Proposal could unclog shortage of Louisiana plumbers

Legislation would offer restricted plumbers full statewide licensure

By: - April 26, 2022 4:08 pm
Louisiana loosens licensing requirements for plumbers, contractors

Louisiana lawmakers advanced a proposal Tuesday that would give full statewide licensure to plumbers currently restricted to working in a certain parish or local jurisdiction. (WES MULLER/LOUISIANA ILLUMINATOR)

Louisiana lawmakers advanced a proposal Tuesday that would give full statewide licensure to plumbers currently restricted to working in a certain parish or local jurisdiction. 

House Bill 300, sponsored by Rep. Phillip Devillier, R-Eunice, advanced without opposition from the House Committee on Commerce. 

Rep. Edmond Jordan, D-Baton Rouge, said the legislation would help alleviate the shortage of experienced plumbers in the state, especially in areas devastated by hurricanes. The bill would eliminate a licensing roadblock within state law that restricts certain plumbers from working outside of a limited geographical area. 

Before the state adopted its master plumber licensing laws in 1990, plumbers worked under licenses issued by their local jurisdictions. Plumbers who did not obtain the new state-level license could continue working under a restricted license so long as they did not work outside of their local jurisdiction. 

The restricted licenses have prevented many Louisiana plumbers from working in nearby cities devastated by hurricanes, forcing residents and business owners to hire plumbers from Texas, Jordan said. Plumbers licensed in other states can obtain temporary permits to work in Louisiana, according to the Division of Administration.

Devillier’s bill would allow plumbers who have worked under a restricted license prior to Jan. 1, 2023, to obtain either the state journeyman’s license or master plumber’s license upon written request to the State Plumbing Board of Louisiana. 

Becoming a plumber in Louisiana is no small task. To obtain a plumber’s license, one must first become an apprentice, work under supervision for about five years and pass multiple state exams.

A journeyman must have at least five years or 8,000 hours of experience as a licensed apprentice, can perform installations while working for a master plumber and can supervise an apprentice. A master plumber must be a licensed journeyman or professional engineer and can perform all areas of plumbing work, own a plumbing business and employ apprentices and journeyman plumbers.  

HB 300 next heads to the House floor for consideration.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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