A legislative committee approved a bill Thursday that would require most electricians in Wisconsin obtain state-issued licenses to continue working in their field past April 1.
Assembly Bill 683, which was amended by the Assembly Committee on Labor five times before being approved, would set new standards for electricians who seek to get master’s or journeymen licenses and would require those who are registered as beginner electricians to work under the supervision of a master or journeyman. The rules were originally to go into effect April 1, 2013, but state lawmakers extended the deadline by a year to work on exemptions meant to protect jobs.
The five amendments adopted Thursday mostly made changes to those exemptions and those contained in previous electrician licensing bills. The original version of AB 683, for instance, would exempt electricians born before 1955 and who had 15 years of experience; the amended version would exempt those born before 1956.
Another change would require electricians to go through an apprenticeship of at least three years to get a journeyman’s license. The original bill had required an apprenticeship lasting at least four years.
Other exemptions in AB 683 would apply to electrical workers in factories and volunteers doing electrical work for nonprofit groups such as Habitat for Humanity. Other changes in the bill are meant to ensure that Wisconsin can reach a reciprocity agreement with Minnesota and other states. Such an agreement would ease the process needed to obtain a license in those places.
To become law, AB 683 must still be passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker.