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July 29, 1957

Robert E. McLAUGHLIN et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS

This action seeks a declaratory judgment or an injunction against the Board of Commissioners, District of Columbia, under the jurisdiction of this court's equity powers and Title 28, Section 2201, of the United States Code. Plaintiffs seek to have declared inoperative Order No. 57-382 of the defendants which order requires that any application filed for a permit for any proposed electrical installation in which the current carrying capacity exceeds 200 amperes or the electrical potential exceeds 240 volts between terminals or phases, shall be accompanied by plans and computations prepared and signed by a professional electrical engineer registered in the District of Columbia as provided in the Professional Engineers' Registration Act of 1950. The factual background was presented to the Court by stipulation.

Findings of Fact.

 1. The plaintiffs consist of the Electrical Contractors Association of the District of Columbia, Inc., a corporation, and nine of its members, all of whom are electrical contractors and master electricians licensed and bonded under the District of Columbia Electrical Licensing and Bonding Regulations. Two of the individual defendants are members of the Electrical Examining Board created under said Regulations. They bring this action for themselves and other contractors and electricians similarly situated.

 2. In 1944, Congress passed an act authorizing the Commissioners to adopt and promulgate regulations governing the electrical industry in the District of Columbia; and in April 1946, the Commissioners promulgated the Electrical Licensing and Bonding Regulations, *fn1" which have been amended from time to time, and which are presently in full force and effect.

 3. These Regulations (see Sections 101 and 102) have as their purpose the '* * * practical safeguarding of the public and the District of Columbia from hazards involved in the installation, maintenance, or repair of work, apparatus, equipment, fixtures and appliances coming within the scope of the Acts of Congress * * *' And the scope of said '* * * regulations is limited to electrical work within the purview of the Electrical Code, D.C.'

 4. An examination of these Regulations reveals that they not only rigidly control the licensing and bonding of electrical contractors and the various categories of electricians, but also that an applicant for a license must demonstrate his qualification and fitness by displaying a thorough knowledge of the Electrical Code through written examinations which

 '* * * include such questions, diagrams, etc., sufficient to thoroughly demonstrate to the examining board that the applicant has the experience and knowledge of regulations and construction methods considered necessary to engage in the class of occupation for which he has filed a license application.' (Regulations, Section 611.)

 5. Section 623 of these Regulations provides that a master electrician must satisfactorily take an examination which includes:

 'A practical knowledge of the Electrical Code and regulations applicable to electrical installations, wiring methods, types and current carrying capacity of conductors, conductor and equipment protection, standard wiring systems and diagrams; and the applicant shall demonstrate to the examining board his ability to comprehend and interpret electrical wiring plans and drawings, to maintain electrical installations, and to repair apparatus, equipment, fixtures and appliances in accordance with the Electrical Code and established standards * * *'

 6. A license issued by the District to a master electrician pursuant to the above Regulations, bears the stamped or printed legend 'Limitations None.'

 7. It is therefore apparent that the Commissioners, acting under clear legislative authority specifically granted by Congress, have adopted and kept in force regulations to protect the District and the public by granting licenses to practice the electrical trade or business only to those who are able to demonstrate their qualification and fitness, and who must furnish substantial bonds *fn2" to protect both the District and the public.

 8. Since at least 1927, the Electrical Code *fn3" for the District contained a provision (Section 1143) under the chapter dealing with permits, in part as follows:

 '1143. Permits for Work Inside and Outside Buildings. --

 'a. Plans and specifications showing in detail the electrical system to be installed in any building shall be submitted in each case as a part of the ...

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