Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

June 10, 1991

Hon. Michael Skurat, Chairman
Fire Protection Sprinkler System Work
Examining Board
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

Dear Chairman Skurat:

This will acknowledge your request of April 18, 1991 for a formal opinion concerning an interpretation of Section 20-334a of the Connecticut General Statues.

Specifically, you have cited that part of Section 20-334a(c) which states, "A person who has served a bona fide P-2 of F-2 apprenticeship begun prior to July 1, 1988, or has a valid P-2 or F-2 license shall be qualified to sit for a journeyman sprinkler fitter's examination."

You have advised that applications to take the journeyman sprinkler fitter's examination have been received from applicants who hold P-2 licenses, but the Board has determined that these applicants are not qualified to take this examination based upon their experience and/or training. You seek an opinion as to "whether or not the board must allow an applicant to take the journeyman fitter's examination based on fact that the applicant holds a P-2 plumbing license." For the reasons stated below, it is our opinion that the Board must allow such applicants to take the examination.

As you know, your board came into existence by virtue of 1987 Conn. Pub.. Acts NO. 87-588 which removed fire protection sprinkler systems work from t he definition of plumbing and piping work in Section 20-330. Section 5 of this Act amended Section 20-334a by adding subsection (c) which contains, inter alia, the language which is the subject of your request. This subsection has various provisions concerning the licensing of contractors and journeymen, and includes criteria for issuing licenses and for taking examinations.

The key word in the language of this subsection which is quoted above is "or." The words in a statute are to be given their plain and ordinary meaning. Mazur v. Blum, 184 Conn. 116, 118 (1981). The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, defines "or" as follows: "used to indicate: 1. a. An alternative...." The intent of the legislature in using "or " is thus clear: There are two alternative requirements, either of which, when met, qualifies an applicant to take this examination. they are: (1) having served a bona fide P-2 or F-2 apprenticeship begun prior to July 1, 1988, and (2) holding a valid P-2 or F-2 plumbing license. Any applicant who meets either of these requirements is eligible to take this examination.

We trust this adequately responds to your request.

Very truly yours,


Donald E. Wasik
Assistant Attorney General


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