Austin Local News
Abbott Signs Executive Order Extending Plumbing Board
Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday to extend the activity of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners past its set expiration of September 1, 2019. Abbott utilized Section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code, which allows the Governor to suspend provisions of regulatory statutes prescribing the procedures for the conduct of state business if strict compliance would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with a disaster.
The Board was left to lapse following inaction by lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session.
"I think he did the right thing, we're all for it. But the industry is going to make sure that next time we have a plan in place in case something happens at the next legislative session," says local plumber and pipefitter Craig Berendzen.
Much of the concern surrounding the potential lapse of the Board involved the health and safety of communities. Berendzen says plumbers would've been unregulated and unlicensed, paving the way for shoddy and potentially dangerous work. He says Abbott's executive order was truly a stroke of luck.
"It's very much a victory for, not only for the industry, but also for the consumers who employ or contract with plumbers throughout the state," Berendzen says.
Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall and caused widespread destruction in 2017, the Governor has issued a disaster declaration each month effective through today. According to Abbott's office, the magnitude of what still must be rebuilt is reflected in the more than $10 billion of federal funds that are newly or nearly available to Texas for areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Because of that, the governor says a qualified workforce of licensed plumbers throughout the state, including from areas not directly affected by Hurricane Harvey, will be essential as those funds are being invested in crucial infrastructure, medical facilities, living facilities, and other construction projects.
The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, whose mission is “to protect Texas citizens against the health and safety hazards that can result from improperly installed plumbing, gas, and medical gas systems,” will continue to play an essential role in all these efforts by ensuring that the plumbers who rebuild Texas and prepare for future disasters are properly licensed and regulated.
The Governor’s order will allow the Board to continue its operations through May 31, 2021, giving the 87th legislature ample time to address the matter.