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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Lawmakers flush bill policing plumbing industry

Anyone will be able to call themselves a plumber and do business without a license in Texas.

HOUSTON — Anyone will be able to call themselves a plumber and do business without a license in Texas. The state legislature abolished a bill regulating the industry this week.

“It really makes it more like the wild west,” said Rick Lord, a plumber and business manager for Plumbers Local Union No. 68.

RELATED: Texas plumbers upset after lawmakers abolish regulating agency

He worries more about customers than plumbing students who spend hours and hundreds of dollars on training with his union.

“What’s the point in doing a trade school now when there’s no regulation?” he asked. “It changes the dynamics of everything in the industry.”

Senate Bill 621, a so-called “Sunset Law” that periodically requires legislative approval to remain on the books, created the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners in 1947.  Ever since, it guides and ensures safe medical gas, gas and plumbing work is done safely for Texans.

When reviewed during the 86th Legislative Session, though, House and Senate members did not agree on changes to the bill. It was abolished Tuesday. With it, the board and rules demanding plumbers train for 8,000 hours vanished, too.

Now, anyone previously fined or suspended by the state is welcome back in business.

“The fear for us is no background checks,” Lord said. “Now you have no governance over who’s going into your daycare, who’s going in your school, who’s going in your hospital. That’s not good business.”

Some argued deregulation promotes better business with fewer fees, less government involvement, offering potentially more options to buy.

It is now up to cities and county lawmakers to protect consumers, according to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission.

Without city and county rules policing the plumbing industry, Lord’s union believe customer protection goes down the drain.

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