Lawmakers in Texas last week decided to allow the state plumbing code to expire on September 1st and to eventually shutter the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, making it possible for people to become plumbers without completing the formerly required education and tests.
According to the Texas Tribune, lawmakers failed twice to pass a bill that would have extended the life of the Board of Plumbing Examiners. The agency will now enter into a “wind down” period and will cease business operations by September 2020.
This decision has sparked some public outcry in Texas, mostly in the form of online resistance. There is currently an online petition to save the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners that has gained over 60,000 signees in five days.
Unfortunately for those who have signed the petition, this decision seems to be final. Saving the TSBPE would require Texas lawmakers to hold a special session as legislators have adjourned until their next, regularly scheduled session in 2021. However, Texas governor Greg Abbot seemed to indicate online that no changes would be made to save the TSBPE, writing “NO SPECIAL SESSION” in a tweet posted on May 27th.
Should the TSPBE close, Texas will become the seventh state in the U.S. to require no state license to legally work as a plumber. In these states, plumbing regulation and licensing are handled at a municipal level. Cities in Texas will most likely be forced to adopt a similar strategy in order to avoid the safety risks of an unregulated plumbing industry.