Legislature(2017 - 2018)ADAMS ROOM 519
03/16/2018 01:30 PM FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 255 "An Act relating to individuals and employees who must have certificates of fitness to perform certain plumbing and electrical work; and relating to civil penalties and violations for not having required certificates of fitness." 2:29:55 PM REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK, SPONSOR, introduced himself and his staff. KENDRA KLOSTER, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK, provided detail on the bill. The bill would change the penalties for performing plumbing and electrical work without a license, which was called a certificate of fitness. The bill would replace the existing criminal penalty with a nonviolent penalty. Currently, the penalty was a $500 fine and a misdemeanor. The bill would change the penalty to an administrative fine and a violation. She explained that the original bill made several changes to the way things worked. She detailed that the bill would reduce the penalty to $125 [for an individual] and $250 [for an employer] for a first offense. A second offense would mean a fine of $250 for an individual and $500 for an employer. Ms. Kloster addressed changes made in the House Labor and Commerce Committee. There had been concerns about a violation going on an employee's record; therefore, the provision had been changed. She provided an example of an employee without a certificate of fitness being instructed by an employer to conduct plumbing or electrical work. Under the circumstance, the sponsor wanted to ensure the employee was not given a violation on their record; however, the individual could be charged a fine by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) for conducting the work without the certificate. She elaborated that the violation would show up on the record of the employer if they continued to practice without a license. The bill had been brought forward during work with DLWD to provide the department with better enforcement tools. The current penalties went through the Department of Law (DOL) and the process was cumbersome. She explained they did not necessarily want to charge individuals with misdemeanors. The bill would provide the state with better enforcement tools to ensure the law was effective. 2:32:44 PM Representative Ortiz asked for verification that a certificate of fitness was the lone license electricians and plumbers had in Alaska. Representative Tuck replied in the affirmative. He detailed the term certificate of fitness meant an individual was fit to perform the work once they had gone through an apprenticeship program, passed a test, and had demonstrated the required hours. He confirmed that the certificate equated to a license. Representative Ortiz asked about the need for the bill. He wondered if there was significant work taking place that was unlicensed. He asked if the perception was anecdotal or based on statistics. Representative Tuck answered that primarily there were numerous people doing site jobs in people's places without an electrical license. He explained it was difficult to keep track of the occurrences and to enforce the law. Currently, the offense was a misdemeanor and a fine up to $500. It was costly to go to DOL to get a prosecutor to do a cease and desist order and prosecute for a misdemeanor conviction. The bill would allow a simple fine for DLWD to enforce. Additionally, there was no ability to enforce when people let their licenses expire and continued to work. DEBORAH KELLY, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF LABOR STANDARDS AND SAFETY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, pointed to the department's fiscal note [OMB Component Number 346]. The department had used a three-year average of its cease and desist orders for people found working without a certificate of fitness [shown on page 2 of the fiscal note]: • 46 individuals engaging in work without a valid certificate • 5 individuals engaging in work without a valid certificate • 22 employers using workers without a valid certificate • 9 employers using workers without a valid certificate Ms. Kelly added that the bill would address repeat offenders who realize the department gave cease and desist orders but did not typically follow through on misdemeanors because the court system district attorneys had other priorities. Once an offender saw the piece of paper did not have much force, some of the repeat offenders refused to come into compliance. Representative Ortiz asked for a brief overview of how enforcement happened. He wondered how a person got caught and cited for working without a certificate. Ms. Kelly replied that DLWD had multiple employees in the field including a full-time contractor licensing investigator, several plumbing inspectors, and several electrical inspectors. The employees were on construction sites constantly as part of their job. The department also had wage and hour investigators who were able to detect people doing unlicensed work. The employees knew how to identify the work and what was subject to the code and they performed enforcement. Representative Ortiz asked how the bill gave DLWD more ability to enforce the certificate requirement. Ms. Kelly answered that the bill enabled DLWD the ability to issue an administrative fine and violation for first and subsequent offenses. Currently, the department could issue a cease and desist on a piece of paper. She explained that if a person continued to violate the law, the misdemeanor penalty was "pretty toothless" because DLWD had to request a district attorney to prosecute. 