training. 
  • Pass a licensing exam, which you'll have to re-take every 3 years. 
  • Only then can you register to become a journeyman electrician and work for someone else. 
  • If you want to do work on your own, you have to first work as a journeyman for 4 years, and then pass the supervisor's test. Then you can work on your own. 

The result is that there are very few, if any, bad electricians in Oregon. It's an excellent system. 

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3 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

And, by the way, there are good state licensing programs. Look at Oregon's licensing program for electricians. To become a journeyman electrician in Oregon, you must: 

  • Have a high school diploma and have passed at least one year of high-school level algebra. 
  • Apply for an apprenticeship by passing a test and submitting to an interview. 
  • Serve a 4-year apprenticeship during which you complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 800 hours of classroom training. 
  • Pass a licensing exam, which you'll have to re-take every 3 years. 
  • Only then can you register to become a journeyman electrician and work for someone else. 
  • If you want to do work on your own, you have to first work as a journeyman for 4 years, and then pass the supervisor's test. Then you can work on your own. 

The result is that there are very few, if any, bad electricians in Oregon. It's an excellent system. 

Yeah, and if we had a system like that in Louisiana, I would of never had a chance to get an electrical, mechanical or home inspector license on account of the apprenticeship.  Only plumbing requires an apprenticeship, otherwise I would have gotten a license in that too.  No one would've hired a deaf person.  I know that because I've been an deaf person in need of an occupation for over 40 years.  I missed out on getting a job as engineer for the same reason, despite 5 years of silent college classrooms, and becoming the 3rd deaf person in the history of the college to graduate from that program.  Traveled the southern USA afterwards, coast to coast, for two years.  The only chance I got at a job came at home, at the end of that two years: I lied.  Didn't disclose my deafness on the application.  Spouse got a call the following day, letter the next.  I was in the top 3 among in a pool of over 30 applicants, who had completed the exam along with me.  It was tricky trying to conceal my deafness that day.  At the interview, I was out of their office in less than a minute when I had to tell them I was deaf.

Except for that, I agree with Jim.  It's good for hearing folks.

Pardon my rant.

Edited by Marc

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7 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

The point of most state licensing is not to assure quality, but to keep track of the licensees. By requiring a license, the state then has the ability to take that license away when someone screws up badly enough. It's exactly like a driver's license. 

From what I can see the Texas legislature didn't "shut down" the plumbing board, it looks more like they just neglected to renew it. I suspect it was more of a screw up than a conscious decision, and I'll bet you a dollar that somehow or other, the board will manage to remain intact. 

Some Houston area legislator tried to add some language that did something that many others didn't like and the item never got out of committee as they could not come to terms of whatever they were bickering over.

As it is the only thing that will save it now will be a special session, but (so far) it is not likely that the Governor will call for a special session. I have a friend who works in the Governor's office and she has said that (as I noted ... so far) there are not any plans to call for a special session to correct this.

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8 hours ago, Marc said:

Yeah, and if we had a system like that in Louisiana, I would of never had a chance to get an electrical, mechanical or home inspector license on account of the apprenticeship.  Only plumbing requires an apprenticeship, otherwise I would have gotten a license in that too.  No one would've hired a deaf person.  I know that because I've been an deaf person in need of an occupation for over 40 years.  I missed out on getting a job as engineer for the same reason, despite 5 years of silent college classrooms, and becoming the 3rd deaf person in the history of the college to graduate from that program.  Traveled the southern USA afterwards, coast to coast, for two years.  The only chance I got at a job came at home, at the end of that two years: I lied.  Didn't disclose my deafness on the application.  Spouse got a call the following day, letter the next.  I was in the top 3 among in a pool of over 30 applicants, who had completed the exam along with me.  It was tricky trying to conceal my deafness that day.  At the interview, I was out of their office in less than a minute when I had to tell them I was deaf.

Except for that, I agree with Jim.  It's good for hearing folks.

Pardon my rant.

Just curious, but was the 1990 ADA of any help at all? 

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I am flabbergasted at how many cowboys are upset over no longer being hogtied. I don't get it. 

NY doesn't license any trades. The only time public safety is at risk, or collusion takes place, are the highly regulated public  bids and projects. 

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12 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

Just curious, but was the 1990 ADA of any help at all? 

None at all.  It was a joke. It meant that employers made excuses other than my deafness to get me out the door.

Edited by Marc

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Texas Governor Abbott and his office apparently is working on things.  More information to be announced.

 

 

TX-Gov-Abbot_Plumbers.JPG

Edited by Nolan Kienitz

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On 6/2/2019 at 10:48 AM, Jim Katen said:

and I'll bet you a dollar that somehow or other, the board will manage to remain intact. 

I'm planning to collect on this . . . 

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On 6/3/2019 at 9:25 AM, Tom Raymond said:

NY doesn't license any trades. The only time public safety is at risk, or collusion takes place, are the highly regulated public  bids and projects. 

The State does not but cities do.

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Yes. I had a city of Buffalo light commercial license. I was asked four questions, then handed over a check.  If I recall correctly it was $350 a year in the 90s. It's about revenue, not public safety. 

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