No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

Are Stagers Affected by Interior Design Legislation?

Do interior design licensing laws affect real estate home stagers, or, as their professional association claims, will they be exempt?

Not only are stagers affected, but practitioners of arts such as feng shui and vastu would be at risk also. Please read the following post and position paper by IDPC to learn more.

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Interior Design Protection Council
Yes!

Real estate/home stagers – you need to educate yourselves

Take action to protect your rights and livelihoods!

Recently, we became aware of positions and statements originating from the staging profession purporting that regulation of interior designers does not affect real estate/home stagers and they should not become pro-active in protecting their freedoms.

This is not only far from true, but is a dangerous position that could potentially place real estate stagers at great risk. Practice laws in states like Florida and Alabama have been a detriment to real estate stagers, and if similar practice acts are allowed to be enacted, stagers will continue be impacted. Sadly, the advice which has been given to stagers recommending that they do not look into this issue lacks a clear understanding of the nuances of regulation, and rather than advancing member protection, it serves only to encourage stagers to withdraw back into complacency instead of continuing to actively engage in this important issue that has and will continue to impact staging professionals if left unchecked.

Click here to read IDPC’s Position Paper:
The Collateral Affect of Interior Design Regulation on Real Estate Stagers

Stagers, please join the fight for your right to perform your services free from arbitrary government interference.superhero
Take part in the freedom movement to ensure that legislation which would restrict your scope of work is never enacted. You can help by joining our team!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at
info@IDPCinfo.org.

Patti Morrow

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

IDPC is the only national organization solely dedicated to protecting the rights and livelihoods of everyone in the design community.

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Click here to become a member of IDPC.

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June 18, 2009 Posted by | Alabama, feng shui, Florida, staging | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CIDA College Coerces Student Support of Legislation

We recently became aware of a situation at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (PA) in which instructor Lauren Musulin offered an extra credit assignment to students in her Revit class if they lobbied legislators in PA in support of passage of proposed legislation HB 1521 – with extra points for getting two other people to also write letters supporting the bill as well – an assignment entitled “IDLCPA Support –  http://www.idpcinfo.org/AIP_Extra_Credit.pdf

This same opportunity was not offered to students who oppose such legislation.  In fact, when a student who opposes legislation objected, she was not given an alternative opportunity to earn the same extra credit by another means.  When the student in question approached the instructor and requested an opportunity to “research and evaluate opposing views”, the instructor flat out denied her request.

This was nothing but a blatant, all-out effort on the part of one instructor to intimidate students into supporting her own political agenda, and to coerce her students into supporting her own legislative views, not to teach involvement in the legislative process.

When the Interior Design Protection Council published this information, department chair Kelly Spewock responded, alleging that “Ms. Musulin’s students had the opportunity to research and evaluate opposing views to this topic, among other projects that were not made available to you or your readers”, and claiming that the Institute does not take a particular position with respect to legislation.  Spewock claims that other extra credit opportunities were offered to students who did not want to support legislation, but has yet to specify what they were.  The specific assignment, to which the link above points, makes it very clear that no alternative option was, in fact, offered, as does the fact that the student who objected was denied other options.

It is an absolute disgrace that an academic institution should in any way attempt to coerce students into supporting any particular legislative position and make it part of their grade, and it should not take publishing the information on a nationally-distributed mailing list or blog to bring the situation to people’s attention to compel that faculty member to offer students other options.

To teach involvement in the legislative process by encouraging students to research the issues, formulate their own opinions, and to write to legislators in support of whatever their own conclusions lead them to support would be an entirely legitimate assignment – but not demanding that they support only the instructor’s own point of view or face loss of extra credit points.

What’s more, the assignment makes several completely false statements, including alleging that “only a registered design professional” may implement the IBC code provisions.  This is out and out untrue, as anyone who can read can verify for themselves on page 41 of the code.  This lie has been repeatedly promulgated all over the country, and is just as repeatedly refuted every time it rears its head, yet the cartel lumbers on, repeating it endlessly, as if so doing will actually make it true.

