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New rules for electricians likely facing delay

By Lou Hillman, lhillman@wkbt.com
Published On: Mar 11 2013 02:27:18 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 06 2013 11:04:33 PM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

A law impacting almost all electrical work in the state of Wisconsin is on the verge of being put off until next year.

The Wisconsin State Assembly and Wisconsin State Senate have both approved AB 35. It would delay implementation of a law approved in 2008 set to take effect on April 1, 2013.

Mike Geary, an electrician based in Viola, is speaking out against the delay. The law requires electricians to be licensed in the state and for certain work to be done under the supervision of a master electrician.

“If you've got a pliers and a screwdriver, you can call yourself an electrician,” said Geary.

“That law would eliminate that from happening and make it a much safer industry," he added.

Implementation would now be pushed back to April 1, 2014. Governor Walker’s office did not respond to News 8’s question about whether or not he plans to sign it into law.

“It’s really a kick in the teeth to our industry and anyone that has prepared," said Geary.

“We're concerned that there is a lack of clarity," said Scott Manley, vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (MWC).

The organization lobbied in favor of a delay, arguing it will hurt hundreds of businesses in the state that employ their own in-house electrical workers.

"They're very skilled at what they do and they're very good at what they're doing,” said Manley.

“They've been doing it for years and we don't think it makes sense to require them to become certified to do the job they've been doing for a long time," he added.

Critics of the delay say everyone has had more than enough time to prepare for the change.

“There's no reason that in five years, you shouldn't be prepared for this. It's all part of making our industry safer,” said Geary.

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