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Theatrical Lighting Designers may soon be required to be licensed in Texas

Update:  According to those in the know (and some of our comment authors), the licensure requirement is unlikely to survive the reconciliation process with the House bill.  Apparently, this licensing requirement was added by state Senators late in the process, and is not part of the original bill authored by Rep. Smith..

Stage Directions magazine reports that  The Texas Senate has passed legislation that will prohibit anyone from practicing lighting design except for registered architects, landscape architects, engineers, interior designers, and commercial electricians.  The Bill, H.B. 2649 stands to put all theatrical and entertainment lighting designers in a bind, unless an exception or exemption is added before the bill becomes law.

As passed by the state's Senate, three different sections of the legislation prohibit “a person from performing or offering to perform lighting design service unless the person is licensed as an engineer; registered as an architect, landscape architect, or interior designer; or licensed  as an Electrician.

Texas-based theatrical  and entertainment lighting designers are advised to consult with their lawyers and unions  and  lobby hard  against this proposed law before it is voted on by the Texas House of Representatives, and ultimately signed into law.


What do you think?  Should lighting designers in theatre, film and other entertainment media be regulated and licensed by the states in which they work?

What about scenic, costume, sound and other designers?

What governmental interest is served by such regulation?

Filed Under: Law

3 Responses to Theatrical Lighting Designers may soon be required to be licensed in Texas

  1. Um… No.

    I’m discussing this with my husband, who has both theatrical and contracting experience, and while we can see a legitimate state interest in regulating certain electrical contractors (in order to avoid fires, for example, or sub-standard lighting installation in residential buildings), it doesn’t sound as though this legislation, as written, has taken into account that not every lighting installation is meant to be permanent, or that not every theatre (bar, concert hall, church) has the budget to hire a licensed electrician to design their light plots. (Not that I’d hire an electrician to design a light plot for a show, unless I knew he was also a theatrical lighting designer.)

    If the state truly believes this is necessary (and is not merely reacting to pressure from industries which may be concerned about protecting their economic interests from lower-priced, unlicensed competitors), then at the very least there should be a low-cost means for theatrical lighting designers to obtain state registration, so that they aren’t put out of work, and theatres and other entertainment venues aren’t forced to either “overhire” or sidestep the law.

  2. The bill’s senate amendment is likely to be stripped tomorrow during house reconciliation. Rep Smith didn’t author any of the LD portion of the bill, so it’s all going to come out.

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