RD728 - Report on House Joint Resolution 561: Evaluation of the Efficacy of the Commonwealth’s Occupational Licensing Laws for Construction Trades – November 19, 2021
The Speaker of the House of Delegates referred the subject matter in House Joint Resolution 561 to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) for study. The legislation directed an evaluation of “the efficacy of the Commonwealth’s occupational licensing laws for construction trades."
DPOR convened the Trade Exploration Work Group, a committee comprised of representatives of multiple organizations from the construction industry. After assessing the regulatory framework and research findings against statutory criteria for occupational licensing, the Work Group adopted proposals that enjoy broad, though not unanimous, support.
Representatives of commercial and residential contractors are unable to endorse additional regulation on principle, even if certification is initially established on a voluntary basis, given that the public appears adequately protected with the existing system. Labor advocates continue to push for more individual licensing requirements, increased enforcement, and attention to wage theft and misclassification.
The Trade Exploration Work Group recommends five actions to promote a well-trained workforce without overregulating the industry:
• Establish new voluntary certifications for five construction trades;
• Promote increased focus and funding for unlicensed activity prosecution;
• Exempt apprentices from exam requirement for journeyman license;
• Accept more national certification programs as substantially equivalent; and
• Recognize contractor businesses for hiring more licensed tradesmen.