Paris master plumber testifies before a Senate committee on HB 636 | Free

AUSTIN – The Texas Legislature failed to pass a bill to extend the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners in 2019. This year, with a vote of 143-4, the House approved HB 636 that the sanitary exam committee extends until 2027.

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development held a public hearing on HB 636 in the Senate Chamber on Thursday. Parisian plumber William “Buddy” Heuberger testified before the committee in favor of the bill. He has testified several times in the past on various plumbing, stormwater and crime stopper legislations before house committees. This was the first time he testified in the Senate Chamber.

“I will remember the experience forever. It has been an honor and a privilege to participate in our legislative process, ”he said.

Representative Gary VanDeaver voted for HB 636, which not only expands the regulation of plumbers in Texas, but also allows the plumber-limited license to teach a career and technology program. Those who have successfully completed the program are allowed to take the craftsman’s exam to be licensed as a craftsman. Those attending the course do not need to register as a plumber apprentice to attend the class. Instructors must be either a chief plumber, companion plumber, or plumber inspector.

Heuberger backed a similar measure during the last session when the main concern of a large majority of Texas plumbers was the disbandment of the state examining board, which gave the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation regulatory authority over plumbers.

HB 636, as passed by the House, keeps the TSBPE intact with several favorable amendments and other minor changes to the Plumbing Permit Act. It eliminates the requirement for a chief plumber to undergo 24-hour training on how to run a business before becoming a responsible chief plumber and owning or operating a plumbing business. It also allows the TSBPE to issue Texas plumbing permits to out-of-state plumbers as long as their state has similar licensing requirements to Texas. A change that will benefit most licensed plumbers gives all plumbers 12 months to complete their annual continuing education requirement. Currently, some plumbers only have a three-month period to complete continuing education, while others have 12 months. Changes were made to disciplinary action, background checks and enforcement.

HB 636 is under consideration by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Economy. Heuberger asks the public to contact Senator Bryan Hughes at 903-581-1776 or 512-436-0101 and ask him to support HB 636, as passed by the House, and put it on the Senate calendar as soon as possible to post for a vote. If lawmakers fail to pass a plumbing license law, state regulation of plumbers will end on May 31.

If the Senate fails to pass HB 636 with two-thirds of the vote, the bill will not come into effect until September 1. There will be a potential gap in legal competence between May 31 and September 1.

Texas has been regulating plumbers since 1897. In 1897, the legislature required all cities to regulate plumbing and plumbing, since the city had cesspools or an underground sewer system. Water sources were contaminated with sewage, causing outbreaks of water-borne illness and subsequently causing numerous deaths. The city permit was only valid in the city where it was issued, and it became political. In 1947, the legislature passed a bill approving a state-issued permit valid for the entire state, and the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners was established. The law has been amended several times since 1947.

Plumbers protect the health and safety of Texas residents by properly installing sewer, water, gas and medical gas in our homes, businesses and medical facilities, Heuberger said.

“Plumbing is a cornerstone of a modern civilization, but it is often taken for granted until disasters, the recent winter storm, Hurricane Harvey and the Central Texas floods demonstrate our reliance on good plumbing to protect our health and safety,” Heuberger said . “Proper installation, maintenance and repair of piping systems and fixtures is vital to a developed civilization. Poor quality plumbing can cause disease in the water supplied to homes and businesses, such as Legionnaires’ disease or bacterial dysentery. Improperly installed boilers can cause explosions or fires resulting in serious injury or death. “

Plumbing also includes piping for gases in medical settings, such as hospitals or dental offices, which can be catastrophic if not properly installed or maintained. Regulations ensure that only qualified persons perform plumbing work to best protect the public.

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