PRESS RELEASE
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
May 20, 2003
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Mold Remediators Licensing Bill Clears Senate Committee

AUSTIN -- Aiming to address a major factor in the state's homeowners insurance crisis, a Senate committee today approved a bill sponsored by Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, requiring the licensing and training of mold remediators.

The legislation, House Bill 329, creates a licensing and regulatory framework for mold remediators and mold assessors, and provides broad rulemaking authority to the Texas Department of Health (TDH) for licensing requirements, fees, and acceptable mold removal procedures.

The bill, approved by the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, was authored in the Texas House by state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

"The lack of oversight for mold remediators has allowed the transformation of many careers," Fraser told the committee. "People who on Monday were cleaning swimming pools, on Tuesday became expert mold remediators. The only thing they needed was a new batch of business cards and a sign for their pickup."

Currently, remediators and assessors are not regulated under state or federal law.

Fraser said the lack of regulation has contributed substantially to the homeowners insurance crisis in Texas, including higher costs for mold remediation and assessment, excessive and unnecessary renovation of homes, and unsafe methods of removal and cleaning of mold contaminated material.

The result, Fraser said, is an increase in insurance company losses, which in turn are passed on to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums.

"Even though not every homeowner will opt for mold coverage in the future, people who have mold problems should be able to employ licensed, competent professionals to do the work," Fraser said. The bill requires licensing for persons engaged in mold assessment and mold remediation activities unless they are exempted, and it authorizes the TDH at its discretion to adopt rules to require the registration of exempt employees of license holders.

The TDH is granted rulemaking authority regarding the scope of mold-related work for licensing and training, a code of ethics, performance standards, and development of mold safety standards if there is appropriate scientific information regarding the effect of mold.

The bill also authorizes the TDH to conduct a public statewide education and outreach program regarding the importance of and ways to improve indoor air quality.

The bill prohibits a license holder from performing both mold assessment and mold remediation on the same project and prohibits a person from owning an interest in both the mold assessment company and the mold remediation company that performs services on the same project.

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