The Texas industry took a stride toward consistent regulation when its state government passed a law naming the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) as its official code.

This does not mean that the language, originally generated by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP), becomes mandatory throughout the state. Instead, those counties, cities and towns that currently have or wish to incorporate a pool/spa code must use the ISPSC.

The bill was written and introduced by Republican State Representative and pool professional Steve Toth to create consistency from municipality to municipality.

Industry organizations also saw this standardization as necessary. “Texas doesn’t like a lot of regulation, and we don’t want to do anything to hurt small businesses,” said Jennifer Hatfield, director of government affairs for the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), created by the merger of APSP with the National Swimming Pool Foundation. “We see this not as increasing regulation but rather eliminating that hodge-podge of city pool and spa codes. It also provides consumers the confidence that there are tried-and-true safety standards being followed. The reality is that a lot of municipalities do have some sort of pool requirements.”

The Texas Pool & Spa Alliance, of which PHTA is a part, backed the bill.

The state’s legislature also saw a development that was peripheral but highly unexpected to the pool/spa industry: By failing to vote for or against a bill to transfer the licensing of plumbers to a different agency, the house and senate left the state without a licensing provider. But in short order, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order retaining the Board of Plumbing Examiners until the next legislative session, based on a disaster declaration that came in response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Texas’ legislature meets every other year, with the next session beginning January 2021.

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