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House rejects Bill to decrease limits on home repairs that you can do without a license

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, April 26, a bill that would have forced many “handymen” to either become state licensed home repairmen or get out of the business was defeated in the Alabama House on the Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR). House Bill 341 was sponsored by State Representative Steve McMillan (R-Bay Minette).

Rep. McMillan said that insurance companies give a cost break to homeowners with fortified roofs. HB341 would require that the roofing/building industry inform the public of their option to have a fortified roof. Many homeowners could get reduced insurance premiums if they would install a fortified roof instead of simply replacing the roof that they have. This bill would require roofers to inform the homeowner of this option. The bill also lowers the threshold needed to be able to do work on homes without having a home license from the State Home Builders Licensure Board to just $1000 worth of work. The current threshold is $10,000. McMillan said that they would amend the bill to $5000 on the floor.

State Representative Isaac Whorton (R-Valley) wrote on social media, “The bill would require contractors who do $5000 or more in residential construction to be licensed by the board. Current limit is $10,000. Would also require a roofer who does $2500 or more in residential construction to be licensed. Also requires a $10,000 bond to be posted by the builder.”

State Representative John Rogers (D-Birmingham) said that the man who works on his home is a handyman and not a licensed home builder. Rogers said that this bill would hit minorities hard because many people in their community make their living doing small jobs like painting houses and repairing roofs and that his handyman (and others like him) have asked Rogers to stop this bill.

Rep. Rogers said that many of them did not have home builder licenses and that lowering the threshold was putting a barrier for many people to do this sort of work. Rogers said that it was not fair for the little guy.

Rep. McMillan said that HB341 was a consumer protection bill and it is not fair to the public when their project is done wrong.

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A bipartisan group of Legislators came to the floor to criticize the bill and urge that the House reject the measure.

Under the rules of the Alabama House of Representatives if the budgets have not been passed yet then the body must pass a Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR) to consider any bill that might affect the budget. It takes a three fifths vote of the members present to pass the BIR so that the House can then consider the bill.

HB341 failed on the BIR vote.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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