SNOW HILL – County officials approved emergency legislation meant to address licensing issues for local electricians.
The Worcester County Commissioners last week approved an emergency bill that would give local general electricians the chance to qualify for a master electrician license. The general electrician category of license was not included in the Maryland Electricians Act passed by the state.
“We’re seeking to amend the building regulations article so that we can establish standards and criteria to give our general electricians of Worcester County the ability to qualify to take an exam, so they can qualify to be a master electrician, which is a category that the state recognizes,” said Jennifer Keener, the county’s director of development review and permitting.
According to Keener, the Worcester County Board of Electrical Examiners in July recommended that general electricians be provided an opportunity to qualify to test for a master electrician license. Senate Bill 762, the Maryland Electricians Act, prohibits local jurisdictions from licensing certain classes of electricians as of July 1, 2021.
In her report to the commissioners, Keener explained that Worcester was one of several counties that licensed general electricians in the past but that the state now had just three license categories — master, journeyperson and apprentice.
“After many discussions with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and state officials, our board has determined that certain local amendments are necessary in order to provide the general electricians of Worcester County with a viable path forward,” she wrote.
Commissioner Chip Bertino asked if this would help those who would otherwise have been put out of a job by a “not very well thought out” state edict.
Keener confirmed that it would. She also praised the Board of License Examiners for working through the summer to come up with a solution for general electricians in Worcester County.
“Right now we have about 57 general electricians on our books,” Keener said. “Some of them may have qualified for a master license in other jurisdictions but we will notify every one of them of this opportunity if it’s approved. Hopefully in the next week or two they’ll have the ability to apply to take that test.”
She said the test would be administered in December.
Commissioner Ted Elder asked if the board had any idea how tough the exam would be.
“They understand the scope of the general electricians and they’re developing a test specifically for this instance,” she said. “We can’t obviously guarantee that everybody will pass but they’re working on the exam right now.”
Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said the state could make additional changes to electrician licensing requirements going forward and that the county would need to remain in communication with the local delegation.
“We’ll have to make sure we pay attention to what’s going on up there,” he said.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the emergency bill.