OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma House committee approved a proposal Wednesday that its sponsor said would help protect Oklahomans from what he called subpar roofing "vultures" that swoop into the state after severe weather to take advantage of the desperate.
Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, introduced a bill that would require roofers to buy a $30,000 bond the state could use to help reimburse customers for any damage caused. The House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee approved the proposal without opposition and sent it to the full House for consideration.
McBride told the committee the state's roofing industry is worth "millions" of dollars, thanks to frequent hail and strong storms, but runs rampant.
"The corruption that comes with it from out of state is huge," he said. "They're vultures."
Those roofers could ignore this regulation as well, but McBride said the proposal "was just a start" for an industry that needs more regulation.
After a storm in Norman last year, unlicensed roofers from other towns and other states operated with few consequences, he told The Associated Press.
Under current law, roofers must have insurance and workers' compensation to get a license and can be fined $500 without one. McBride's bill would add the bond to that list of requirements. A request for comment from the state's Construction Industries Board, which oversees license applications, was not immediately returned Wednesday.
In response to questions from Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, McBride estimated it would cost roofers about $250 a year. McBride also owns a roofing business, but he said he would have to get the bond as any other roofer would if his bill passes.
"Who better to present something than someone in the business?" he told the AP.
McBride added he personally knew several roofers throughout the state, and they wouldn't complain about this additional cost.
"I don't know one of them that would be against this," McBride said. "All of us want stiffer regulations for the roofing industry."