The assignment also implies to students that a “fair” legislative procedure involves ramming a bill through the process, and by claiming that it must “move quickly”, implies that there may be some deceptive practices involved that may deny the other side a fair hearing.

One could argue that such instruction isn’t even the point of a class in using a software program, too, which makes this all the more bizarre, because the assignment doesn’t even relate to the topic of the class!

Sadly, this is just one more example of the kind of underhanded tactics to which the pro-legislation cartel will stoop in order to promote their point of view.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), Pennsylvania | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

IIDA Student Blog Censors Legislative Map Correction Post

6/8/09 Update – I was contacted by IIDA about this post, told I’m not blocked from commenting on the blog, and was invited to repost my comments – see comments below.  My apologies to IIDA if I was in error about that, but my comments about the problems with the out-of-date map still hold.

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I just tried to post the message below on the IIDA Student Blog about the out of date IIDA map of design legislation (same as the one ASID uses) and it got rejected. Not just rejected, as in not posted, but it brought up a “discarded” error message the moment I posted it, which means they’ve got the blog set to automatically reject any postings from me.

Why are these people so afraid of what we post about opposing design legislation?

Oh, wait, that’s right – the pro-legislation cartel doesn’t have a shred of evidence to back up their position, so they have to try to shut up those of us who can back up ours, so that their unsuspecting members aren’t diverted and won’t see that the emperor truly has no clothes.

What’s more, it’s apparently an intern at IIDA who’s running this blog – clearly a student herself – even though she has apparently declined to name herself or put up a bio. She menti0ned the fact in this post, though. What does she know about the realities of all of this?

Sweetheart, you need to grow up, get a life, and learn that informed decisions can only be made when people are aware of all of the issues, on both sides of the matter. Censoring the opposite point of view like this only demonstrates a small, closed mind, and that will not get you far in life. That is also a favorite tactic of the fearful who know they don’t have a leg to stand on.

But students (and others) need this information, even when their own peers as well as their instructors are trying to snowball them and keep them from learning both sides of the issue and the truth.

The proper role of education is to inform, teach students how to learn and reason for themselves, and to draw out their own conclusions, based on all available information. It is not to censor one point of view in favor of another, to attempt to restrict a students’ access to information they need in order to be able to formulate their own thoughts.

Students, you really need to demand that your schools and instructors not only allow but encourage the dissemination of information on both sides of this issue. Once you read the facts, you will discover that things are not nearly as cut and dried as the pro-legislation cartel would like you to believe. Follow the links on this blog on on the IDPC website, read everything you can, including every word of any legislation proposed in your own states, and the first-hand reports of people who have been harmed by this kind of legislation, and then make up your own mind.

And if neither IIDA nor ASID keep their legislative maps up to date, and neither are willing to admit it when their pet laws and legislative attempts are defeated, as they mostly have been, then how can you trust anything else they tell you on this subject?

Far and away the majority of allied members of ASID who have bothered to fully inform themselves have concluded that legislation will not only not benefit them, but will only harm them and put them out of business – what makes you think that you will fare any better right out of school?

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Why does IIDA persist in posting this out of date map? Among other things:

1. The Alabama practice act was struck down as unconstitutional in 2007 – http://www.nkba.org/press_releases_20071022.aspx

2. The New Mexico title act was also struck down as unconstitutional – http://www.ij.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=716&Itemid=165

3. The Oklahoma title act has been amended so that anyone can still use the tile “interior designer” – https://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/ok-no-longer-illegal-to-use-title-interior-designer/

4. The proposed Tennessee practice act legislation was withdrawn due to opposition, and is thus no longer pending – https://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/tennessee-practice-act-withdrawn-by-sponsor-due-to-opposition/

5. The list goes on.

Please see the IDPC website at http://idpcinfo.org and the No Design Legislation blog at https://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com for more details on these and other states, and to keep up on the most recent changes, as they happen, complete with links directly to the actual sources, actual text of proposed and existing laws as well as judicial opinions, etc., where you can read it all for yourself, right from the horse’s mouth.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | ASID, IIDA, New Mexico, Students | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

NY – Design Practice Act to Limit Who Can Bid on State Contracts

Only 207 designers in the entire state would qualify!  Follow the links below for talking points and contact information for legislators to send your opposition letters to.

