Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
May 27, 2005
The Honorable Colorado House of Representatives
Sixty-Fifth General Assembly
First Regular Session
Denver, CO 80203
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am filing with the Secretary of State House Bill 05-1145 "Concerning The Regulation Of Plumbers." I vetoed this bill as of 12:32 p.m. today and this letter sets forth my reasons for doing so.
H.B. 1145 implements significant new regulations on the plumbing industry without a showing that they are necessary to protect the public's health, safety or welfare.
This bill increases regulation on the plumbing industry by setting up a registration system for plumbing contractors, establishing a ratio of three apprentices to each licensed journeyman or master plumber, increasing the number of unlawful acts under the statute, raising the penalty for a violation of the Plumbers Act ("Act") from a class 3 misdemeanor to a class 1 misdemeanor, and requiring a schedule of violations and mandatory fines for violations of the Act. Whenever the State seeks to impose additional regulations upon an industry, the goal must be to create the least restrictive form of regulation consistent with the public interest. The intrusive regulations imposed by H.B. 1145 do not meet this test, especially when harm to the public has not been identified.
Under existing law, individuals in the plumbing industry are regulated through the licensing system. H.B. 1145 adds an additional layer of regulation by requiring that plumbing contractors obtain a registration from the Examining Board of Plumbers ("Board"). In order to receive a registration from the Board, a plumbing contractor must present evidence of compliance with Colorado's workers' compensation and unemployment compensation laws. This creates an unnecessary burden on the Board and on the plumbing industry, since the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment already monitors compliance with workers' compensation and unemployment compensation laws. Since the bill's advocates have not shown how these additional burdens will increase public safety, it is clear that current licensing requirements are adequate..
H.B. 1145 would place needless burdens on the industry by requiring the Board to implement a mandatory fine structure for violations of law that are regulated in the first instance by other agencies. The bill adds violations of any building or construction law, safety or labor law, health law, workers' compensation insurance law, and state or federal law governing withholdings from employee income, to the list of unlawful acts requiring a fine or possible imprisonment. These duplicative regulations are not consistent with the public interest.
Increasing the criminal penalty for a violation of the Act from a class 3 misdemeanor to a class 1 misdemeanor is unwarranted. An increased criminal penalty is justified only when the desired goal can't be accomplished by any other means and when public safety demands an increased level of deterrence. H.B. 1145 does not satisfy either of these requirements, as the Board already has the power to impose fines and issues cease and desist letters. It has not been demonstrated that increased jail sentences and fines would increase public safety.
Finally, the establishment of a ratio of three apprentices to each licensed journeyman or master plumber serves no public purpose. Under existing law, a licensee is allowed to exercise professional judgment in determining the number of apprentices to supervise. H.B. 1145 fails to recognize that apprentices and licensees have different skill levels and abilities and imposes a one size fits all standard without any reason for such a limitation. In practice, the limit may act as a barrier to entry by reducing the number of opportunities for apprentices to enter the profession and will certainly increase costs for consumers.
Accordingly, I have vetoed this bill.
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