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Erik Sine

Controversy over electric signs splits industry - A NO Brainer!!!

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The only thing I would add to these lengthy conversations is...the "open" signs at Home Depot and Sams have a fn' PLUG on them. We're not concerned with every gag gift or decoration called a "sign". We don't put plugs on our monuments, ch.letters, etc.

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Let me explain a few items...

I was part of the electrical sign industry that helped integrate components of the original law and the Manufacturers Exemption was never intended as a method to exempt the sell or manufacturing processes associated with ordinary manufacturing of regular electrical products including signs. This exemption was specifically written to address the complicated and precision manufacturing, calibration, installation and servicing of special proprietary electrical products such as switch gears, integrated electrical circuitry and other specialized electric products that required proprietary and often guarded knowledge to safely and adequately install, service, calibrate and install. It is in the records if you care to research...

Lonnie, with respect, the manufacturing exemption is (and has) indeed been applied specifically to manufacturing electric signs. At the TDLR board meeting on Feb 16th 2012, relating specifically to the manufacture of electrical signs:licensing. Quoting directly from TDLR board minutes:

Presiding Officer Keith Bell called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.

Presiding Officer Keith Bell moved to agenda item I, Report and discussion on application of manufacturers’ exemption under §1305.003(7), Texas Occupations Code to offer to perform electrical work. Christina Kaiser, Enforcement Director, reported that TDLR’s position on this matter is that a person must hold a Sign Contractor license to advertise to install a sign (photovoltaic included). A 6-month grace period will take place before any violations are given.

They are talking about the manufacture of electrical signs, not "special proprietary electrical products" (that language is not in the Texas code either, even if it were the original intent). Specifically they were closing a loophole some manufacturers were using to avoid a sign contractors license to install electric signs they manufactured. This was a good move by TDLR. Even the Texas Sign Association posted their own analysis of the manufacturing exemption, posted here a year or so ago:

http://admin.txsigns.org/pdfs/library/Changes-in-the-Law-and-Rules-as-well-as-revised-TDLR-interpretations-for-2012.pdf

Also, your comments about exempting listed signs (or listed anything) is simply not in the Texas code with regards to electrical sign contractor or electrician licensing. If you feel it is, post a reference to it.

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The only thing I would add to these lengthy conversations is...the "open" signs at Home Depot and Sams have a fn' PLUG on them. We're not concerned with every gag gift or decoration called a "sign". We don't put plugs on our monuments, ch.letters, etc.

There is no exemption or distinction made in the current law for plug-in electric signs vs. hard-wired

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Lonnie, it's as you said a couple of days ago. "The seller has got to take responsibility for the contract, otherwise the end-user gets burned". Same here in the sunny state.

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Lonnie, great points!

Something else real messed up in the State of Texas. There is no General Contractor License. No home builder License either. Throw in no; framing, foundation, or roofing license's.

Man you sure want a lot of government Altex!! Got to be taxes to pay for all this new government too. Exhibit A to government gone out of control... with fingers into every waking moment of your live. That's worse than the welfare state.

Whatever happened to the days of individual responsibility???? You hire a crappy roof contractor = you get a crappy roof. You learn your lesson and do better next time! Or if you're smart, you did your homework ahead of time. No government hand-holding needed.

JG Lemus

A&S Custom Signs

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Jack, I've been in the electrical sign business for over 20 years in Texas. Every company I have worked for has been licensed. With employees that are/were licensed. Granted 20 years ago, this industry was more lax. What is wrong with having employees that must pass tests to become Journeymen or Masters? What's wrong with having a business that plays by the rules? Carries the proper insurance, and installs signs to code? Without these licenses, what recourse does a customer or municipality have? If you can operate without zero oversight, and zero fear of losing your license. Who/what determines which company is a good or bad contractor? Or even able to perform the job they're hired to do?

I need a new roof on my home. I've called the biggest companies with years of experience under their belts. Their salesman may be real knowledgeable, and know their product. But all of them sub contract the actual roof removal and install. None of these companies have their own employees. I asked them point blank. These subs do not carry workers comp. I chatted with my insurance agent. And asked him why the insurance companies will write a check to a roofing company that subs out to un insured companies? He couldn't give me an answer. He is well aware of the practice. Even mentioned if one of the workers gets injured working on my roof. I can be sued on my home owners policy.

I still haven't replaced my roof. May do it myself with some of my employees. After all, anyone can do roofing.