2:38:12 PM Representative Wilson asked if there was one certificate for a plumber and one for an electrician. Alternatively, she asked if there were multiple certificates for some trades. Representative Tuck replied there was a certificate for electricians, linemen, and plumbing code. For example, an electrician could be an "inside wireman" with a full commercial license that required an 8,000-hour apprenticeship program. There were also residential electricians that were required to complete a 4000-hour program. An apprentice could also get a certificate of fitness in one of the two categories. Additionally, there was a certificate of fitness for power linemen and another for plumbers. Representative Wilson asked if the state had always been able to impose a misdemeanor penalty on employees and employers. Representative Tuck responded in the affirmative and cited AS 18.62.080. The definition in statute referred to "a person" who could be an employer and employee or anyone performing work under the jurisdictions. He read from statute: A person, either an employer or employee, who violates a provision of this chapter or of a regulation adopted under this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine of not more than $500. Representative Wilson thought it appeared that Section 3 of the bill opened it up more than in the past. She pointed to page 2, lines 14 through 17, pertaining to penalties. She observed that the bill would remove employer [from line 14] and would add the words "other than" to read as follows: "A person, other than an employee, who violates a provision of this chapter..." She asked about the reason for the language change. She wondered who else would be included. Representative Tuck answered that within the provision, the bill would separate the difference between an employer and someone other than an employer because the bill would split up the fines. He did not believe an employee should receive the same fine as an employer. He explained that a first offense for an employer was $250 and each following offense was $500. Whereas, the first offense for an employee is $125 and each following offense was $250. He elaborated that the section recognized that a person, other than an employee, who violated the provision was guilty of a violation rather than a misdemeanor. He cited that the person would be punished as prescribed under AS 12.55 by a fine of not more than $500. 2:41:44 PM Representative Wilson provided a scenario where an employee with a certificate of fitness was asked to do a job by their employer that the employee believed was covered by their certificate. She used an example of installing and covering up conduit. She wondered if there was a chance DLWD may claim the employee was doing work not covered by the certificate and could subsequently fine the employee. Representative Tuck replied that as long as an employee had a certificate of fitness they could do all provisions of the electrical code, which included back fillings (as in Representative Wilson's example). Representative Wilson asked for verification there would never be a situation where an employee would have to check their certificate of fitness to ensure the employer was not asking them to do something that could be a violation. She had no problem with the [bill's provision pertaining to the] employer. She believed an employer should know all of the rules associated with a job. She considered that perhaps there were nuances where one union could do one thing, and another could do something else. She wanted to avoid someone being fired because they were uncertain they could do the work legally or being fined for doing was what their boss asked. Representative Tuck clarified that a certificate of fitness was not a document that gave an employer the ability or jurisdiction to do the work. A certificate of fitness was a license for and owned by the individual. Typically, people licensed in a field knew what they could and could not do. An employer was required to have an administrator's license to do the work. He explained that contractors could not all perform electrical work. He elaborated that a contractor was required to have an administrator's license. Before a contractor could obtain the license, they were required to have a certificate of fitness for a designated amount of time. They were also required to get three people with an administrator's license to sponsor them to be able to take the test to become a contractor. Representative Tuck confirmed that under current law an employee and employer would get in trouble if a contractor who was or was not an administrator instructed an employee without a certificate of fitness to perform work. He detailed both individuals could be charged with a misdemeanor under current law. He believed the employee should not be punished as severely as the employer. He explained it was no different than an employer telling an employee without a commercial driver's license to drive a tractor and trailer across town to deliver materials. He reiterated his understanding of Representative Wilson's question. 