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Will Texas Plumbers Go Unlicensed in September?

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While it was believed that as of September 2019, Texas plumbers would no longer be required to be licensed or regulated, Governor Abbott has stepped in with an executive order that extends the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners and the plumbing licensing law until 2021. The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE) was slotted to be eliminated in September, issuing the statement “All requirements of the plumbing license law will cease to apply” at that time. This came as a result of state lawmakers failing to continue the board through its “sunset process,” which entailed a review and improvement process that occurs once each decade. In the meantime, Senate Bill 621 failed to pass, which would have transferred the TSBPE to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. When it appeared that anyone in Texas would then be able to call themselves plumbers, Governor Abbott extended the TSBPE as well as its licensing law until 2021.

Plumbers undergo years of training in order to properly learn how to make the right piping connections beyond your meter, including that of natural gas lines and medical gas, such as hospital oxygen and nitrogen lines, or those at your dentist’s, doctor’s, and veterinarian’s offices. “Those types of things are specially regulated because they’re at the highest levels of danger for the general public if it’s not done correctly,” Paul Olsen, a plumbing estimator for ABC Home & Commercial Services, told KXAN.com. At a minimum, Olsen identified in an interview with KXAN that a plumber should know how not to cross-connect, in order that clean water, as opposed to sewage, comes into your household.

Will Texas Plumbers Go Unlicensed in September?

Photo: Pixabay

Governor Abbott had the opportunity to call a special session in order to continue the function and processes of the TSBPE. Originally, it was reported that he indicated via social media he would not be doing so. Instead of calling the special session, he chose to issue the executive order. In mid-June, Abott issued a statement with respect to his executive order saying, “A qualified workforce of licensed plumbers throughout the state, including from areas not directly affected by Hurricane Harvey, will be essential as those funds are being invested in crucial infrastructure, medical facilities, living facilities, and other construction projects.”

As a result, the order will delay the abolishment of the TSBPE until “disaster needs subside” or until the 87th Texas legislative session can address the matter. According to the Texas Legislative Reference Library, this is Governor Abbott’s sixth executive order since taking office in January 2015.