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Local expert reacts to elimination of state plumbing board, laws

Posted: 10:44 PM, May 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-31 00:13:51-04

The state board in charge of licensing and regulating plumbers will soon go away.

Lawmakers opted to abolish the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners in the most recent legislative session. According to its website, the board exists “to protect Texas citizens against the health and safety hazards that can result from improperly installed plumbing, gas, and medical gas systems.”

The outcry from plumbers statewide has been loud, mostly in opposition to the change. Many of them argue that consumers’ safety will be put at risk by effectively allowing anyone to operate a plumbing business in the state. However, Mike Wanzer, who’s a longtime member of the city’s Plumbing Mechanical Advisory Board, doesn’t think the abolition of the board paves the way for a free-for-all.

“It’s not like it’s just Wild Wild West. there are still going to be codes, inspections,” Wanzer said.

He said that enforcement currently comes from the city on all residential and commercial projects. Wanzer thinks that power is best handled at the local level, especially with the unique plumbing challenges in our coastal community.

“Who better than locally to control what’s going on with the plumbers than the statewide [board]?” Wanzer told KRIS 6 News. “Plumbing that they do here in Corpus Christi is a lot different than what they do in El Paso.”

For the average homeowners who need repairs, Wanzer believes they should still be able to adequately research the track record of any reputable plumbing company. If the information is hard to find, that should be a red flag.

“Due diligence, Better Business Bureau, all the things you want to do. You know, [there’s] nothing like a personal relationship with your plumber.”

There’s an online petition urging Governor Greg Abbott to call lawmakers back to Austin to try to save the State Board of Plumbing Examiners. As of late Thursday night, it had more than 21,000 signatures. However, a tweet from the governor on Monday indicates that he has no plans to reconvene lawmakers for a special session.

All of these changes take effect September 1. On that date, the state’s plumbing license law will no longer exist and the board will no longer issue or renew licenses. It’s unclear if the city plans to take over licensing for plumbers.