August 9, 2006
RECIPROCAL LICENSURE IN THE ELECTRICAL TRADE
By: Daniel Duffy, Principal Analyst
You asked (1) for a summary of the Connecticut statute concerned with licensing out-of-state electricians on a reciprocal basis and for its legislative history, (2) for a summary of its implementing regulation, (3) if the state has entered into a reciprocal licensing agreement with Massachusetts or any other state, and (4) for copies of board minutes or other documents concerning reciprocal licensure.
Connecticut statute allows the consumer protection commissioner to give a state license to an electrician or other tradesman licensed by another state or commonwealth if that jurisdiction has (1) licensing standards equal to or better than Connecticut's and (2) entered a reciprocal licensing agreement with Connecticut. The law was adopted in 1986. When introducing the bill in their respective chambers, Senator Upson and Representative Dickenson both said that the bill's main thrust was to make a reciprocal licensing agreement with Massachusetts possible.
The implementing regulation authorizes the appropriate licensing board, rather than the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), to enter agreements with other states to provide for reciprocal licensing. It requires applicants for a license on a reciprocal basis to meet all of Connecticut's licensing standards other than taking the exam.
Connecticut has not entered into an electrician reciprocal licensing arrangement with Massachusetts or any other state.
The Electrical Work Examining Board has not considered the issue but will be considering reciprocal licensure at its next meeting on August 11, 2006. A copy of its agenda is enclosed.
The statute allows the DCP commissioner to grant a license without examination to a currently practicing, competent individual who holds a similar license granted by another state having licensure requirements substantially similar to, or higher than, those of this state if the other state grants a similar license without examination to currently practicing Connecticut license holders (CGS § 20-333a). The law applies to licensed electricians; plumbers; solar, heating, piping, and cooling contractors and journeymen; elevator contractors and journeymen; fire protection sprinkler craftsmen; and irrigation contractors and journeymen. It allows the commissioner, with the advice and consent of the appropriate examining boards, to adopt implementing regulations.
The law was adopted in 1986 (PA 86-145, SB 129). Two speakers discussed the bill in its public hearing. Roland Bonosconi, DCP licensing director, testified that the construction industry has become “very mobile” and that there is a hardship when a national concern, like Holiday Inn, wants to enter a contract with a single contractor to build in more than one state. Because each state has its own licensing requirements, a contractor licensed by one state must take additional licensing exams to work in other states. This fact limits the number of contractors who can enter this type of multiple-state contract. The bill would eliminate the need to take multiple licensing exams in states that enter reciprocal licensing agreements. Bonosconi indicated that the licensing boards supported the bill (General Law Public Hearing, February 18, 1986, pp. 20-21).
John Olson, representing the Greenwich Building Trades, expressed concern that the DCP commissioner would be allowed to issue licenses without examination. He added that a reciprocal license should be issued only for a limited period of time, such as six months (General Law Public Hearing, February 18, 1986, pp. 41-42).
Senator Upson introduced the bill in the Senate on April 3. He stated that it would allow DCP through the different regulating boards to allow contractors from other states to do business in the state without taking an exam if they have already taken an equivalent one in another state. He indicated that this would primarily affect licensing arrangements with Massachusetts because it has already entered reciprocal licensing agreements with other states. Senator Avallone objected to the bill because he felt that this would be unfair to Connecticut contractors. Senator Daniels expressed concern that it would give an advantage to journeymen and apprentices from other states. Senator Eaton expressed his support for the bill because it would be “a two-way street.” Senators Hampton and Consoli opposed the bill because they feared it could adversely affect the apprenticeship system (Senate Proceedings, pp. 743 to 760 (1986)).
Representative Dickinson introduced the bill in the House on April 25. He said that it would allow DCP and the occupational licensing boards to make reciprocal agreements with other states allowing contractors to work in those states “and obviously vice versa.” He said that the bill was part of DCP's package of bills and that “the main thrust of it is to apply for work in Massachusetts since that state has reciprocal agreements with other states.” He added that it would not apply to apprentices and that a determination about other standards would be made “in cooperation between members of the occupational boards and the agency.” Further, “reciprocal agreements would not be entered into with any other state unless the concurrence is there between those boards and the agency” (House Proceedings, pp. 3791 to 3794 (1986)).
The implementing regulation authorizes the licensing boards to make agreements with other states to provide for reciprocal licensing without examination. It was adopted in 1993. Apart from the examination, it requires an applicant to meet Connecticut licensing standards. These require applicants to: be at least 18 years old, satisfy the licensing boards that he is of good moral character, and have graduated from eighth grade or have an equivalent education. A journeyman applicant must have: completed an approved apprenticeship program, and at least four years experience in the trade. Applicants for contractor licenses must have served at least two years as journeymen (CGS § 20-333).
In addition, the regulation requires applicants to submit a certified statement from their licensing authority attesting to the date, method, and type of examination by which the license was issued and the fact that the applicant's license is not currently under suspension, revocation, probation, or other penalty. Applicants must apply for a license that is either equivalent to or less than the license they hold. Applicants must comply with all applicable law. An applicant who has been rejected for a license may petition the appropriate licensing board for a review on the individual basis of his application (Regs. Conn. State Agencies § 20-332-21a).