Wednesday, March 07, 2007

S. 67 Tying the hands of the homeowner

March 8 Labor, Commerce, & Industry Committee
S. 67 is a bill that prohibits an unlicensed installer from purchasing heating & air equipment from a distributor. On the other hand, it criminalizes a distributor from selling equipment to an individual unless they are licensed.

I have decided not to support S. 67 for a number of reasons. Most importantly, LLR is not doing a satisfactory performance of regulating licensed installers and the investigation of un-licensed installers. S. 67 placed an additional burden on LLR by forcing the agency to be responsible for distributors as well. Currently, LLR cannot enforce regulations on an unlicensed entity. So, this bill must contain a plan to license distributors. This new regulation will only exacerbate problems and will not protect the public. Possibly LLR needs more resources to implement current regulations?

S. 67 will impose liability on the distributor. What kinds of records should be expected of distributors? Should we hold the distributor responsible for lapsed licensing, or forged documents? This will surely lead to the inclusion of distributors in tort cases involving improper installations.

Also, S. 67 does not permit a homeowner from purchasing HVAC equipment for installation on his or her own home. I agree that those in the business of residential installations should be licensed; yet a homeowner should be permitted to attempt this or any other kind of improvement. A tremendous encroachment on individual freedom is imposed in this legislation. I am not aware of any other law that ties the hands of the homeowner. This will definitely lead us down a slippery slope. What’s next? Water heaters? Plumbing supplies? Light bulbs? Should the safety squad outlaw individuals from working on their car?

I have always been very skeptical of new government regulation, simply because it increases the scope of government leading to increased overhead in the market. The public ultimately suffers, as new regulation usually lead to increased costs.

“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.” Milton Friedman

Fortunately, the chairman of the subcommittee, Sen. Danny Verdin, was wise enough to make the motion that this bill be recommitted to subcommittee for further review.