On June 13, 2019, Governor Abbott issued an executive order to suspend the law abolishing the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (Plumbing Board) and the Plumbing License Law. The reasoning provided in the executive order outlines the need for a qualified workforce of licensed plumbers throughout the state, specifically due to the rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. The executive order delays the abolition and expiration until disaster needs subside or the 87th legislature addresses the matter. The executive order has the force and effect of law until May 31, 2021, and the Plumbing Board will continue to license and regulate plumbers until that date. As a result, there is no change to the requirement that inspectors must also be licensed as a plumber to conduct sewer line inspections and static pressure testing.
Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (Plumbing Board) was recently reviewed by the Sunset Advisory Commission. As a result of that review, legislation was filed to abolish the Plumbing Board and transfer its regulatory functions to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). That bill failed to pass and no other action was taken by the legislature to continue the existence of the Plumbing Board past its Sunset date of September 1, 2019. As a result, the Plumbing Board will be discontinued on that date. Because inspectors licensed by TREC have been prohibited from conducting sewer line inspections and static pressure testing unless also licensed as a plumber, TREC has received several questions regarding an inspector’s ability to perform those actions after the Plumbing Board is discontinued. The Real Estate Inspector Committee will discuss the effect this matter will have on inspectors and propose recommendations prior to any action taken by the Commission. Several things will impact the Committee’s recommendations and any action taken by the Commission.
- The Plumbing Board continues to maintain its authority over the regulation of plumbers until September 1.
- Governor Abbott has recently stated that he will likely take action to extend the Plumbing Board’s existence for an additional two years. Any decision from the Governor will impact the recommendations made by the Committee and actions taken by the Commission on this matter
- The next meeting of the Inspector Committee is scheduled for July 15 and the Commission next meets August 12.
If the Commission takes action, the results of those actions will likely not be effective until September 1, 2019, at the earliest, when the Plumbing Board will cease to have authority over the regulation of plumbers. The Commission will watch this issue closely and update license holders as more information becomes available.