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"I still haven't replaced my roof. May do it myself with some of my employees. After all, anyone can do roofing."

I have been an electrician for many years.

I was thinking of doing electro-cardiograms for St. Judes Hospital in Fullerton. Since I know electricity, I figure I most likely can perform the procedure.

To reiterate what my friend ALLTEX wrote, "Anyone can do it".

Best

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"Don't be afraid to see what you see" - President Ronald Reagan

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What happened to Lonnie? I'd like to get all the info on this and as much of the full facts as possible.

Here's what and why I think this is a problem when it comes to "illegal" subcontracting.

In the past week I've had two calls. One from a unlicensed print company who has already sold two jobs with two different customers who have already collected deposits with the original subcontractor who was subbed out by this illegal contractor walked away. So I get a call to see if I would take on the job. I looked at the specs and there was nothing specific when it came to the channel letters, just "LEDs and plex". I asked what kind specs for the project and the salesman who sold the job did not know "we just need to get it up". I told them that what they were doing was illegal and they wanted to know why.

I explained to them this whole thread and why what they were doing in the state of California was illegal and why/how contracting laws and contractors license protects both the consumer and contractor. They still did not get it, it was about having these signs installed next week.

Then just the other day I get a call from someone who sold a job as a salesmen and they don't like the bid their boss approved and so he's shopping other sign shops whoever will be the lowest bidder so he can get the job, not caring about details of the installation or electrical end of this project. So I'm sure some low rent, low budget unlicensed shop will be handling this at the end

It's crazy here in Cali, when the economy sucks, people will get shafted.

I'm not big on, or look for the government to solve problems, but moderate regulation is needed as it relates to this thread, not excessive/heavy or regulation nor stacking license on top of license, just "moderate".

PS- Electric Jack, your email is coming up in error so you won't be getting any thread reply notifications. You may want to check if the email you have for your profile is still valid.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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This get's more interesting as I continue to have time to read into these bills and proposals.

Here is something of interest that I think can actually get a lot of companies in trouble as it pertains to the marketing of "Retrofits" and the false bottom of ROI figures

73.52 Electrical Sign Contractors Responsibilities (b)(3)

(3) not make a fraudulent promise or false statement to influence, persuade, or induce an
individual or an entity to contract for services; and

This I think is also in our code in California.

Still diving into this Texas issue, but so far looks like the "original" intent did not get accomplished here. The thought that you have to be licensed to fabricate/manufacture a Listed Sign, or sell one over the counter?


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Texas (and I think most states) do not license manufacturers of any type of regular electrical equipment. Be it electric signs, electric clocks, drill presses, air compressors, desktop computers, refrigerators, gate openers, amplifiers, porch light fixtures, light bulbs, supercomputers, dishwashers, Christmas lights, induction heaters, water pumps, lasers, etc. Also generally, sales-only of these items are not licensed. Even if they are custom-made (built to spec) items like an electric sign sometimes is.

The manufacturing of electrical equipment (including signs and everything else listed above) is exempted in Sec 1305.003 of the Texas Occupations Code. There are restrictions. Work is limited to the types of equipment made by the manufacturer, within the equipments enclosure, using parts and wires of identical ampacity, by an employee of the manufacturer. In other words, a manufacturer of electric clocks can service and repair electric clocks. They cannot install hard-wired clocks.

Electrical work installing, wiring, troubleshooting, servicing, removing, modifying on site, etc. IS licensed. In Texas and everywhere else.

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SORRY THIS IS SO LONG BUT YOU DESERVE SOME ANSWERS...

1. Texas does not prohibit the sell of listed electrical equipment (including signs)

2. Texas does require an electrical contractors license or an electrical sign contractors license to offer to perform electrical sign work or to perform electrical sign work as these terms are defined in either the Law Chapter 1305 or the Administrative Rules Chapter 73 (This has been explained by leagal counsel at TDLR as offering a turnkey price for a sign with installation) or in other words contracting or offering to perform these services as a contracted price.

3. Texas requires some responsibility and liability on the part of its licensed contractors by requiring a minimum amount of insurance and assurances to the end user and to the contractors employees that the contractor is financially responsible in an approved manner.

