2002 No Action
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1995 No Action
July 7, 1997
TO THE HONORABLE, THE SENATE:
In accordance with the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws § 43-1-4, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 97-S 571, Substitute A, "An Act Relating to Businesses and Professions Ñ Plumbers."
The Act moves the statutory authority for licensing plumbers from the Director of the Department of Health to an independent Board of Plumbing Examiners. Under the Act, the Board would be imbued not only with sole authority to set examination standards, establish the rules of practice for plumbers and govern their discipline and removal, the Board would also possess sole discretion to determine when and whether to waive such standards, rules and restrictions. The Act makes final all decisions by the Board.
The Board currently operates, in an advisory capacity, under the supervision and control of the Director of the Department of Health. As late as the early 1980's the Board operated with the kind of autonomy and unfettered discretion proposed by this Act. In 1983, while serving as the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island, I prosecuted former members of this Board and obtained criminal convictions against them in connection with the issuance of plumbers' licenses. At that time the Board, through legislation, was placed under the supervision and control of the Department of Health to prevent further corruption and abuse. There have been no similar problems during the time that such state oversight has been in place.
There is no compelling reason why the Board should be given the measure of independence from State supervision contained in this Act. On the contrary, giving the Board the enormous power envisioned by the Act, along with complete discretion to waive all requirements for the issuance of plumbers' licenses, just sets the Board up for a repeat of past performances. It is telling that the Act has not been supported by the Board itself.
For the foregoing reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of a veto.