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Minnesota Legislature

Plumbing standards cleared up

Published (5/1/2009)
By Kris Berggren
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Some clogs in the state’s plumbing and licensing standards would be flushed out in a bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul).

HF927 was approved by the House Finance Committee April 29 and sent to the House Ways and Means Committee. Its companion, SF1004, sponsored by Sen. Linda Scheid (DFL-Brooklyn Park) awaits action by the full Senate.

Provisions in the bill would:

• prohibit people from advertising services for which they are not licensed;

• allow the Board of Plumbing to apply uniform standards to well or septic systems as well as municipal systems;

• give the board licensing authority over those installing or repairing water conditioner systems and require those workers to be licensed or to work under a person with a water-conditioning-contractor license, except for those holding a master or journeyman plumber’s license; and

• require all state plumbing inspectors and those contracted by the department to be licensed master or journeyman plumbers with five years of documented experience.

The bill would also require installers of piped medical gas and vacuum systems that deliver oxygen, nitrous oxide or other medical gases in medical and dental facilities to hold a plumber’s license and to be certified by the board, with some exceptions. The license would need to be renewed annually.

Mahoney said that the installation and inspection of such equipment has not been adequately regulated in the past.

An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Larry Howes (R-Walker) would specify a two-week period between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, 2009, as “the last and only chance” for applications for a restricted journeyman plumber license.

Mahoney saw his amendment adopted as well. It would require school districts to provide at least eight hours of training to boiler operators. A funding provision for the policy and a two-year period to determine whether there is a cost impact to school districts is included in the omnibus K-12 education finance bill.

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