4. Texas does not make It difficult to become a licensed electrical sign contractor.

a. carry a minimum of liability insurance ($600,000 aggregate) and workers comp. or provide evidence of financial responsibility as provide for in other statues. (I suspect this is far exceeded by most electrical contractors and electrical sign contractors)

b. pay a license fee of $115.00 annually (hardly a huge amount even for a small company or individual)

c. employ a master electrician or master sign electrician to serve as your master of record (*keep in mind this person can be full time, part time or seasonal depending on the amount of electrical sign contracting you want to perform)

5. I suspect the reasons that agents, individuals and companies want to be exempted from the Texas Electrical Sign Contracting law has mostly to do with not wanting to pay the same workers comp rates as those of us that are licensed, not adding an employee where they must follow the laws governing withholding and social security and they want a method that releaves them of responsibility to follow the Law and rules, not be ultimately held responsible for a failure that might occur as a result of faulty specifications, inadquate structural planning or a warranty issue involving the product they sold. You see...TDLR has no way to trace this type of activity.

6. Of course there is always the economic side of an issue. I ask you; is it better for the customer to be quoted a price which includes a markup from a licensed sub-contractor or is it better for the customer to buy a competitive product on the open market and secure their own competitive installation price. NOW THAT SHOULD BE A NO BRAINER...

Here are the Laws and Rules that apply to most of my comments and thoughts.

Sec. 1305.002. Definitions.

(9) "Electrical sign contracting" means the business of designing, manufacturing, installing, connecting, reconnecting, or servicing an electric sign, cold cathode, neon gas tubing, or outline gas tubing, or altering electric sign wiring or conductors either inside or outside of a building.

(10) "Electrical sign contractor" means a person engaged in electrical sign contracting.

(11) "Electrical work" means any labor or material used in installing, maintaining, or extending an electrical wiring system and the appurtenances, apparatus, or equipment used in connection with the use of electrical energy in, on, outside, or attached to a building, residence, structure, property, or premises. The term includes service entrance conductors as defined by the National Electrical Code.

Sec. 1305.102. Rules.

(a) The executive director shall adopt rules for the licensing of electricians, sign electricians, electrical sign contractors, electrical contractors, residential appliance installers, and residential appliance installation contractors as prescribed by this chapter.

(b) The executive director by rule shall prescribe descriptions of the types of activities that may be performed by each class of license holder under this chapter.

© The executive director by rule shall adopt standards of conduct requirements for license holders under this chapter.

(d) The commission may adopt rules regarding the registration of apprenticeship training programs and to require registered programs to report the names of persons enrolled in the programs.

Sec. 1305.160. Electrical Sign Contractor.

(a) An applicant for a license as an electrical sign contractor must:

(1) be licensed under this chapter as a master sign electrician or employ a person licensed under this chapter as a master sign electrician;

(2) establish proof of financial responsibility in the manner prescribed by the executive director; and

(3) maintain workers' compensation coverage for the contractor's employees through an insurance company authorized to engage in the business of insurance in this state or through self-insurance, or elect not to obtain workers' compensation coverage, as provided by Subchapter A, Chapter 406, Labor Code.

(b) A person who holds a master sign electrician license issued or recognized under this chapter may only be assigned to a single electrical sign contractor, unless the master sign electrician owns more than 50 percent of the electrical sign contracting business.

ELECTRICIANS
Administrative Rules of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 73

73.10. Definitions.

(3) Employee--An individual who performs tasks assigned to him by his employer. The employee is subject to the deduction of social security and federal income taxes from his pay. An employee may be full time, part time, or seasonal.

(4) Employer--One who employs the services of employees, pays their wages, deducts the required social security and federal income taxes from the employee’s pay, and directs and controls the employee’s performance.

(12) Electrical Sign Contractor--A person, or entity, licensed as an electrical sign contractor, that is in the business of performing "Electrical Sign Contracting" as defined by Texas Occupations Code, §1305.002(9).

(13) Master Sign Electrician--An individual, licensed as a master sign electrician, who, on behalf of an electrical sign contractor, performs "Electrical Sign Work" as defined in paragraph (18).

(18) Electrical Sign Work--Any labor or material used in manufacturing, installing, maintaining, extending, connecting or reconnecting an electrical wiring system and its appurtenances, apparatus or equipment used in connection with signs, outline lighting, awnings, signals, light emitting diodes, and the repair of existing outdoor electric discharge lighting, including parking lot pole lighting. This also includes the installation of an electrical service integral to an isolated sign and/or outline lighting installation.

