A proposal forcing the state’s roofers to secure a $30,000 bond to get a state license returned to life on April 3 after the Oklahoma House narrowly approved the measure aimed at what one lawmaker called “one of most disgusting industries in the state.”
Republican Rep. Mark McBride of Moore, who also owns a roofer contracting business, sponsored the bill in the House, where it passed 51-42.
McBride’s proposal would require roofers to get the bond to cover damage caused by roofers’ work and to guarantee their warranties. He has said it’s meant to protect Oklahomans from predatory roofers who come in after major storms, often from outside Oklahoma, to prey on residents and profit from their desperation.
“They’re vultures,” he told The Associated Press last month after the bill passed a House committee. “I want to pass stronger regulations on myself and my company just to make sure my neighbor doesn’t get taken advantage of.”
Even though illicit roofers could still avoid the bond by not getting a license, McBride has said his measure is “just the start” of regulating the industry.
That sentiment was echoed in the House Wednesday.
“Let’s be honest here, the roofing industry is one of the most disgusting industries in the state,” said Rep. Aaron Stiles, R-Norman. “They want to clean up their own industry. Members, you need to protect your constituents right now.”
But Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, said he had reason to doubt the industry’s sincerity.
“I hope that is the reason they requested this bill – they want to clean up their industry instead of drive off their competition,” he told his colleagues. He pointed to several roofers who are convicted felons, supporting their families in one of the few jobs they can find.
“I’m concerned that we’re going to put some guys out of business,” Cox said. “Hopefully they don’t go back to a life of crime.”
McBride dismissed that possibility, saying roofers could easily afford a bond he estimated would cost between $300 and $600 each year. Current law also requires insurance and workers’ compensation in order to get a license.
The bill has had a bumpy ride, failing in both the Senate and the House before getting a second vote and passing. It must go back to the Senate for yet another vote because its effective date was slightly amended by the House.
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