The state Senate and Assembly approved a bill Tuesday 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 legislative committees a number of times before being approved Tuesday, would set new standards for electricians who seek to get master’s or journeymen licenses and would require those who are registered as various other types of 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 amendments mostly made changes to those exemptions and some contained in previous electrician licensing bills. The original version of AB 683, for instance, would exempt electricians born before 1955 and with 15 years of experience; the amended version would exempt those born before 1956.
Another change would require electricians 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, to those who work on electrical signs and to volunteers doing electrical work for nonprofit groups such as Habitat for Humanity. Other provisions of the bill are meant to ensure that Wisconsin can reach a reach a reciprocity agreement with Minnesota and other states. Such an agreement would make it easier for Wisconsin electrical workers to obtain electricians licenses in those places.
To become law, AB 683 must still be signed by Gov. Scott Walker.