2:45:47 PM Representative Wilson explained that her question was about someone with a certificate of fitness who performed work they believed to be covered by their certificate, but it was not. She referenced Representative Tuck's example and noted there was a project administrator, employee, and perhaps the administrator's boss overseeing the whole project. She asked if all three individuals would get in trouble if one person was doing the wrong thing. Representative Tuck replied that only the employer and the person who performed the work [would get in trouble]. Representative Wilson asked if the administrator had no responsibility. Representative Tuck answered that the administrator had the authority to do the work; therefore, they would not receive a violation. Ms. Kelly elucidated that an electrical administrator could be the employer, employee, or could hire the employer. She clarified that being an administrator required an extra license. She explained that the administrator's job was to ensure the electrical work or plumbing work had integrity. The administrator was not necessarily telling people what to do or directing the work. She elaborated they could be conducting site inspections or reviewing plans to ensure the work was sound. Administrators were generally journeymen certificate holders who took an additional step to pass additional qualifications, which were administered by the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED). She added that DLWD would not look at the administrator when conducting certificate of fitness enforcement. 2:47:56 PM Representative Grenn asked for detail on what happened to an employee when a violation was discovered. Representative Tuck agreed and noted the process was the same for hairdressers and other individuals when they were found to be working outside their license. Ms. Kelly deferred to a colleague. WILL HARLAN, SECTION CHIEF, MECHANICAL INSPECTION SECTION, DIVISION OF LABOR STANDARDS AND SAFETY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT (via teleconference), asked Representative Grenn to restate the question. Representative Grenn asked what happened to an employee when a violation was discovered. He wondered about the citation procedure and the civil penalty. Mr. Harlan replied that it was similar to the current contractor licensing enforcement programs. He explained there were a couple of things that happen including administrative fines, which had already been discussed. He detailed that when an inspector visited a job site and saw someone performing code work requiring a certificate of fitness, they would ask to see the license. If the individual did not have a license, under HB 255, DLWD would have the ability to write an administrative fine of $125 to the person performing the work. Additionally, the department would seek out and fine the employer. Both of the fines would go through the same due process that any other administrative fine went through. The individuals would have the chance to appeal the fine, a hearing officer could be appointed, and the individuals could choose to appeal the decision. The individuals could pay the fine or appeal. He noted there were some other legal things that would take place. Mr. Harlan explained that the violation was the same process as a traffic ticket. He provided an example where a person performing the work was known to the department and had ignored previous administrative fines. At that point, the inspector could write an Alaska uniform citation to be filed with the court system in traffic court; the company would also receive a citation. The individual would then proceed through traffic court and would have the same kind of hearing that took place for a speeding ticket. If convicted, the judge would set the fine up to a maximum of $500. Representative Grenn referenced Mr. Harlan's example of a person committing the offense multiple times. He asked if the offenses went on their record. Mr. Harlan replied that a violation appeared on CourtView. He elaborated that a citation issued to an employee or employer also appeared on CourtView like any other traffic citation. The administrative fine did not appear on any permanent record. He detailed that the document was not published on a website, but it was public and was retrievable under the public records request system. 2:53:00 PM Ms. Kelly corrected that under HB 255 an employee would not be subject to a citation and violation; therefore, the offense would not go on a record in CourtView under any circumstances (if they were an employee). Representative Tuck explained the reason for the provision identifying "a person, other than an employee." He detailed there were individuals performing work who were not necessarily employed by someone else. Those individuals would receive a violation, which would enable someone to look up whether the person was reputable. Someone would have the ability to determine whether the employer or any individual performing work on their own was adhering to the law. The bill changed the provision, so the employee would not have the record. Representative Grenn spoke to how the process was handled for an employee. He referenced a letter in members' packets from the International Union of Operating Engineers in opposition to the bill (copy on file). Pertaining to an employee, the letter suggested a stern warning for the first violation and a $50 citation for the second violation. He asked for comment from the bill sponsor. Representative Tuck replied the bill would reduce the fine [for an employee] from $500 and a misdemeanor to $125 and no record. The bill also encapsulated people with an expired certificate of fitness who were continuing to work. Representative Grenn surmised that given the bill would drop the fine from $500 to $125, the suggestion in the letter would be a further drop and would perhaps