LUBBOCK, Texas– Come September, anyone who wants to be a plumber in Texas can put the title on their name due to a senate bill that failed to pass by the end of the 2019 Texas legislature.
The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners was subject to the Sunset Act, which states after a certain extent of time, a law can cease to exist if no further legislative action is taken upon review.
Members of the Texas Legislature did not take action, so the board will be abolished effective on September 1, 2019.
However, through Senate Bill 161, the legislation attempted to transfer the licensing over to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
The bill failed to pass, meaning there is no entity to regulate licensing for plumbers.
“How do I make sure guys are properly licensed and customers are protected when that system is going away?” said Mark Branscome, the Operations manager for Lowery Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning.
Plumbing companies and and city officials worry about citizens’ safety, should anyone without proper training perform the roles of a certified plumber.
Plumbers licenses required eight years of training and apprenticeship.
“We are learning new updated regulations, learning new laws, new practices. Things that are outdated and things that are new,” Branscome said. “Those are important to us.”
Robert Wallace, the chief building official with the city of Lubbock, said they only have one option.
“Right now the only option is for cities to regulate their own license and law,” Wallace said.
However, he said there are current ordinances and inspections still required by the city to protect citizens.
While this new change takes effect on September 1, both Wallace and city council are working toward an effective solution.
“Obviously you don’t want someone with no qualifications doing something that someone can die over,” Wallace said. “The City of Lubbock residents have a right to know that public safety is important and that their city is providing it for them.”