|Posted:||June 28, 2013 11:38 AM|
|From:||Representative John Taylor and Rep. Ed Neilson|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Statewide Licensing of Electricians|
|In the very near future, we will be introducing legislation providing for statewide licensure of journeyman electricians, electrical contractors, and apprentice electricians. Similar legislation was introduced numerous times in prior legislative sessions, most recently by Representative Godshall in 2009 (HB 1355). We believe this legislation is needed to enhance public and worker safety, provide enhanced consumer protection, and streamline Pennsylvania’s existing patchwork system of local license regulations. This bill is a smart consumer protection measure that would be self-funded and would level the playing field for Pennsylvania electrical contractors in competing for projects in the Commonwealth and out of state.
Significantly, Pennsylvania is one of just a handful of states that does not license or provide practice protection for this dangerous and highly skilled industry. In most parts of the state, virtually anyone—including day laborers—can hold themselves out to be an electrician without proving any specialized training or expertise in this industry. This lack of regulation creates significant risk to the consumer, as faulty wiring is a leading cause of residential and commercial structure fires. Workers in the construction industry are also at risk, as electrocutions are the second-leading cause of death on construction sites according to OSHA.
In addition, this legislation will greatly improve our state’s business climate for electrical contractors and their workforce. Due to the absence of statewide licensing, Pennsylvania-based contractors and journeymen do not benefit from license reciprocity with other states. In fact, contractors and journeymen from out of state can perform work in many parts of Pennsylvania, yet Pennsylvania contractors and journeymen cannot work out of state unless they obtain a new license in that state. Establishing a statewide licensing requirement will allow for reciprocity with other states and greatly simplify and streamline the existing system of municipal licensure by creating one uniform standard that is honored statewide, and by many other states.
The specifics of the legislation are simple and straightforward. This bipartisan legislation will establish minimum standards that individuals must meet in order to obtain a state license. An electrical licensure board will be created within the Department of State to issue licenses, promulgate regulations, and administer the Act. No general fund appropriation will be necessary since the board will come under the purview of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. A provision will be created to “grandfather” current electricians with documented work experience in the industry. A continuing education requirement would also be created to ensure our state’s workforce remains highly skilled in the latest safety and technological practices.
This bill is narrowly tailored to only apply to contractors and journeymen who provide electrical services on a private customer’s premises wiring system. Electrical work under the control of public utilities is exempt, as are telecommunications and broadband systems. Local municipalities will still retain the right to require work permits and levy business privilege taxes on electrical projects and work.
We hope you will join us in sponsoring this important measure.
Introduced as HB1585