fail to act as a deterrent. Representative Tuck answered that if the committee wanted to eliminate any violations it would be up to the will of the committee, but it was not his desire. He wanted to allow DLWD to enforce and issue quick fines due to numerous repeat offenders. He referenced other professional licenses issued by the state. He detailed that the penalty was a was a Class B misdemeanor and a fine of up to $2,000 for an individual practicing hairdressing, aesthetics, tattooing, or body piercing. He referred to the provision in HB 255 and did not know how much looser it could get. Electrical work was in Article 18 of the state's code, pertaining to health, safety, and housing. Chapter 60 pertained to safety and its Articles 6 through 8 dealt with electricians, linemen, and plumbing codes. The bill did not pertain to those sections of law; it only pertained to Chapter 62 related to the need for a certificate of fitness to perform work. 2:56:25 PM Vice-Chair Gara reviewed his understanding of the bill. He discussed that the bill addressed contractors working for themselves without a certificate of fitness and employees who were told by an employer to do work beyond their license skills. He asked for verification that contractors working for themselves would receive a fine and violation, which would be visible on CourtView. Representative Tuck answered in the affirmative. Vice-Chair Gara remarked that the bill would eliminate the misdemeanor penalty for both types of workers [highlighted in his previous question] without proper licensing. He asked for verification that the initial and any subsequent fines for an independent contractor was a maximum of $500. Representative Tuck agreed but corrected that the first offense was a fine of $250. Vice-Chair Gara asked for verification that the first offense for an independent contractor was $250 and any subsequent offenses were $500. Representative Tuck replied in the affirmative. Vice-Chair Gara asked for verification that the first offense for an employee was a fine of $125 and any subsequent offenses were $250. Representative Tuck responded in the affirmative. Vice-Chair Gara spoke to his one concern. He agreed the offense should not be a misdemeanor. He was concerned that a $500 fine would not be a sufficient incentive to deter a contractor from operating without a license. He asked if he was assuming something wrong. Representative Tuck answered that the bill addressed the issue. He deferred the question to Ms. Kelly for detail. Ms. Kelly pointed out that an independent contractor operating without the proper certifications would be subject to a violation and contractor licensing fines. She noted that Mr. Harlan could answer detailed questions about contractor licensing. She added that the penalties were quite a bit higher. Vice-Chair Gara stated that his primary concern was not about punishing an employee for doing work outside their purview when they were instructed to do so by their employer. His real concern was the extent of the fine for a person who advertised themselves as an electrician when they did not have the training and repeatedly violated the law. Mr. Harlan addressed the example of a person representing themselves as an electrician and working in people's homes without a license. He stated aside from the certificate of fitness, there would be a violation for contractor licensing, which began at a $1,000 administrative fine. The fine for the second offense was $1,500. The fines also triggered the withholding of the issuance of a contractor's license until they were paid. Additionally, there were citations, which capped out at $500 per citation ($500 was the statutory limit on minor offense citations). However, the fines began at $25,000 when the offender was a corporation or incorporated business potentially for a contractor business. He noted the fine would be set by a judge at the time of sentencing. 3:02:00 PM Representative Guttenberg stated that if a person was working on a commercial contract, they were in violation if they were working without an electrical contractor's license. He continued that in order to do the work, an administrator's license was needed. He wondered why an administrator would hire people without a certificate of fitness to work as electricians. Representative Tuck responded that under the scenario provided by Representative Guttenberg a contractor would probably not hire employees without a license. However, sometimes there may be a material handler or yard hand fabricating and doing things that were against the law. Under the scenario, the employer would be in violation. He spoke to the need for employers to ensure employees continued with their education. Employees were required to complete 16 hours of continued education every two years to maintain their license. He detailed that if someone did not maintain their continued education it could be a violation. He stated a person could have initially been hired with a license and may no longer have a license. Representative Guttenberg spoke about doing electrical work (including working with hot wires and ensuring the connections were correct in order to avoid a fire or damage), which required an administrator to sign off on. Provided a hypothetical scenario where an argument took place over whose jurisdiction specific work fell under. He asked who set the parameters to determine whose work it was. Representative Tuck replied that the bill did not address the subject. He elaborated that the issue was addressed in different sections of statute and was defined in Article 18, Sections 6 through 8. The bill only pertained to fines. 