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Boilers and the Legislature

Most of us don’t often interact with state legislative committees.  I am fortunate to serve on the Alabama Boiler and Pressure Vessel Board.  As such once every year or two we appear before the Joint Legislative Sunset Committee, in essence, to justify our further existence.  We had this “opportunity” last week.

Now if you are in Alabama or keep current with the news, you’ll know that the Alabama State Legislature holds a Republican majority in both houses for the first time in over 100 years.  This also means that the Senators and Representatives are very sensitive to doing the right thing because, well, let’s face it, the pressure is on.  This pressure is reflected in the makeup of committees.  The perceived important ones are led by the senior people.  In the case of the Sunset Committee, it’s being led by the President Pro Tem of the Senate.

Now I understand that there are a lot of boards in Alabama (and no doubt every State).  Rumor has it there are over 100.  I tried to get a handle on the exact number and failed.  The main ones are listed nicely on the State web site.  But there are countless others buried under individual department headings.  The Sunset Committee is trying to reduce duplication among these boards and in effect improve efficiency and lower costs.  Basically they are trying to untangle a snake pit.  I wish them success.

In the case of the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Board, we are financially self-sufficient and in fact deposit a small amount into the State’s General Fund each year.  So our visit with the Sunset Committee was uneventful. 

I’ll close with this suggestion.  If your children attend school, check to see if the school operates a boiler.  If so, check to see that the boiler has a current State Inspection certificate.  Inspections are usually required every one to three years depending on the equipment and service.  If you child’s school does not have a current certificate for a boiler, that boiler may present a significant hazard to the students and faculty.  Pursue the issue until an inspection is conducted, repairs made, and a certificate issued. Your child’s safety is at stake.

Go Army – Beat Navy.

Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA


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