(25) Offer to perform--To make a written or oral proposal, to contract in writing or orally to perform electrical work or electrical sign work, to advertise in any form through any medium that a person or business entity is an electrical contractor, electrical sign contractor, or residential appliance installation contractor or that implies in any way that a person or business entity is available to contract for or perform electrical work, electrical sign work, or residential appliance installation work.

(26) Electro Mechanical Integrity--The condition of an electrical product, electrical system, or electrical equipment installed in accordance with its intended purpose and according to standards at least as strict as the standards provided by the National Electrical Code, the manufacturer's specifications, any listing or labeling on the product, and all other applicable codes or ordinances.

73.52. Electrical Sign Contractors’ Responsibilities.

(a) An Electrical Sign Contractor shall:

(1) notify the department when a new master electrician or master sign electrician of record is assigned to the contractor and notify the department within thirty business days from the date that the master electrician's employment with the contractor ended;

(2) maintain employee records and records of all work performed on its behalf for a period of four years after completion of the work, and shall make those records available to the department at the contractor’s place of business during normal business hours for inspection and copying. If the contractor’s principal place of business is located out of the state of Texas, the department may require the contractor to make records available to the department at its offices in Austin, Texas or another location agreed upon by the department and the contractor.

(b) A person or contractor that performs or offers to perform electrical sign contracting shall:

(1) provide safe and proper installation and service, and assure the electro-mechanical integrity of all work and installations are to code;

(2) not misrepresent the need for services, services to be provided, or services that have been provided;

(3) not make a fraudulent promise or false statement to influence, persuade, or induce an individual or an entity to contract for services; and

(4) ensure that all of an electrical sign contractor’s non-exempt electrical work shall be performed by licensed individuals.

© The design of an electrical sign shall only be done by a licensed master electrician, master sign electrician, or design professional as authorized by statute. The design shall not be subcontracted to an unlicensed person, firm or corporation.

(d) A licensed electrical sign contractor shall display its name and license number on both sides of each vehicle owned or operated by the business and used in the conduct of electrical work. Lettering shall be of a contrasting color and at least two inches in height. The license number shall be preceded by the letters “TSCL”.

(e) All advertising by electrical sign contracting companies designed to solicit electrical business shall include the electrical sign contractor’s name and license number. This includes business cards. The following advertising does not require the license number:

(1) nationally placed television advertising, in which a statement indicating that license numbers are available upon request is used in lieu of the electrical sign contractor license number;

(2) telephone book listings that contain only the name, address, and telephone number;

(3) manufacturers’ and distributor’s telephone book trade ads identifying an electrical contractor;

(4) telephone solicitations, provided the solicitor states that the contractor complies with licensing requirements of the state. The electrical sign contractor’s number must be provided upon request;

(5) promotional items of nominal value such as ball caps, tee shirts, and other gifts; and

(6) signs located on the contractor’s permanent business location.

(f) The electrical sign contractor’s name, address, phone number, and license number shall appear on all proposals, invoices, and written contracts from the contractor. The following information: “Regulated by The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P. O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711, 1-800-803-9202, 512-463-6599; website: www.license.state.tx.us/complaints” shall be listed on all proposals, invoices, and written contracts.

(g) A licensed electrical sign contractor and its designated master electrician or master sign electrician of record is responsible for supervision of all licensees performing work on behalf of the contractor to assure compliance with applicable statutes and rules and in particular, standards of conduct set out in this chapter.

(h) An electrical sign contractor shall not use a license that is not assigned to that contractor.

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This is probably a dumb question but since I'm not in Texas I must ask because I think this sort of stumps me, and in the end more will make sense.

Is a Master Electrician considered the contractor, or the license holder? Or are these two different individuals?


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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The master electrician and the master sign electrician are individual license holders. A licensed electrical contractor or a licensed electrical sign contractor is the license an individual company must have in order to offer to perform or to perform electrical work or electrical sign work. To secure this contractors license an individual master electrician or master sign electrician must serve as the master of record for the company and this licensed individual is responsible for the electrical work or electrical sign work performed by the licensed contractor. All individual licensees must work for a licensed contractor in order to do electrical work or electrical ign work. Freelancing (as some might call it) is not allowed. The reason of course is that individuals are not required to carry liability insurance but the licensed contractor is, so the end user is protected. Hope this helps

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Lonnie, good post and thanks for the reference. Sec. 1305 is longer than this cut and paste. There is quite a bit more, including the section on exemptions, etc.