3:06:16 PM Ms. Kelly replied that jurisdiction was determined through plumbing and electrical statutes that adopt the state's minimum plumbing and electrical code. She explained that the codes had been adopted for a public safety mission. The department began with the code and considered what was important to the safety and integrity of the installations made under the code. There were some exceptions. The department did not draw a hard line on classifying something as certificate of fitness work if it was under the code. There may be exceptions made if something presented a minimal public safety risk or minimal risk to the integrity of the installation. Ultimately, in gray areas, the department decided where something lay. Representative Guttenberg disagreed and stated that was not where it was decided. He stated there was a large gray area in the work field. He believed that part of the problem was put on the material handler who may work for a general contractor. He elaborated on the scenario. Ms. Kelly understood there were many jurisdictional battles that took place. She clarified that the scenario provided by Representative Guttenberg related to the handling of materials, was not certificate of fitness work. The department tried its best to stay out of jurisdictional battles, but because of the nature of the certificate of fitness being a certification for certain types of work, DLWD ended up in the middle sometimes. The department tried to look at what installation work was subject to the code and comported with the public safety mission of the statutes. Representative Guttenberg continued with the scenario and discussed associated fines. He had a problem with the gray area related to the jurisdiction of the handling of materials. Representative Tuck replied that the issue did not pertain to the bill or statute. He underscored that the statutes in the bill dealt with installations, not moving material. He stated there may be a dispute between contractors on whose work something was, but that pertained to whatever was written in someone's contract. Nothing in statute specified that a worker could not move material around. There was no way for anyone to be fined in the scenario provided by Representative Guttenberg because the code and statutes dealt with installations. However, someone would get in trouble if the scenario involved mounting something on a wall. 3:11:17 PM Representative Guttenberg shared that he was trying to get the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) to put conduit in every time it opened a road. He stated that at some point someone may string some fiberoptic cable. He wondered why they should open the road twice. He provided a hypothetical scenario where a person could not do something because they did not have a certificate of fitness. He wondered about the relevance of his example in terms of the bill. Representative Tuck answered that most electrical installations were dealing with vertical construction for high voltage power alignment, including hospitals, residential housing, and commercial buildings. He noted the importance of maintaining the integrity of the systems. He reasoned there may be a unique situation where there may be a dispute between two contractors on whose work it was. However, the bill did not address the issue. He was happy to work with Representative Guttenberg on the topic later on. The bill would change a penalty from a misdemeanor to a citation [for working without a certificate of fitness]. 3:12:54 PM Co-Chair Seaton wanted to make sure the bill did not contain anything that would change the ability of a private property owner to do their own work. Representative Tuck replied that the bill did not address any jurisdiction at all or current statutes allowing people to perform or not perform work. The bill only dealt with offenses. Representative Tilton referenced the analysis on page 2 of the fiscal note that specified FY 13 to FY 17 data had been used. She was trying to gage the size of the challenge. She asked how many inspections the department did and what triggered the inspection. Ms. Kelly responded that the checks by DLWD were in the thousands per year and were done primarily by the contractor licensing investigator, the three plumbing inspectors, and the three electrical inspectors. She deferred to Mr. Harlan for information on how staff determined where to do an inspection. Mr. Harlan answered that in FY 17 his office conducted 797 electrical inspections, 734 plumbing inspections, and performed well over 1,000 individual construction site visits statewide. The department identified individuals working without a certificate or with an expired certificate through its inspections and site visits. The department also responded to complaints statewide from owners who had encountered unlicensed individuals. 