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Texas State Legislature - Draft Bill Analysis for HB 3837 - Professional Rainwater Harvester License

Monday, March 23, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: ARCSA Admin
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Texas State Legislature - Draft Bill Analysis for HB 3837 - Professional Rainwater Harvester License
Letter from the President of Texas Rainwater Catchment Association (TRCA)
March 20, 2015

Dear Fellow Rainwater Harvesting Enthusiast,

As I'm sure most of you know, the 84th Regular Session of the Texas State Legislature is now seated and open for business. TRCA created a Legislative Committee in an effort to cash in on the old adage that 'two heads are better than one'. The Committee is comprised of your Board of Directors, Jack Holmgreen and Joe Wheeler. Together, we have met on several occasions in person as well as through telephone conference calls to discuss various aspects of our legislative initiatives. To date, the group has moved forward with each of our collective decisions representing consensus positions held by the entirety of the committee. With the assistance of our very able lobbyist, Lillie Gilligan, we have successfully introduced House Bill 3837 to call for the establishment of a Professional Rainwater Harvester's Licensing Program. We are waiting for our bill's assignment to a reviewing committee to consider the bill and provide their recommendation to the entire body of the House. We anticipate that we will be heard before either the Agriculture and Livestock Committee or the Natural Resources Committee. Several of our committee members attended a meeting earlier this week with the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, Rep. James Keffer. We were well received and the chairman pledged his support whether we came before his committee or not. We have included a copy of the Draft Bill Analysis as the friendliest and most thorough explanation of the provisions of the Bill, see article below.

This session, our sponsor in the House is a Representative from the Valley, Eddie Lucio, III. Representative Lucio has sponsored several other environmentally conscious pieces of legislation and represents a natural to carry our banner. We look forward to working with him and his staff.

Concurrently, we are attempting to find the best way to introduce some language changes to a few already passed pieces of legislation that will help avoid confusion and will help avoid unintended consequences of earlier wording choices. At this time, we have targeted an already filed bill in the Senate, with related content and hope to have the sponsor attach our language as a friendly amendment to his bill. We will keep you posted as this situation unfolds.
Lastly, I'd like to take a moment to recognize individuals who have each contributed to the legislative fund to help defray the cost of our lobbyist. We have received direct pledges to TRCA for this purpose from Mark Pape in the amount of $2100, Mark Leatherman, Joe Wheeler, Eddie Craig and Paul Lawrence for $500 each. Thanks to each of these members and their financial commitment to the effort. We now need more help from each of you if we are going to maintain our efforts from this point forward. This is your future; invest in your future. The Legislature will be meeting into June and our expenses will need to be met until the last gavel falls. Many others are dedicating significant blocks of their own personal time to read, review, comment and discuss legislative issues of the day. In the near future, this same core group will be running around the capitol building while educating legislators and their staff about rainwater in general and about what our bill can do for Texas. Very soon, we will need each of you to visit with your district representatives to tell them why the citizens of the State of Texas need this bill. We will provide you with a long list of talking points that you can use to put together your own story to tell your representative. We'll be in touch.

Make your check payable to: TRCA Legislative Fund and send to: Mark Pape, 12050 Meadow Lake Drive, Argyle, TX 76226-4501
Best regards to all,
Paul Lawrence,
President, Texas Rainwater Catchment Association
Draft Bill Analysis for HB 3837 - Professional Rainwater Harvester License
Statement of Intent
There is a growing community of individuals, commercial interests and institutions that have or are planning to employ rainwater harvesting at their site
Some of these applications include the establishment of a potable water supply for the end user; this represents a health and safety issue for the end user
Rainwater Harvesting is an currently unlicensed practice which does not have the capacity to protect the end user from the consequences of the actions of an undertrained installer
This bill intends to enable the establishment of a Professional Licensing Program that would provide end users with the assurances that their professional installer is technically capable to design and install a rainwater harvesting system that meets all codes and standards and is appropriate for their intended use.
Rulemaking Authority
The entire program and all associated rulemaking will occur within the Department of Agriculture
The rulemaking process will establish a licensing program designed to direct the licensure of Professional Rainwater Harvesters practicing in the areas of design, installation, maintenance, repair and inspection of rainwater harvesting systems utilizing storage catchments in excess of 500 gallons capacity
More specifically, the entire program will be contained within a newly created chapter, (Chapter 202) of Section 1. Title 7, Agriculture Code under the authority of the Commissioner of Agriculture and as directed by the Commissioner
Section by Section
SUBCHAPTER A Powers and Duties of Department
Section 202.001 Rules
The rulemaking process will establish a licensing program that will:
Set licensing and other fees as appropriate to ensure that the program is financially self-sustaining
Set the term of the license
Establish procedures for disciplinary actions
Set or reference standards for the installation and maintenance
Section 202.002 Licensing and Regulatory Duties
Review and act upon each application for licensure
Issue each license when qualifications have been met
Deny, suspend or revoke a license or discipline a license holder in accordance with disciplinary actions policies
SUBCHAPTER B Rainwater Harvesting License
Section 202.051 License Required
Establish a prohibition to practice rainwater harvesting for systems greater than 500 gallon capacity unless the individual is
Licensed to practice under the Department of Agriculture’s Rainwater Harvesting License Program or
Licensed Master Plumber or Journeyman Plumber issued by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners and holds a Water Supply Protection Specialist Endorsement issued by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners
Section 202.052 Issuance of License
The Department shall issue a license to an applicant who
Meets eligibility requirements of Section 202.053;
Submits an application as prescribed by the Department, and
Pays the required application fee
Section 202.053 Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a license under this chapter, an applicant must
successfully complete a rainwater harvesting training program approved by the department; and
pass an examination administered or approved by the department
Section 202.054 License Term and Renewal
A license issued under this chapter is valid for three years
A person who holds a license under this chapter may renew the license by:
paying the required renewal fee;
submitting the appropriate form; and
meeting any other requirement established by department rule
Section 202.055 Continuing Education Requirements
Establish the number of hours appropriate
Adopt a process to assess the license holder’s participation in qualifying educations courses
SUBCHAPTER C Penalties and Enforcement Provisions
Section 202.101 License Suspension or Revocation
The department may suspend or revoke a license if the license holder violates this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter
Section 202.102 Criminal Penalty
A person commits an offense if the person violates Section 202.051
An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor
The Act takes effect initially on September 1, 2015 for purposes of establishing the licensing program within the Department through the rulemaking process. The full effects of the licensing program go into effect on September 1, 2016.

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