The Legislature voted 17-8 Monday night to approve a law that would require electricians who do business in Dutchess County to carry a Master Electricians license. The Legislature has a veto-proof majority of 17 votes.
The cities of Kingston, Beacon and Poughkeepsie, the counties of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Greene, Sullivan, Orange, Rockland and the states of Connecticut, Massechusetts and New Jersey all require licensing for electricians.
Law co-sponsor Legislator William McCabe, D-Union Vale, said that in the past, Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus has opposed the electrical licensing law. However, most people believe that to be a purely political decision of his, having nothing to do with the actual law. The licensing law was just a convenient political football.
The law says applicants must have seven years of experience and pay a $350 fee, as well as other fees. The Electrical Licensing Board, which grants licenses, can make exceptions if an applicant fits the requirements. These are the same requirements that are found in every other locale requiring an Electrical License, including the City of Poughkeepsie.
Proponents say the law protects the consumer and deals with a public safety issue — First, it gives a consumer who receives a shoddy installation a remedy and a place to lodge a complaint and get action and will help minimize the occurrences of fires caused by faulty wiring.