No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

CT Law Ruled Unconstitutional!

The Institute for Justice has scored another victory in our Campaign for Economic Liberty, our multi-year effort to elevate economic liberty to national prominence like we did with the issues of school choice and eminent domain abuse.


In this lawsuit, we challenged a Connecticut state law that allows anyone to perform interior design services, but dictates that only those with government-issued licenses may call themselves “interior designers.” Besides unconstitutionally censoring truthful commercial speech, “titling laws” like Connecticut’s serve as precursors to full-blown occupational licensure (the ultimate goal of a small, well-funded faction within the interior design industry).


IJ’s strategic research has shown such regulations result in higher prices, less variety, and fewer employment opportunities, especially for minorities and older mid-career switchers, without any benefit to public health or safety (the standard by which all such regulations should be judged).

It is these types of occupational regulations that are the target of the Campaign for Economic Liberty and that we will litigate against to restore constitutional protection for the right to earn an honest living.

Below is our news release on yesterday’s court decision. Thank you for making this and all our work possible.

Chip

________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 30, 2009

Federal Judge Declares Connecticut Interior Design Law Unconstitutional

New Haven, Conn.—A federal judge today struck down a state law that unconstitutionally censored the free speech of interior designers in Connecticut.

In a thorough, clearly worded 23-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz systematically considered and rejected each of the state’s arguments in support of the challenged law, a so-called “title act” for interior designers. Title acts are laws that regulate only the speech, but not the work associated with a given occupation. Thus, in Connecticut—as in 46 other states around the country including New York, Massachusetts, and California—anyone may work as an interior with no license or other special government oversight of any kind. But since 1983, Connecticut law has prohibited anyone not registered as an interior designer with the Department of Consumer Protection from referring to himself as an “interior designer,” even when that term accurately describes what he does.

Interior design laws are the product of a decades-long lobbying effort by an elitist group of industry insiders seeking to limit competition by driving other interior designers out of work. That effort, led by the American Society of Interior Designers, is documented in an Institute for Justice study entitled “Designing Cartels.” Another study from IJ called “Designed to Exclude,” released in February 2009, shows that interior design regulations like Connecticut’s not only increase costs for consumers but also disproportionately exclude minorities and older career-switchers from the interior design industry. Both studies are available online: www.ij.org/interiordesign.

“Shortly after I began practicing interior design twenty-five years ago, a woman from the Department of Consumer Protection showed up at my business and ordered me to stop calling myself an interior designer,” said Susan Roberts, one of the three plaintiffs who successfully challenged Connecticut’s interior design law. “That is an outrageous act of censorship on the part of the state, and I am thrilled that I can now tell the world that I am what I have always been since I started doing this work—an interior designer.”

As Judge Kravitz explained in rejecting the state’s legal arguments, “the term ‘interior designer’ is not a term of art and it is not inherently misleading.” Moreover, “[i]f the State were seeking to convey the existence of a regulatory regime in this field, then a term such as ‘licensed interior designer,’ or ‘registered interior designer,’ would far better serve that interest.”

“When it was enacted in 1983, Connecticut’s interior design law represented the cutting edge of a concerted effort to cartelize the interior design industry for the benefit of ASID and its members,” said Clark Neily the Institute for Justice senior attorney who led the successful court challenge. “Along with several grassroots and industry groups, we have brought that campaign to a halt and are systematically dismantling the barriers it has erected to fair competition in the interior design field. We are confident that when the dust settles, consumers in every state will be able to choose the designer whom they think best suits their needs, and interior designers themselves will be free to go as far as their ambition, talent, and dreams will take them.”

This message was sent from Chip Mellor to. It was sent from: Institute for Justice, Institute for Justice 901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22203. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

Email Marketing by
iContact - Try It Free!

Advertisements

July 1, 2009 Posted by | California, Connecticut, Institute for Justice, Massachusetts, New York | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Urgent – MA HB262 Hearing May 19 – Inconsistent Bill Will Demote You to 2nd Class Status

How perfect that the sponsor of this bill’s name is actually Kafka, given the very Kafkaesque nature of all attempts to impose legislation on interior designers.

From IDPC:

==============================================================================================
Interior Design Protection Council
Protect your future!

HB 262 demotes you to second class status!Month Year

Hearing set for May 19, 2009

NEWS ALERT!
HB 262 – a title act to certify interior designers, promoted by the Massachusetts Interior Design Coalition (MIDC)and sponsored by Rep. Louis Kafka, has been scheduled for hearing next Tuesday, May 19th at 10:00 a.m. in Room B-1 at the State House in Boston.

HB 262 is:

1. ANTI-COMPETITIVE. This bill will ONLY benefit a very small minority of interior designers who will be able to market themselves as “State Certified” and unless you have passed the NCIDQ exam, YOU WILL NOT. If you do not have an approved formal college degree, and have not worked for 2 to 4 years under another licensed designer (a.k.a “indentured servitude), you are not even eligible to sit for the NCIDQ.

2. IMMATERIAL. The only legitimate reason to impose regulation on an entire profession is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. Not a shred of evidence has ever been presented which would warrant a conclusion that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy.

3. INCONSISTENT. Another bill, HB 2999 has also been introduced by Rep. Kafka which appears to allow ALL interior designers to bid on state projects (we’re still checking that one out). However, in direct contrast, this bill — HB 262 — includes language to amend the bidding law so that only interior designers that “hold a valid certificate indicating that they are a Certified Interior Designer” would be able to bid on state projects. Why would Rep. Kafka introduce two different amendments to the same existing law (Chapter 7 Public Building Construction)? At best, this is sloppy legislation writing. At worst (and we believe this to be the case), this is a classic example of the duplicity and the under-the-radar efforts that unfortunately are a hallmark of the pro-regulation camp.

4. ANTI-CONSUMER. This bill would give consumers a false sense of security that “registered” designers are offering addition protection beyond the measures already in place, which is untrue. Instead, the effect on consumers will be to artificially inflate prices. The Federal Trade Commission has recommend against regulation of interior designers.

5. UNNECESSARY. This is an exercise in wasting taxpayer money, government time and state resources. The bill serves absolutely no public purpose, and merely duplicates what is already available through private organizations.

6. INCREMENTAL. It has been well-documented that seemingly innocuous title acts are used by proponents to get a foot in the door, only to come back in a few years and attempt to expand the law into a full blown practice law that would put you out of business. MIDC has tried repeatedly to pass practice act legislation and failed, so they are trying this alternative approach.

In today’s difficult economic climate, state government should enact no new laws which would make it more difficult for Massachusetts entrepreneurs to earn an honest living unless there is compelling statistical and/or empirical evidence that the public is placed in jeopardy without such regulation. Clearly, there is absolutely no such evidence.

TAKE ACTION!

1. NOW:

Time is of the essence! Continue reading

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment