Bill Relaxing Plumbing, Electrician Requirements Clears W.Va. Legislature

A bill that relaxes licensing standards for elevator technicians, electricians, plumbers, crane operators, sprinkler systems, and HVAC technicians has freed both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature.

House Bill 2008 reduces hourly experience requirements for certified sprinkler installers, electricians and HVAC technicians. It allows plumbers to achieve certification by passing a written exam, replacing previous experience hours requirements for that profession.

The bill would allow U.S. veterans who have worked as HVAC technicians for the military to apply for certification based on their experience at the time.

The legislation further ignores the government’s legal requirements for crane operators, and still puts them under the requirements of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Republicans who backed the bill, both in the House and Senate, said it was about more employment in West Virginia.

“The idea is not to harm jobs, but to get rid of government and bureaucracy and still achieve these things in a safe way,” said Amy Summers, R-Taylor, leader of the House Majority, before the vote in the House Thursday.

Democrats in both chambers who opposed the legislation questioned the consumer safety bill’s attention.

Del. Phillip DiSerio, D-Brooke, said on Thursday that the legislation would “steal” jobs from Western Virginians.

“Let’s make sure everyone can come and work here,” said DiSerio. “Let’s not worry about our citizens. … Let’s just go ahead and vote on this bill. ”

The House voted 59 to 40 to send the legislation, with amendments from the Senate, to the governor on Thursday.

The Senate voted for the legislation, 17 to 16, on Wednesday.

This is one of the few much-discussed bills from the House of Representatives to relax the rules on professional licensing.

House Bill 2007, which still sits on the Senate Committee of the Government Organization, would create a “universal recognition law for professional licenses,” calling on the state to recognize licenses obtained for certain professions from other states.

Emily Allen is one Report for America corps member.

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