3:15:47 PM Representative Tilton surmised that responding to complaints triggered inspections. She asked if Mr. Harlan had stated that the department also looked at an expired list of licenses. Mr. Harlan replied that the department did not know where individuals were working at any given time - there was not a state plumbing and electrical permit system actively in place. Some inspections were found through random chance. Additionally, the department reviewed building permits published by local jurisdictions to discover new installation work. A great deal of time was spent driving around looking for construction. The department was also directed to construction sites by complaints. He explained that because the department did not know where specific contractors were working at any given time, the process did not involve identifying someone beforehand and going to get them. He stated that when the department found an offender it was a matter of stumbling across them. 3:17:06 PM Representative Pruitt returned to Representative Guttenberg's earlier questions. He asked if the tasks assigned to an electrician, an operator, or other, were in black and white. Representative Tuck answered that it depended on the project. Title 36 related to work being performed under state contracts was pretty black and white. He stated that it was usually spelled out for a private contractor. Additionally, subcontractors who bid work usually spelled out exclusions or inclusions on their scope of work. He explained what a contractor was responsible for was usually defined in a contract. Often times a when a person was doing electrical or plumbing work it was spelled off to the side because a general contractor did not have an administrator's license to be able to do the work. Representative Pruitt surmised the contractor had the ability to determine certain things that may fall within a gray area. Representative Tuck thought Representative Pruitt had been referring to a scenario provided by Representative Guttenberg. Material handling was not under the jurisdiction of DLWD - there was nothing in statute. The issue was between the general contractor and the contractor because a license was not required. Representative Pruitt replied that his question was primarily related to the tone of Representative Guttenberg's scenario and not specific examples. He stated that the bill had obviously arisen from something. The committee had heard earlier that the department would play a role in determining jurisdiction. He did not see there was any way the department did not play a role if the goal was to go in and fine people and enforce the law. He did not know how the department would not get in the middle of determining jurisdiction. If some of the things were potentially determined by the contract or the contractor, he wondered if the state was interjecting itself into something that may become complex and problematic. He considered that bureaucrats could be determining the particular things as opposed to the experts or those out in the field doing the work. Representative Tuck answered that all of the work performed in the electrical industry by commercial electricians was under the jurisdiction of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Section 70. There were 19 panels that reviewed the code, which was updated every three years. Alaska was currently under the 2014 code; the 2017 code had not yet been adopted. The 2017 code would be the jurisdiction once adopted. He relayed it was based on national standards. 3:20:55 PM Ms. Kelly responded that DLWD had been conducting the enforcement for over 30 years. She relayed that the enforcement tools were not what the department would like them to be, but they had been determining how to best enforce the codes and where to draw the lines for requiring a certificate of fitness for many years. The department did not want to get involved in jurisdictional battles, but it sometimes ended up there by the nature of the occupational licenses. She stated that just like contractor licensing enforcement or wage and hour law enforcement, DLWD could just happen to get into the blurry lines that could sometimes happen between an independent contractor and an employee. The department did its best to draw lines well, follow the statutes, and follow its public safety mission. The department had not interest in getting involved in jurisdictional contractor or other labor disputes. Representative Pruitt stated that changing from a misdemeanor approach to citations would mean all it would take was the department's time to write down a citation compared to going through a process of filing a misdemeanor. He thought changing the process meant DLWD would be more active and engaged in determining and separating what was what. He believed it meant there would be more people concerned with the decision made by the department. Ms. Kelly answered that she would love for people to be more concerned with the decisions made by the department and for it to be more of a process in the future. She explained that when DLWD went into jurisdictional battles, individuals involved followed the department's cease and desist orders. She understood the concern, but stressed it was not an area the department saw repeat offenders. The repeat violators were generally people operating as plumbers or electricians with the knowledge they did not have the training or licensure. She added the issue typically occurred in residential and small commercial operations. 