February 27, 2018
It's a little before 6 am on Tuesday morning. I've been awake since about 5 reading through some bills that I believe will come up today. One bill is Senate Bill 2572, here is the title on the bill;
1 AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 73-59-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO
2 REVISE THE DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED IN THE RESIDENTIAL BUILDERS
3 AND REMODELERS LICENSING LAW; TO AMEND SECTION 73-59-3,
4 MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE LIST OF PERSONS REQUIRED
5 TO BE LICENSED BY THE STATE BOARD OF CONTRACTORS UNDER THIS
6 CHAPTER; TO AMEND SECTION 73-59-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO
7 CLARIFY THE VIOLATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH LICENSING; TO AMEND
8 SECTION 73-59-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE PERSONS
9 EXEMPT FROM THE CHAPTER; TO AMEND SECTION 73-59-19, MISSISSIPPI
10 CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE EXEMPTION FOR LICENSEES TO WORK ON
11 CERTAIN COMMERCIAL STRUCTURES WITHOUT AN ADDITIONAL LICENSE; TO
12 AMEND SECTIONS 73-59-5, 73-59-7, 73-59-11, 73-59-13 AND 73-59-17,
13 MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; TO AMEND SECTION 27-17-457,
14 MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ANY RESIDENTIAL TRADE
15 CONTRACTOR WHO HOLDS A CURRENT LICENSE ISSUED BY THE STATE BOARD
16 OF CONTRACTORS UNDER CHAPTER 59, TITLE 73, SHALL BE ALLOWED TO DO
17 BUSINESS IN ANY MUNICIPALITY OR COUNTY IN THE STATE WITHOUT BEING
18 REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A SEPARATE LICENSE OR PRIVILEGE LICENSE BOND IN
19 A MUNICIPALITY OR COUNTY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
So, why was I reading this bill? Yesterday I got a note from the home builder's lobbyist asking me to come talk to her about this bill. In our discussion she said this bill does no harm to anyone and simply protects citizens. The only reason the home builder's association wants this bill passed is because they are concerned about consumer protection.
So what does this bill actually do?
First it requires anyone who does electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation or air-conditioning work on a residential building to acquire a license through the state board of contractors. It also states that anyone doing any remodeling work on a residence must also obtain a license before that work can be performed. It excludes anyone working on their own home.
but what about working on your rental home?
how does this affect my handyman who does work around my house when I'm out of town?
how many handymen are we putting out of business?
What about building a fence in your back yard?
How does this affect a handyman from memphis? Does this mean the buy who does work on my home but lives in memphis must obtain a mississippi license?
The bill also requires anyone licensed must pass a written exam before they receive a license but I was told anyone can pass this test. It was stated that it was open book and was so easy no one could fail. If that is true then what is the purpose of the test? How is that actually protecting consumers?
Once again I've come to the conclusion that this bill is simply an industry board trying to gain control and power and limit competition within an industry.
This bill may come up in committee today so I am prepared to try and kill the bill. But the fact is if it comes up in committee it will likely pass. So then I try to kill it on the floor. All i've got here is one vote but I intend to use that one vote to protect the people of Mississippi from an out of control government.
It's 5 pm and I'm back at my RV after a day of fighting to stop bad legislation. One of the most satisfying things that happens during my day is when I can be a part of killing a bad bill. I love it when I get to vote NO and I'm joined with others to kill a bill. Its a great feeling, one minute there is some really bad legislation that is on its way to becoming law and the next minute its dead. Unfortunately with a republican super majority often times the only way to kill some of these bad bills is with the help of democrats. That may seem odd but many of the republicans here will vote for anything a committee chairman brings up in committee. They have no real conviction of their own, they just do whatever thier told. So it takes a group of democrats to kill something, usually the committees are set up so there is never enough democrats to kill something on their own so it takes a couple of republicans who can think for themselves to actually kill the bill. Killing bills doesn't happen often but when it does its great.
The handyman licensing bill passed the judiciary A committee this morning. I asked several questions but didn't try to amend kill the bill because the chairman of the committee committed to working to fix the language so it would not prevent anyone from working. I don't honestly believe this bill can be fixed but sometimes its better to let it go and fight it another day. If this bill makes it to the House floor i'll attempt to amend it or kill it but we'll see. One thing i've learned here over the past 3 years is there is no way to know what will happen next.
Tonight, there are several headed to dinners with lobbyist, I was invited to one dinner (I honestly don't have any idea what lobbyist it was) but instead i've decided to go eat pizza, that we pay for ourselves, with the some of the other representatives from desoto county. sometimes at the end of the day its just better to be with friends you can trust.