In a stunning conclusion to quick work by the Texas Turf Irrigation Association, Governor Rick Perry signed into law HB2507 on June 17, 2011. This legislation makes it a class C misdemeanor for an individual to install an irrigation system without a license. The TTIA brought the verbage for this bill to representative Chisum of Pampa in January, and worked tirelessly through contact to local representatives, pounding the pavement in Austin to visit with representatives about the bill, and communicating with its members about the bill, to help it pass both chambers of the Texas legislature.
The idea for this bill was born at the January TTIA meeting of the board of trustees, and board and staff members worked quickly to give the idea wings. What many irrigators communicate to TTIA is that TCEQ rules tend to prosecute licensed irrigators while the unlicensed irrigation contractor goes unpunished. Many municipal and county judges across the state will not prosecute unlicensed installers because there is no clear punishment for the offense. TTIA is proud to let its members know that HB 2507 is the direct result of their TTIA representatives working on behalf of its member irrigators across the state, to help give the offense of practicing irrigation without a license the criminality it deserves. It is TTIA’s hope that this bill will help cities pursue enforcement of their landscape irrigation ordinances, as well as discourage individuals from ignoring the rules and regulations that licensed irrigators willingly submit themselves to by obeying Texas state law and keeping their license current. Having the state of Texas acknowledge that disregarding a set of laws, which risks both the quality of our municipals’ water systems, and the well-being of a large population of professional contractors in Texas, is a critical first step in putting some teeth in the mouth of enforcement.
As a class C misdemeanor, practicing irrigation without a license becomes a crime. A ticketable, trackable, legally binding offense in the eyes of the law. TTIA takes very seriously the longevity and success of its members. This HB is a direct result of TTIA action on behalf of its members, and is the first step of many that TTIA is taking and will take on behalf of its members at the state level.
TTIA and other supporters of this bill hope that the increased risk of financial consequences will discourage unlicensed contractors to practice irrigation, or will encourage them to pursue licensing, so that they can practice irrigation legally. To read the actual bill, and see a timeline of its trek through the legislature.
If you are reading this and you are not currently a member, PLEASE join TTIA. Only through coming together can we ever hope to have our voices heard.