Proposal could unclog shortage of Louisiana plumbers
Legislation would offer restricted plumbers full statewide licensure
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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