SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE: Gov. Greg Abbott says he can extend the operation of the State Board of Plumbing Examiners for two years without calling a special legislative session.
The board approves plumbing licenses and records complaints throughout the state. Without it, there would be no one to oversee who is properly trained.
TEXAS PLUMBERS: We’ve got this. The Legislature has given the Governor many tools in my toolbox to extend the State Board of Plumbing Examiners for two years without needing to call a special session. We will let you know very soon. Don’t worry.#txlege https://t.co/OEW0UDubH7— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 4, 2019
For years, the board has been scrutinized for inefficiencies and was set to dissolve in September, prior to the governor's announcement.
Abbott did not provide specifics on how he planned to accomplish that.
Plumbers across Texas are asking Gov. Greg Abbott to call for a special session to restore the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, which approves licenses and records complaints.
The board has been under scrutiny for delays and inefficiencies. It will be dissolved in September since lawmakers failed to pass several bills that would have extended its operation. However, the governor could save the board if he called for a special session.
BJ Bealer, a state-licensed plumbing inspector, said it will be like the Wild West of plumbing in which anyone, regardless whether they have any proper safety training, can call themselves a plumber.
“You know who is legit right now. In the future, I have no idea,” he said.
Bealer said there are a lot of safety aspects to the job as plumbers deal with drinking water, human waste and gas lines in hospitals.
“This is more dangerous than anything mechanical and electrical,” he said. “Plumbing is the most dangerous trade out there.”
Joel Frederick, president of Quarter Moon Plumbing, said companies will be hiring less qualified people without any tests or tools to oversee their qualifications.
“Everything we do has to deal with safety, things you don’t think about,” he said. “Gas, water heaters —we have to deal with the carbon monoxide that’s coming out of plumbing.”
He urges people to do their research before they hire a plumber in the future and stick with reputable businesses.
The 30 people employed with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners will have until 2020 to wind down operations, even though the board will be abolished effective Sept. 1.
KSAT reached out to the governor’s office and lawmakers for comment, but our calls were not returned.
Abbott has said he has no intention of calling a special session.
In the past, some cities and municipalities have had the option to issue their own licenses for those who wish to do business in their area. The city of San Antonio said it will begin discussing a possible ordinance but will have to check with other cities in the area, as well.