TDLR’s Regulatory Role
Under Texas Administrative Code 60.22(a), TDLR has broad powers, including issuing and renewing licenses, resolving complaints, conducting investigations and inspections, imposing sanctions and administrative penalties, and administering exams.
Throughout the licensing and regulation process, TDLR’s actions can be the difference between practicing your livelihood and losing your electrician license.
Under Texas Occupations Code 1305.002(11), only an electrician licensed by TDLR can install, maintain, or extend “an electrical wiring system and the appurtenances, apparatus, or equipment used in connection with the use of electrical energy in, on, outside, or attached to a building, residence, structure, property, or premises.” Similarly, a licensed electrician is required for “the connection or disconnection of a residential appliance, including a pool-related electrical device, to an existing electrical circuit other than by inserting or removing a plug from an electrical outlet.” Every task you perform as an electrician requires one of the licenses issued by TDLR.
When you apply for an electrician license or electrical contractor license, TDLR requires a criminal history questionnaire (CHQ). It is difficult to predict how TDLR will use this disclosure. While TDLR must revoke a license when a licensed electrician is imprisoned for a felony, TDLR is permitted to look beyond past criminal convictions when granting new licenses. In fact, under Texas Occupations Code 53.023 even offenses that might relate to the duties and responsibilities of an electrician, such as fraud, can be excused based on:
- The extent and nature of your past criminal activity.
- Your age when the crime was committed.
- The amount of time that has elapsed since your last criminal activity.
- Your conduct and work activity before and after the criminal activity.
- Evidence of your rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort.
- Evidence of your compliance with any conditions of mandatory supervision.
- Other evidence of your fitness, including letters of recommendation.
Since these factors are applied at TDLR’s discretion, you may wish to consider hiring a TDLR lawyer to represent you when preparing your license application and, if your application is rejected, during any challenge.
Complying with regulations seems easy, but you may be tempted to allow small things to slide. For example, you may feel that you are too busy running your business. Or you may think that small things, like tracking hours of supervision for trainees, do not matter. However, electricians found to be non-compliant can face stiff penalties, including fines, license suspensions, and even criminal penalties in cases where you perform work on an expired, suspended, or revoked license.
TDLR attorneys can help you to develop processes to ensure your compliance with regulations. A compliance program will make it easier to address complaints, pass inspections, show that your work is safe and has been performed according to legal and industry standards.
Contesting Adverse Actions
Electricians are responsible for not just electrical work, but also the risks of fire and electrocution where the work is performed. Consequently, TDLR has a strong incentive to investigate every complaint about electrical work.
There are three types of TDLR actions you can contest: rejection of a license application, assessment of an administrative penalty, and commencement of a disciplinary proceeding. These actions are conducted like trials under Texas Government Code 2001.051. After TDLR provides you with notice of the action, you are given an opportunity to present arguments and evidence at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Because the hearing is very similar to a trial and the consequences can be serious, you may wish to have a TDLR lawyer accustomed to legal proceedings present your case for you.
Contact us at FosterDanowsky to speak with a TDLR attorney who can help you apply for an electrician license, create regulatory compliance procedures, or advocate for you at SOAH.