There is no provision in the occupations code that electrical products must be listed to be sold. Not all electrical products are listed, or are even required to be listed. Neon tubes and florescent bulbs, for example. (Neon "signs" over 1000v, yes.) The requirements for listing is set forth in the NEC, not state contractor licensing laws.

I think the big controversy here is all about "offering to sell". Texas and most states do not have "sellers licenses" for most any electrical equipment. And many industries provide a turnkey, contract price to the end user. You buy a home, you get a contract price that includes electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc. You buy a swimming pool, you get a get a contract price for the pool and licensed electrical work as well. ( I'm not sure why TDLR would have legal consul advising against this for signs but not other electrical equipment... some of it far more public-safety-paramount than an electric sign?)

(Electric sign contractors provide a contract price for work they don't do as well: Engineering. Neon tube fabrication, Excavation. etc. How about requiring a licensed tube-bender on the payroll if you are going to "offer to sell" neon... even wholesale? Hey, I'll rent you my license for a small retainer?)

Joking of course. HB1352 deals with a single issue: that selling an electric sign over the counter does not require an electric sign contractors license IF(!) the person selling it uses a LESL for ANY electrical work. Period. HB1352 does NOT sanction unlicensed electrical work of ANY kind. Not installation, not service, not permitting, not anything.

It's ironic to me some folks fighting so hard against this are the ones who stand the most to gain. I talked to a TESC yesterday who told me that working with Fastsigns has been ~30 percent of his income. Selling a sign, bantering back and forth with the client about the design, size, location, price, securing the deposit, making sure they pay, etc. requires a lot of manpower (or womanpower). If you'd rather have the sign salesman, client manager, graphic designer, etc. on your payroll - paying their health insurance and other expenses - by all means do.

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You are right...who wouldn't want additional sales people out there selling a product that the licensed sign contractor would get the install for and perhaps even the manufacturing of the sign. Its not about the value of the sell...its about the accountability of the seller to the end user and the other ingredients of the sign package that worries most of us. You mentioned engineering, tube bending and excavation as items the licensed contractor often subs out. This is true, however he assmes responsiblilty for these subs by virtue of his liability and license. He has a traceable license number that attaches to most advertisement, identification documents, bids, proposals, invoices and business cards. The end user has absolutely no problem identifying to TDLR who the seller is and who is the responsible party is in case of a complaint to TDLR. This is not the case with an individual, agent or company selling a turnkey electrical job or electrical sign job without a license or method of identification. There is absolutely no way to properly identify the seller except by putting the licensed contractors license number on the final invoice. NOW, you have just shifted all responsibility to the licensed contractor, deserving it or not. The Representative who authored this bill was offered 4 different substitutes to help identify the seller and require a minimum amount of assumed liability in the event of a problem with an area other than the actual electrical installation and they were all ignored. In addition most jurisdictions require a licensed contractor to pull the permits. So this responsibility issue should be resolved to a degree that the local jurisdictions and TDLR has a tracking mechanism for the persons or company responsible for ALL aspects of the contract. When a contractor puts together bids for a home he is bidding on more than one trade...HVAC, Plumbing, Foundation, Electrical, Roofing etc. If he only bids on one trade and that trade requires a license then that contractor should be licensed in that trade. Since he assumes the responsibility for each sub contractor, the jurisdiction has a tracking mechanism when he pulls the building permit and each sub pulls their permits. Now you have a record of the responsible party in each case where a license is required. You even have a responsible party for those unlicensed trades through the general. I guess if a person feels like they want to be responsible for something outside of their control or for someone elses mistakes... I can only say, good luck.

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I think this topic has been talked to death... likely my last comment on it.

Lonnie you make some valid points - we could find quite a bit of agreement. But regulating sign sales (without any attached electrical work) is pretty out of the mainstream with regards to other electrical equipment - both in Texas and elsewhere. You seem to feel it is essential that there be a single responsible party whom can be sued for liability should something go wrong. Even a tiny fender-bender car accident usually involve 2-3 (or more) responsible parties. It is how liability works. Same with faulty electrical equipment. Was the problem the product itself, or the installation, or an act of God? Courts, juries and judges solve that problem every day of the week. Due to insurance subrogation laws, the insurers are going to pursue all the individual parties anyway.

The public isn't really being helped that much with a one-stop shop for lawsuits.

