Many Texas plumbers are worried that state lawmakers just allowed the industry to become deregulated.
Some are even planning to hold a rally at the Texas Capitol building in Austin next Friday.
Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted “We’ve got this” in concerns to the plumbing regulations. But after days with no specifics about his plan to make sure the state’s plumbing regulations don’t expire, many are still concerned.
Bobby Duran is the owner of Plumbers Continuing Education in Fort Worth. He is worried the state legislature is putting Texans at risk by allowing the state plumbing code to cease to exist Sept. 1.
Duran provides the courses for plumbers to become licensed and maintain their licenses. But unless governor Greg Abbott is able to do something about it, there could soon be no way to distinguish a licensed plumber from a handyman.
“It’s a free for all,” Duran warned. “We have to have the license.”
To show the governor how concerned plumbers are, Duran is organizing a rally at the state capital in Austin next week. He’s expecting thousands of plumbers to attend.
Christopher Cortez is a master plumber who is working to get his Responsible Master Plumber license, which will allow him to own his own plumbing company.
“All our hard work was for nothing,” he said. “If someone else can come in there and do what took me 22 years to do, they can come in the next day and do what we do — it’s a slap in the face.”
Cortez warns it could also be a potential safety risk. He says one already exists when people use unlicensed plumbers.
“I’ve been around towns where people are hooking up gas lines that aren’t doing it the right way, and then the house blows up,” he said.
Cortez is worried that without regulations, people won’t be able to know the difference and ultimately allow the industry to go down the drain.
“Wouldn’t you want that for your family to?” Cortez said. “The safety of knowing that somebody that’s qualified to do the job is actually doing the job for you? Instead of somebody that just claims to know how to do the job?”
Other than the tweet, Gov. Abbott hasn’t said how he specifically plans to resolve the situation without a special session.