Two Texas bills affecting the pool and spa industry are on their way to the governor’s desk.

S.B. 710 adds a line addressing pool drains to the state’s home sale disclosure paperwork, and S.B. 1630 provides service technicians with the right to work on commercial as well as residential sites.

Both bills are expected to be signed into law on Sept. 1, and will go into effect on that date.

S.B. 1630 was introduced in response to an opinion published in December 2010 by the Texas attorney general. The opinion stated that licensed electrical work by pool professionals should be allowed only on residential — not commercial — pools and spas.

“The Texas Residential Appliance Installer license was interpreted to apply to residential properties only … which would include apartment complexes, condos, and things of that nature, but would not include something like a commercial pool at a hotel,” said Jake Posey, government relations counsel for the Aquatic Professionals Education Council, a statewide advocacy group.

Since commercial work represents a significant percentage of the labor performed by pool service technicians, APEC members realized that a clarification of the license’s scope was necessary.

“We explained [to the house committee] that you can often have larger pools, pumps and motors at an apartment complex — which is residential — than a small kidney pool at a hotel, which is commercial,” said Steve Koebele, government relations counsel for APEC.

S.B. 710 was meant to inform home buyers about the potential dangers of single blockable main drains in pools and spas. If signed into law, the bill will add a warning about suction entrapment to the state’s existing home seller disclosure notice, which property sellers must review with buyers prior to the sale of a home.

Though the measure would not require sellers to modify their drains, proponents of the bill hope this notice will make home buyers aware of the potential liability a blockable main drain can bring.

“We believe many consumers won’t be aware of the entrapment dangers presented by main drains,” Posey said, “so we hope that this will be a step toward improving safety.”

Supporters of S.B. 710 hope that discussions of blockable main drains will become a standard part of home transactions, and that sellers may factor the cost of retrofitting such drains, or adding additional layers of protection, into the selling price — just as a seller of a home with termites might pay to have a pest control company treat the home prior to sale.

So far, both bills have had a smooth passage through the legislature, and APEC members say they have no reason to expect resistance moving forward. Pool professionals throughout the state have already embraced both pieces of legislation, and are eager to see them take effect.

“I’m just ecstatic that S.B. 1630 got passed because I primarily do commercial business,” said Phil Sharp, owner of River City Pool Service in San Antonio. “And as far as S.B. 710, we’re all in agreement — even the Realtors — that it’s the best thing to do.”