HB 1352 was not voted on this session - so it is likely dead until a similar bill is introduced in another legislature.

Edited by megavolt512

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California laws are similar to Texas but there are some differences.

Going back to the responsibility section is huge when it comes to subcontracting (hate to beat a dead horse). The problem with shops like your typical unlicensed Fast Signs, or even an out of state National Sign company doing business in California is one of the same, or can be.

With a Contractors license comes the paper trail, and responsibility. They have a bond, and General Liability, and umbrella etc

On the SS one of the hottest topics to read or forums to monitor is the National Sign & Service Review Directory, and in it lists the sign companies that pay their subs and suppliers on time.

In Californian, a subcontractor has 30-days to pay their subs and suppliers. Subs/suppliers are normally supposed to file a preliminary lien notice to the property owner (Prior to doing work or furnishing supplies), a protection tool for them in case the primary contractor does not pay, they can go after the property owner (filing a lien) who received the improvements. This protects the primary contractor (if the property owner does not pay), subs and suppliers if they don't get paid by the primary or by the property owner.

In contrast, should the primary "oops" on the job or vacate the job before completing the work the, then the consumer is protected. They have a bond they can go after as well as the contractors insurance to make up for damages, or to complete the job

If the Nationals Sign and service (facility brokers) had contractors licenses here in California like their supposed too by (which they don't) law then WE wouldn't have most of this mess that we do now with all these subs and suppliers getting payed 6 months later. It is ILLEGAL to sub for these guys, even subs here know that, but hey...it's money! This is an issue that ISA (especially their National Sign & Suppliers Meeting) or any other sign associations will NEVER openly discuss in their meetings or in their newsletters, or in a member payign seminar because it steps on too many toes, the bigger the company, the bigger the dues! If you're a rhino board member, then you don't want to put the good of your industry over the relationships you've built over the years, believe me...IT WON'T HAPPEN!!!

Back to the unlicensed subs like Monson's Fast Signs as it relates to Texas and California, I get a great sense that she may say "it's only 5% of our work", I think this has more to do with here in trouble of selling more/obtaining for franchisee's, also their new partnership with the Samsung's Digital Displays (Electrical). If given the opportunity, these unlicensed shops would be doing more electrical work then they claim, so I say to her.....well....."Stay away then!" Stay away from your 5% and let the path continue to how contractors licensing was intended. I see a cry baby pointing fingers and claiming those who are protecting it, have everything to gain. Of course they do, so do I as a licensed sign contractor all the way over here in California. A unlicensed sign shop has NO accountability or remedies a sub or a sign user can go after. Not sure how Texas works, but here in Cali, their assed out. The sign shop may be closed down, the unlicensed contractor will face jail time pay fines for "posing" as a sing contractor but they get to walk away because none of the contracting laws can touch them.

If it's ever required to have a Masters License type license to sell a sign over the counter, to wholesale pylons, channel letters, or to bend a neon tube, then I think that's Over Regulation. Even in our over regulated state bankrupt state here in Cali, where business's are leaving in droves none of that is required because all that is left to the responsibility of the contractor who ....no matter who, or what components they use for sign, listed or not signs it ALL falls on them as the contractor....period!

This is the way it works here in Cali, it won't change unless the people decide they want it to change. So for now, the courts recognize contractors law for contractors, criminal law for posers.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Megavolt512 and West Coast Sign Guy...My final comment on this issue...I AGREE!!!

