Plumbers across the country are in shock and disbelief as Texas has voted down a bill that would have kept the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners operational. Instead, aspiring professional plumbers may not need to pass exams or adhere to regulations, starting September 1st.
The goal of Senate Bill 621 was to reassign and redistribute the responsibilities, tasks, and roles of The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. This department is much larger and already oversees operations for dozens of professions.
The bill was brought about after the Sunset Advisory Commission advised that it could take up to eight months for a person to become a licensed plumber. Under its new department, they estimated the wait time to be around eight weeks. However, that didn’t happen.
With a vote of 88-57 against the bill, it was voted down. Plumbers are in desperate demand due to a rapidly growing population and the rebuilding plans that are in effect in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
State Representative Chris Paddie urged lawmakers to reconsider voting against the bill. But even after a second vote—the results of which were 78-68—it was voted down yet again. Now, not only professional plumbers, but all of Texas is doomed.
Roger Wakefield, a master plumber and owner of Texas Green Plumbing, says, “We’re going to put the safety of the homeowners and the public of Texas in jeopardy. Plumbers install medical gas, they install potable drinking water…if they’re not doing it right, people’s safety is at risk.”
The two issues of largest concern are the public’s safety and the livelihood and reputation pre-established professional plumbers. There is a strong likelihood that there will be a sudden surge in unqualified workers entering the trade.
John Crawson of Central Texas Plumbing Solutions made a statement that truly defines the purpose of plumbers: “As plumbers we look at ourselves to protect the health and the welfare of the nation.”
By voting this bill down, Texas lawmakers have essentially allowed open-access for anyone—with or without training—to become a plumber. So, the state plumbing code is set to expire beginning on September 1st, and the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners will continue winding down until it is completely abolished in 2020.
Watch KXAN News’ report here:
Credit: KXAN, Newsweek, Texas Tribune