Citing catastrophe powers, Abbott extends life of plumbing board


Seeking to correct an oversight with the aid of the Legislature, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a govt order Thursday extending the existence of the State Board of Plumbing Examiners beyond its Sept. 1 expiration date.

Abbott stated country regulation gives him the strength to suspend guidelines managing state operations if compliance would save you, avoid or delay recovery from a catastrophe — especially Hurricane Harvey, which precipitated billions of bucks in damage in 2017 that residents and governments are still handling.
“To satisfy the demands for rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey and maintaining Texas prepared and able to get over future failures, it’s miles essential to continue the board to carry out its crucial function in shielding Texans,” the governor’s office said in a declaration.
The impending stop of the Board of Plumbing Examiners, the accidental result of a political impasse inside the ultimate days of the legislative session, raised fitness and protection worries and brought about calls for a unique session to ensure that licensing requirements don’t end on Sept. 1.
Last week, Abbott despatched assurances that he had a plan for allowing the board to maintain licensing plumbers and investigating complaints about an enterprise that handles pipes for gas, sewage, ingesting water and different critical desires, along with specialized gasoline strains in hospitals.
On Thursday, he launched the details, announcing the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 allows the governor to suspend “any regulatory statute” associated with nation operations that might get in the manner of disaster healing.
What’s greater, Abbott’s proclamation said, the Legislature currently surpassed Senate Bill 285, which says “the governor may additionally, with the aid of govt order, take any motion essential to ensure every nation corporation … Is able to respond to a storm.” That regulation takes effect Sept. 1 after Abbott signed it Monday.
With about $10 billion in federal aid allocated or because of arriving quickly for Harvey rebuilding efforts, Texans ought to be able to depend on a certified group of workers of licensed plumbers to make sure the safe production of houses, agencies, hospitals, and different websites, Abbott said.
“Abolition of the Board would threaten recovery efforts, diminish storm preparedness and heighten the risks I am chargeable for assembly,” Abbott’s order said.
In the consultation that ended May 27, the Legislature didn’t approve several bills that might have endured the plumbing board, which means the licensing and regulation organization would end to exist beneath a “sundown” system that requires nation corporations to undergo periodic reviews earlier than getting legislative approval to retain operating.
Without Abbott’s movement, specialists might not be certified or registered by using the board to do plumbing paintings in Texas, and all current licenses for tradesmen, journeymen and master plumbers would have expired Sept. 1.
State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, called the order a short-sighted pass.
“Last I checked Texans choose legislators and a governor. Not a king. Horrible precedent, and big enlargement of executive electricity,” Stickland stated via Twitter.
But Alicia Dover, government director of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of Texas, praised the order.
“This option maintains the plumbing certifications and licenses necessary to keep the health, safety, and properly-being of all Texans,” she stated.
Abbott said his order will allow the board to preserve running via May 31, 2021, giving the Legislature time to clear up the hassle throughout its next session, set to begin in January 2021.