Plumbing crisis averted

Daniel Walker
Vernon Record
A potential clog in how plumbing is regulated in Texas has been averted, at least temporarily.
The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners would have been abolished effective Sept. 1, 2019, after state lawmakers inadvertently forgot to extend the life of the agency that regulates plumbers and plumbing in the state of Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed an extension on Thursday, ensuring Board of Plumbing Examiners will be able to continue operations. The governor’s office said in a press release that it is necessary to continue the board to perform its role in protecting Texans by fulfilling the demands for rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey and keeping Texas prepared.
Vernon City Manager Marty Mangum had stated, earlier on Thursday, prior to the governor’s action, that the City of Vernon was considering its options on how to ensure plumbing was still regulated in the city after the Sept. 1 deadline.
“We do not want open sewage running on the streets because someone couldn’t hook up a pipe correctly,” he said, adding that the city was looking into joining with other cities to form a regional oversight board. However, that will no longer be necessary.
Governor 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.
Abbott said: “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 do so in a manner that will safeguard public health, safety, and property.”
Executive Director of the Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors Association of Texas (PHCC) Alicia Dover sent out a statement following the announcement from the governor’s office.
“PHCC is grateful to Governor Abbott for an Executive Order issued today extending the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners until September of 2021. This option maintains the plumbing certifications and licenses necessary to preserve the health, safety and well-being of all Texans.
Maintaining these certifications and licenses will continue to be the top priority of our organization. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Governor’s office on this important announcement and hopeful resolution.
Appropriate licensing and oversight of Texas plumbers is valued by the responsible individuals who comprise our industry and is relied upon by the Texans that utilize their services. From providing peace of mind to families in their homes to ensuring safety in our schools, hospitals and businesses, the role of the plumber is central to the core of our daily lives.
The extension is through May 31, 2021, and will give the 87th legislature time to address the matter.

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