Planned plumbers protest turns into praise fest for Texas governor

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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) What was planned as a plumbers protest Friday at the state Capitol in Austin turned into a praise fest for Gov. Greg Abbott after Abbott signed an executive order extending the life of the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.

Photo Courtesy: Chris Sproles

Citing a section of the Texas Government Code that allows the governor to suspend regulatory statues if compliance would hinder disaster recovery efforts, Abbott signed the order Thursday allowing the board to continue its operations through May 31, 2021, giving the next state Legislature time to address the matter.

“A qualified workforce of licensed plumbers throughout the state, including from areas not directly affected by Hurricane Harvey, will be essential” as more than $10 billion in federal recovery funds are now or nearly available to the state,’ the governor’s office said in a press release.

As many as 20,000 people were expected to attend the protest, according to Chris Sproles of Central Texas Plumbing Solutions in Waco who serves on the board of directors of the Plumbers Heating and Cooling Contractors of Texas.

"I think it's a great day for the consumers, they will continue to be protected," Sproles said Friday.

If Abbott hadn’t stepped in, he said, and the board had ceased operations as scheduled, no one would have been required to get proper training and licensing to be a plumber.

"We want people to come into the industry that we want them to do it correctly we want to train them we want them to be qualified,” he said.

In the waning hours of the legislative session in late May, state lawmakers failed to pass a measure extending the life board, which is responsible for licensing plumbers and enforcing state law governing plumbers.

The board had until Sept. 1, 2020 to end operations.