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      The new law also gives them the power to issue "Notices to Appear in Court"
      SOLAR
      This is just the beginning but glad to see it surface here in from the CSLB, but the contractors board has been getting more complaints on the over hype of solar power sales, false marketing, deceptive practices,and false return on investment claims resulting in "under-delivering".
      Sounds familiar with our own industry, maybe this should be raised with them as well.
      Something to chew on over for #TBT
    • By Erik Sine
      Here's something interesting coming down the pike. What does it mean for The International Sign Association? Will this new proposed law benefit our Industry? Will this new law benefit our industry by not benefiting our Sign Associations, or is it a dis-benefit and dis-service because it doesn't serve our Associations?
      Well here is what's coming, when it comes to inviting government employees and appointees to WAGs, Widely Attending Gatherings (of diverse opinion or position, not just one)
      Proposed OGE Regulations
      Widely attended events (the name given under the House and Senate Gift Rules) and widely attended
      gatherings (the executive branch’s version) are exemptions from the gift rules restrictions. Government
      officials may attend events featuring a number of different people (more than 25 non-Congressional
      attendees for the legislative branch) when the government attendee is either speaking at the event or his
      or her attendance will further the government’s interest. These exemptions allow officials to attend events
      such as trade shows, social gatherings, roundtable discussions, and other similar events where
      government officials have the opportunity to interact with the private sector.
      Since the beginning of the Obama administration, however - political appointees have been barred by
      Executive Order 13490 from attending widely attended gatherings unless speaking at those events. This
      order requires political appointees to sign “ethics pledges” that promise, among other things, that
      appointees will not accept gifts from entities that employ or retain lobbyists. Therefore, events such as
      tradeshows, panel discussions, and social events are off limits unless the political appointee is speaking
      (attendance is limited to the day of the speech), or if the appointee pays admission.
      OGE or Office of Govenment Ethics proposes to extend the EO to all executive branch employees. This will mean that organizations,
      particularly associations (which often have events that fall into the widely attended category), will not be
      allowed to invite executive branch employees to their widely attended events unless the employee has a
      speaking role. This could have a major impact on associations that wish to interact with government
      employees at their events.
      Some are of the opinion that this will "Stifle" relations/eschange of information between government and the public sector. The OGE is quoted as saying:
      Under the new proposal another issue being addressed is the "Registered Lobbyist" or "Lobbying Organization". While trade associations are calling on the OGE to categorically exempt Trade Associations from this definition, many believe this exemption is NOT justified. The OGE is quoted as saying:
      The proposed rule did add some exemptions of lobbyists, and that's for Institutions of Higher Learning, Nonprofit Professional Associations, Scientific Orgs and Learned Societies. The OGE has said it acknowledges that certain WAGs provide educational and professional developments that may further agency interests, ” there is often a cozy relationship between these organizations and industry groups"
      More than 400 Trade Associations have sent their comments and concerns similar to ISA's Letter attached.
      ISA.pdf
      Many business's are outraged with the Obama Administration for the proposal, "its a slap in the face" to business. This is odd, I thought Earlier in the year Lori Anderson of International Sign Association who wrote this letter to reconsider was orgasming over Obama's Apperance at Gelberg Signs, AND quoted as saying.
      What happened? Many that run this Association have been for government meddling in the public sector, OSHA, Cap & Trade. Why the outrage?
      What else does this proposal prevent?
      • limits on the amount of money lobbyists and their employers can spend on public officials
      • Gone are free tickets
      • golf outings
      • social trips
      • regular one-on-one dinners with lobbyists
      The Lobbying culture is upside down right now.
      What will this mean for our Sign Industry, for you and I?
      Well, if we look at the history of Associations and Legislation in the bigger picture outside our associations fighting signs codes and EMC's for their constituents fellow board executives. It might not mean a Damn Thing! It might be better for us as a industry, and as a country?
      If you think about it, what will it do? What have our associations done for us except the two points listed above when it comes to regulation? In the past our Associations like International Sign Association, California Sign Association just roll with CA Title 24, Demand Response, the Energy Commission Decisions, OSHA and have just about managed to turn all of those into programs and seminars. Now we see a promotion of UL-E or UL Green Leaf as something of Non-Fiction.
      You're all a bunch of children, get in line. They will make you a lunch, a snack, pat you on the head and send you off for schooling, and whatever else is to come.
      Maybe some distance from government and bureaucracy and undoing of some cozyness will somehow benefit US! I can't say for certain, but if these associations just attend meetings with government to figure out a way to turn it into a program instead of doing what's right and fighting for freedoms and liberties then this new proposal/law from the OGE, can't hurt. Maybe something they don't like is somehow a benefit for you and I? I mean, if you're not going to make useful, with the time and resources you have, what loss will it be?
      We live in an age where there it too much cozyness between public and government sectors, whether it be crony capitalism, Government and insider trading, bailouts. Just my opinion, but I think it will benefit us all not just our trade if we all just stay on a first name basis, and not cozy up.
      We live in an a age where money talks, and ethics walk. Sometimes membership money drives, program profit farming are more important that our own ethics of doing what's right when it comes to protecting the reason why you're there in the first place. Oh I don't know, disciplining board exec/chair members and assoc. members who are in ethics violations.
      Now, don't get me wrong, this new proposal may have some negative effects for us, but does it out way the possible benefits?
      Just my thought for the day, I thought I'd share


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