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HB 930, if passed, would make a number of changes to the Occupation Code (Section 1901) regarding certification, well water drillers, and pipe installers. There are two sets of changes:
The first set of changes regards the licensing programs.
Many of the changes are procedural, such as allowing applications to be
submitted via electronic means, or requiring that applications now be submitted
to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as opposed to the Texas
Commission on Natural Resources. One substantive change is that the department
would no longer be required to offer examinations once a year.
The second set of changes is the introduction of apprentice programs for drillers and pipe installers. These programs would be established by the commission by rule. (The actual details of these apprentice programs are not discussed in the bill.)
HB 930 is potentially beneficial bill. The two apprentice programs introduced in HB 930 used to exist for about twenty years until they were removed as there was no basis in statute. The substance of the programs is to allow an alternative mechanism for those seeking certification as drillers or pump installers to accumulate the hours necessary to obtain certification. Allowing more flexibility in licensing is a move we can support. However because this is not obvious in the bill text we suggest an amendment which would explicitly spell out that these programs will be alternative mechanisms to logging hours, not an additional set of requirements.
Similarly, we suggest that it be noted that electronic examinations may be submitted at any time, and that these examinations will be reviewed on a rolling basis in a reasonable time frame. Otherwise, the modification on Section 1901.201 could actually restrict qualified applicants from entering the field.
We agree with the intent of HB 930 and think that if such an intention were carried out it would be beneficial to Texas. The bill as it stands, however, is too vague and leaves too much room for misuse or abuse at a later point. We support the motivation behind the bill but think it is in need of clarification via an amendment.