Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
September 22, 2006
Honorable Edwin R. Rodriguez
Department of Consumer Protection
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Dear Commissioner Rodriguez:
This will acknowledge and reply to your request on behalf of the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) for amplification of DCP’s authority over apprentices, as expressed in a formal opinion of my Office to the Commissioner of Labor dated November 8, 2005, in light of the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-333. For the following reasons it is our opinion that DCP’s authority with respect to apprentices does not encompass apprenticeship training programs within the exclusive authority of the Department of Labor (DOL) but concerns the administration of licensure examinations for apprentices and the issuance and revocation of apprentice permits in connection with such examinations.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-333 sets forth DCP’s authority and duties with respect to the examination and licensing of applicants in certain skilled trades. The statute specifies, inter alia, when an applicant must take the examination, how many times it can be taken, and what happens if the applicant fails the examination. With respect to the latter, the statute provides in relevant part:
Any apprentice permit issued under section 20-334a to an applicant who fails three licensure examinations in any one-year period shall remain in effect if such applicant applies for and takes the first licensure examination given by the department following the one-year period from the date of such applicant’s third and last unsuccessful licensure examination. Otherwise, such permit shall be revoked as of the date of the first examination given by the department following expiration of such one-year period.
This section and Section 20-334, which follows, pertain to a permit to work, not to apprenticeship registration. There is a clear focus in DCP’s statutes on its authority over the licensing of tradespersons to work, and not to the regulation of apprenticeship training programs. Authority over apprenticeship training programs is vested in DOL, as discussed more fully in the November 8, 2005, formal opinion to the Commissioner of Labor, and is not affected by the provisions of Section 20-333.
DCP’s issuance of permits and licenses allows individuals to be employed in their trade. In specific regard to apprentices, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-334a(a)(4) provides for issuance of an apprentice permit to perform work in a licensed trade, to be performed only under the supervision of a licensed contractor or journeyman. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-333 also provides that a person completing the required apprentice training program for a journeyman’s license under § 20-334a shall apply for a licensure examination given by DCP within thirty days following completion of such program. Failure to make such an application results in an expiration of the apprentice permit. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-334a(a)(5). Section 20-333 further provides that an apprentice permit issued under § 20-334a to an applicant who fails three licensure examinations in any one-year period remains in effect if the applicant applies for and takes the first examination given by DCP following the one-year period from the date of his last examination.
These provisions relate to DCP’s duties in regard to licensure examinations and the administration of such examinations. The provisions for revocation and expiration of an apprentice permit upon failure to apply for examinations invalidate the right to remain employed in furtherance of the examination and licensure process. They do not suggest that DCP has authority with respect to formal apprenticeship training programs as referenced in DOL’s statutes and regulations and otherwise in DCP’s own statutes.
In addition, the authority of DOL over apprenticeship training programs and registration of apprentices is recognized in DCP’s statutes. For example, the definition of “apprentice” in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-330(6) is limited to “any person registered with the Labor Department for the purpose of learning a skilled trade.” (emphasis added). Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-334(a) states: “No person shall engage in, practice or offer to perform the work of any occupation subject to this chapter in this state unless such person has first obtained a license as provided in section 20-333, or possesses a card of registration from the Labor Department or the board and is subject to all of the regulations adopted under this chapter for the purpose of governing apprenticeship training.” (emphasis added). The only regulation promulgated by DCP concerning registration of apprentices prohibits an apprentice from performing the work of an occupation covered by Chapter 393 unless he has obtained a card of registration from DOL. Reg. Conn. Agencies, D.C.P., § 20-332-15a(f)(1) (1992).
As explained in the November 8, 2005, opinion, the entirety of state statutes pertaining to apprenticeship training, spread across the statutes of both DCP and DOL and read as a whole, establishes the exclusive authority of DOL over apprenticeship training and registration of apprentices in apprenticeship training programs, while establishing the equally important authority of DCP and the licensing boards in the licensing of persons to work in the skilled trades.
The statutory provisions for dual authority and responsibility of DOL and DCP over training and licensure in occupations create no conflict or overlap of authority. To the contrary, there is a clear line of demarcation between DOL’s authority over apprenticeship training programs and DCP’s authority over licensing. This, of course, would not preclude the two agencies, in light of the statutory scheme of dual responsibility, from reaching an agreement or understanding on joint action, for example, to address the failure of apprentices to pass licensure examinations. But it has no effect on the statutory division of exclusive authority between training and licensure as a matter of statutory interpretation.
Pursuant to the above analysis, this office concludes that DCP does not have authority over apprenticeship training programs, but has clear authority over the licensure examination process and issuance and revocation of apprentice permits in connection therewith.
Very truly yours,
Richard T. Sponzo
Assistant Attorney General
View the November 8, 2005 Opinion to Commissioner Cashman
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