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

A bill relaxing licensing standards for elevator mechanics, electricians, plumbers, crane operators, sprinkler installers and HVAC technicians has cleared both chambers of the West Virginia legislature.

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

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

The legislation further overturns the legal requirements for crane operators and still subjects them to the requirements of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Republicans who supported the bill, both in the House and Senate, said it was about increasing 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,” House Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor, said before the House vote Thursday.

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

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

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

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

The Senate voted in favor of the law, 17 to 16, on Wednesday.

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

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 a Report for America corps member.

Comments are closed.