On May 26, the Texas Legislature failed to reach an agreement to extend the life of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. Further, they failed to transfer the department to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. This, in effect, would have deregulated the plumbing industry in Texas. The department was temporarily in “wind-down” mode and had until September 2020 to wrap up and cease all operations, but on June 13, Governor Abbott signed an executive order keeping the board open and operational until 2021 when the 87th legislature is due to convene.
The concerns of plumbers, should the board shut down, ranged from the devaluation of their certification to safety concerns, and they had been vocal about their wishes to extend the agency via a special session. Instead of calling a special session, however, the governor stated his ability to renew the program without legislative approval and did just that. While some were grateful to Abbott for extending the life of the agency, the use of executive privilege to overturn a legislative decision unfortunately goes against two traditionally republican principles: the power of the legislature over the executive and the belief in the free market.
Written by: Brannon March, LSPI Intern