HB 479 – Electrical contractors

Phil Haunschild 2018 House bill ratings

Bill Description: HB 479 adjusts the way in which Idaho regulates individuals who do electrical work in the state.

Rating: -1

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law?

HB 479 would remove specific mention of a private organization, the American Standards Institute, since organized under the name of the American National Standards Institute (Page 1, Lines 31-33). ANSI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is “to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.” Though their mission states that it works toward the “voluntary consensus” of members, as noted in Idaho Code, decisions that ANSI makes are binding on all electricians in Idaho.

Removing specific mention of the American National Standards Institute from Idaho Code will take away the preferential treatment it receives under the law.


Does it increase barriers to entry into the market?

HB 479 would create a new Electrical Facility Employer Account license, for employers who hire licensed electricians to work on their own premises (Page 4, Lines 33-39). This license would be required for businesses with journeymen or master electricians in their employ. This would disincentivize the employers from hiring these employees.


Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

As part of the new Facility Account License, each facility would be assessed a fee of $125 prior to obtaining the license (Page 8, Line 1). Facilities would be required to pay this fee each and every year in order to continue doing business in the state.


Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

HB 479 would further limit the amount of maintenance work that private companies can do on their facilities without hiring a licensed electrician (page 9, Lines 6-9). Current law allows maintenance personnel to do any maintenance work. Under HB 479, the work of maintenance personnel would be limited to maintaining or replacing a handful of types of equipment without updating or improving features.


The new Electrical Facility Employer Account license would allow an employer to hire their own electricians, rather than being required to outsource the work. This could reduce the cost to these businesses who wish to hire a licensed electrician.


This analysis was updated on 2/21/18 to more accurately reflect the impact of this legislation.