HBA-JLV H.B. 2519 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2519 By: Craddick State Affairs 3/21/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Working with electricity and electronics exposes workers, employers, and subscribers to certain amounts of risk. Currently, the state does not have a board to license master electricians, journeyman electricians, or residential electricians to set forth accountable standards for electricians to remain safe and produce high quality work. House Bill 2519 creates the Texas State Electrician Licensing Board for the purpose of the establishment and oversight of standards and qualifications for certain practicing electricians in Texas. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas State Electrician Licensing Board in SECTIONS 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, and 18 of this bill. ANALYSIS House Bill 2519 establishes the Texas State Electrician licensing Board (board) to regulate and license certain electricians. The bill sets forth provisions relating to the appointment of the members of the board and also sets forth the powers and duties of the board (SECTIONS 3, 4 and 17). The bill requires the executive director of the board or the executive director's designee to develop an intra-agency career ladder program and a system of annual performance evaluations based on measurable job tests (SECTION 5). The bill requires the board to prepare information of public interest describing the functions of the board and the board's procedures by which complaints are filed with and resolved by the board. The board is also required to make the information available to the public and to appropriate state agencies. The bill requires the board by rule to establish methods by which consumers and service recipients are notified of board information for the purpose of directing complaints to the board. The bill requires the board to develop and implement policies that provide the public with a reasonable opportunity to appear before the board to speak on any issue under the jurisdiction of the board (SECTION 6). The bill prohibits a person from performing electrical work unless the person holds a license, and provides that an apprentice is authorized to perform electrical work only as prescribed by board rules (SECTION 7). The bill applies to persons performing electrical duties on buildings not owned by utilities and that is not an integral part of a generating plant, substation, or control center (SECTION 8). The bill does not affect the liability of a person who owns, operates, controls, or installs electrical equipment for an injury to a person or damages to a property caused by defect in the equipment (SECTION 9). The bill sets forth licensing requirements of master electrician, journeyman electrician, or residential electrician applicants (applicants). The bill requires the board to adopt rules to define acceptable practical experience of applicants for licensure (SECTION 10). The bill requires the executive director to conduct an examination of applicants for licensing at least once each month and requires the board to prescribe the content of the written examination. The bill prohibits an applicant who does not pass the examination from retaking the examination until three months have elapsed from the date of the failed examination (SECTION 11). The bill requires the board to issue a license not later than the 30th day after the date on which the board determines that an applicant has passed the examination requirements and has paid applicable fees (SECTION 12). The bill provides that a license expires on December 31 of the year in which it is issued and may be renewed annually on payment of the required fee and compliance with the board's continuing education requirements. The bill sets forth provisions relating to the expiration of licenses and authorizes the board to adopt by rule a system under which licenses expire on various dates during the year (SECTION 13). The bill authorizes a municipality to request suspension for just cause of the license of an electrician working in its jurisdiction. The bill requires the board to adopt rules establishing the grounds for the denial, suspension, or revocation of a license, reprimands of a license holder, or placement of a license holder on probation and is required to adopt rules establishing procedures for disciplinary actions. The bill entitles a license holder to a hearing before the board if the board proposes to suspend or revoke a license. The bill authorizes a license holder whose license has been revoked to apply for a new license after the first anniversary of the date of revocation (SECTION 14). The bill sets forth provisions relating to municipal regulation of electricians that work in that municipality (SECTION 15). The bill provides that a person commits a Class C misdemeanor offense if the person violates the licensing requirements (SECTION 16). The bill authorizes a municipality that has a municipal licensing procedure that includes an examination requirement to submit a copy of its examination to the board for evaluation. If the board approves the examination, a person who holds a municipal license on August 31, 2001, based on that examination is entitled to a state license of the appropriate type without further examination. The bill authorizes the board to approve an examination of a municipality only if it is substantially equivalent to the applicable examination prescribed by the board. The bill authorizes the board to issue a restricted-use license to an individual who presents evidence of practical experience acceptable to the board that is valid only in portions of this state that are not within a municipality. The bill requires that an applicant for a restricted-use license must apply no later than April 1, 2002. The bill requires the board by rule to prescribe the activities that may be conducted by a holder of a restricted-use license (SECTION 18). EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001, except that provisions requiring a person to be licensed in order to perform electrician's duties and establishing criminal penalties for failing to abide by the licensing requirements, take effect January 1, 2002.