3:23:46 PM Representative Tuck cited ophthalmologists and optometrists as an example of another field where there was probably a blending of some work performances. He believed enforcement probably went back to code licensing requirements. The bill did not interfere with requirements to obtain a certificate of fitness under existing statute. The bill only pertained to a citation. He understood that Representative Pruitt was concerned with the process. He believed the committee would have to determine whether it wanted an administrative process or a court process. He referenced public testimony from the House Labor and Commerce Committee where the committee had heard from a contractor who had come from Texas to retrofit numerous Walmart stores and had used electricians who were not licensed in Alaska. The individuals had performed all of the work and there was nothing the state could do. The bill aimed to provide opportunities to get after illegitimate businesses that were repeat offenders. Representative Pruitt pointed to a letter from the Association of General Contractors of Alaska in members' packets (copy on file). The letter highlighted that the department had made some determination of what equipment operators were able to do compared to licensed electricians. It seemed to him it may be the department making a determination beyond what the code may be and injecting itself in a jurisdictional discussion. He reasoned that if the department was more active in the engagement, it could potentially be determining a jurisdictional decision five times per day as opposed to one time per day. He thought it would mean the department would have to start considering certain regulations and write new things that could start to blur the lines and pit certain people against each other. Whereas, previously, the gray area had been determined by the contractor. Ms. Kelly replied that contractors and workers were passionate about their jurisdiction. However, DLWD would not increase the number of checks of the number of sanctions placed. The nature would change, referenced the letter highlighted by Representative Pruitt and reiterated that those individuals followed cease and desist orders and did not repeat violations. The department was already having to take those things into consideration on a daily basis. The bill would not change jurisdiction or how the department addressed jurisdiction. Representative Pruitt asked for the purpose of the bill. Ms. Kelly responded that the problem was not the contractors and the other contractors deciding who was doing the work. The problem was the "fly by night" individuals who were operating illegitimate businesses who were presenting themselves as licensed plumbers and electricians and refusing to come into compliance with the law. Representative Pruitt thought the state would want to send the individuals to the court system. Ms. Kelly answered that it would be great, but in the past the district attorney did not have the resources to dedicate to something as small as a minor misdemeanor. Representative Pruitt referenced a man in a criminal case, (who was unrelated to the current issue) who owed $3 million in fines to the court system. If the concern was an unlicensed individual, he wondered what would stop a person from racking up thousands of dollars in fines if they did not have to go to court. Ms. Kelly replied that if a misdemeanor was not effective, she was not sure that a violation would be any more or less effective. The department believed the violation would be a tool to fit the vast majority of cases. 3:28:32 PM Representative Wilson read from page 2, lines 20 to 21 of the bill related to issues of citations: "If the department has probable cause to believe that a person has violated a provision of this chapter or a regulation adopted..." She remarked that the bill involved setting regulation. She wondered why the language read "probable cause to believe." She thought that based on the scenario provided by Representative Tuck that when the department asked to see someone's license, the individual either had it or did not. She thought the language on page 2 was much broader. She thought the language meant the department did not have to ask for the person's license and could write a citation. Representative Tuck answered that a person was supposed to carry their license, but they may have left it at home. He stated that if a person was not carrying their license it was probable cause that they did not have a license. Representative Wilson asked who a certificate of fitness was recorded with when an individual obtained the license. Representative Tuck answered that DLWD kept track of who did or did not have a certificate of fitness. Representative Wilson asked whether the DLWD staff in the field checking the license could call DLWD to determine whether a person had a license instead of writing them a ticket. Representative Tuck answered that he imagined the answer was yes if the department had the resources available to do so. Representative Wilson hoped the resources were there before a ticket was issued. She was concerned about what kind of regulation the department expected to go on top of statute. She stated the statute was clear that a person had or did not have a certificate. Ms. Kelly replied that the language had been taken from current statute and had been moved around to add a new section. The regulations defined the scope of each type of certificate of fitness (e.g. trainee plumber, journeyman plumber, and plumber utility). The department was not intending to pass new regulations. The language ensured the department could hold people accountable for holding the correct certificate. She explained that if a person was doing electrical work and held a plumbing certificate, it was in regulation, not statute. Representative Wilson thought it seemed odd. She was concerned the bill did not appear to do just one thing. She did not want [the state] to get involved in a fight between trade unions. HB 255 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration. Co-Chair Foster reviewed the schedule for the following week.