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Texas Legislature 2019

Gov. Greg Abbott says he can keep plumbing board alive without special session

"We've got this," the governor tells plumbers worried as their profession faces deregulation next year in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott in the Governor’s Mansion on Jan. 8, 2018.

Gov. Greg Abbott claimed Tuesday he can keep Texas' plumbing board alive without calling a special legislative session, as he reassured plumbers who were worried their profession will no longer be subject to state regulations.

"TEXAS PLUMBERS: We’ve got this," Abbott tweeted. "The Legislature has given the Governor many tools in my toolbox to extend the State Board of Plumbing Examiners for two years without needing to call a special session. We will let you know very soon. Don’t worry."

It was not immediately clear how Abbott could rescue the board, a state agency that licenses plumbers and regulates the industry. The board is set to wind down and cease existing in 2020 after state lawmakers recently failed to pass legislation that would have extended the agency's life. Lawmakers also wiped out the part of the state code that gives Texas the authority to regulate the profession in the first place.

Plumbers have been pushing Abbott to convene a special session to deal with the situation, though he has shown no interest in bringing lawmakers back to Austin. "NO SPECIAL SESSION," Abbott tweeted hours after lawmakers wrapped up their 140-day regular session last week.

At a bill signing later Tuesday in Dallas, Abbott said his office was exploring “all possible options” to solve the plumbing board problem. He declined to go into more detail about a possible solution but said he planned to make an announcement shortly.

"We will let you know later," Abbott told reporters.

Elizabeth Byrne contributed to this report.

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