ARLINGTON, Va. - Once there were 17 states with no contractor licensing - now there are 16. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, New Hampshire has approved licensing for that state's 5,000+ gas fitters by passing HB 1711, called Amilia's Law.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) technician certification is a component of this licensure requirement. Amilia's Law makes New Hampshire the first state to include NATE certification as a component of a state's licensing law. In 2005, the city of Terre Haute, Ind., became the first U.S. city to require NATE certification of technicians as a component of contractor licensing.

Amilia's Law establishes procedures and guidelines for licensure of fuel gas fitters in New Hampshire, provides the public a way to recognize fuel gas fitters, provides employers with a formal structure to train employees and test their knowledge and skill levels, and provides technicians with the knowledge to properly perform their jobs. Improper gas installation could lead to fire, explosion, or even carbon monoxide poisoning. Propane fitters also are required to be licensed by the state.

Amilia's Law is named for Amilia Lurhmann . In May 2003 a leaky gas fixture caused the family's Lake Winnepesaukee home to explode. Amilia was killed, and her parents, two siblings, and grandparents were injured in the blast.

"Amilia's Law," state Sen. Joseph D. Kenney said, "will help prevent tragedies like this from happening again by requiring all fuel gas fitters to be uniformly trained and licensed. Contractors and homeowners will know that people who are installing gas systems in their homes are properly trained and can do the job right."

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Publication date: 09/04/2006