Statewide Licensing for Electricians is a Step Backwards

MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally testified in opposition to House Bill 1407, “Maryland Electricians Act – Revisions”, before the House Economic Matters Committee on March 14, 2018.

This bill would repeal long-standing local authority to license electricians and imposes a new, less comprehensive, statewide system. It would also remove the ability of local governments to issue any electrical licenses, which would be phased in by 2021. MACo believes it is premature to address this issue, among others in the bill, while broader discussions on electrical licensing reform are still underway.

The bill attempts to implement certain select conclusions of the 2013 Task Force to Study Licensing and Continuing Education Requirements for Electricians in Maryland, including eliminating local licensure. However, the components in this bill do not represent any broad consensus reached among the numerous stakeholders in this still-ongoing effort.

From MACo Testimony:

While all but two counties (Allegany and Garrett) license master electricians, there are five counties (Calvert, Charles, Harford, Montgomery, and Prince George’s) that license journeyman electricians. There are also a number of other local licensed classes of electricians including general, limited or restricted, and apprenticeships. As the bill removes all licensing authority for local jurisdictions, journeymen and other local classes of electricians would effectively lose their local ability to perform services. These classes would be forced to meet new state standards for journeymen that for some of the other local licensed classes may be more rigorous than necessary to continue to provide their limited level of services.

Furthermore, local electrical boards are best situated to oversee and discipline electricians working within their jurisdictions. Counties appreciate that the bill retains some ability for local boards to regulate electricians through a registration system. However, for proper enforcement action, it is important for counties to be able to restrict, suspend, or revoke a state license holder’s right to perform electrical services in that jurisdiction.

Counties maintain they are in the best position to locally license and regulate electricians.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.