From NKBA:

Take Action. Now.

NEW YORK – DESIGN PRACTICE ACT INTRODUCED TO LIMIT WHICH DESIGNERS MAY BID ON STATE CONTRACTS; FULL LICENSURE OF DESIGNERS SOON TO FOLLOW!

After losing their attempt to restrict the title of “interior designer” to only those designers who are “certified” in the State of New York (a restriction that even ASID has now given up on), the interior design lobby is back again with an even more restrictive, anti-competitive design practice bill. Assembly Bill 7764 provides that state contracts for interior design services must specify only certified interior designer (i.e., one who has passed the NCIDQ exam). There is a grand total of 207 certified interior designers in the entire State of New York who would be eligible to bid on state projects!

Even if you do not intend to bid on state projects, passage of this bill will absolutely impact your business because this is merely the first step towards achieving the ultimate goal of the design lobby and the American Society of Interior Designers – licensing the entire design community and limiting the performance of design services to only those who have met the restrictive, self-imposed requirements that ASID and NCIDQ have established. Once the lobby gets the State to recognize that only certified interior designers are competent to bid on state projects, full licensure to “protect the public” will surely follow and your work in the State of New York will be in jeopardy.

Please click this LINK to be taken to our website for more information and to send a message to the Committee. Let them know that there are more than 207 competent and qualified designers in the State of New York and that limiting the competitive bidding process to only a handful of designers would deny the contracting agencies the ability to obtain the expertise needed to complete the job and at an increased cost to the taxpayers.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | ASID, New York, NKBA | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

INDIANA-Governor Signs Electronic Registry for Interior Designers

From NKBA:

NEWS FLASH

INDIANA-Governor Signs Electronic Registry for Interior Designers


As expected, and despite our best efforts, Governor Daniels has signed into law an electronic registry for interior designers.  The law goes into effect July 1st.

The law establishes an electronic database of “registered interior designers” who must fill out an on-line registration form and pay a fee of $100 to the State (subject to renewal every 2 years).  The primary qualification for registration is passage of either the NCIDQ or ARE exam, however prior to December 31, 2011, if you have (a) at least 2 years of interior design education and have practiced interior design for at least 10 years, or (b) practiced interior design for at least 15 years, you may be registered without  passing the NCIDQ or ARE.  Designers who register must complete at least twelve (12) hours of continuing education in interior design or a discipline related to the practice of interior design prior to each 2-year renewal of a certificate of registration.

There is no state review or verification under the law — the applicant is required to electronically input information to certify, under penalty of perjury, the successful completion of any education, experience, and examination required for registration.  Once registered, the designer may use the title registered interior designer.  The registry will be maintained by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, and beginning July 2014, and each five (5) years thereafter, the agency must review the use of the registry to determine whether there is sufficient use of the registry to justify continuing the registration of the profession.  We fully expect that given the limited number of individuals who will qualify and pay the registration fee, the registration for interior designers will be abandoned at that time.

However, in case that does not happen, we recommend that if you qualify for registration, you consider doing so.  As of this date, there is no registration form available on the Indiana state website to allow  you to register, so check back frequently HERE.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Indiana, NKBA | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stagers and Feng Shui Experts Affected by Legislation – You Need to Educate Yourselves

Anyone practicing feng shui should also beware for the same reasons as outlined below and in the linked article about why real estate stagers are impacted by interior design legislation.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to read the following message and the referenced article, and to beware, if you want to continue to practice your craft.
You can help protect your rights by spreading the word on your own, writing letters to your own legislators to oppose unfair and anticompetitive interior design legislation, by testifying at hearings on proposed bills in your state about how you would be negatively impacted, and by sharing the below information with your colleagues.  Feel free to ask any questions here that you like.
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From the Interior Design Protection Council:
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Recently, we became aware of positions and statements originating from the staging profession purporting that regulation of interior designers does not affect real estate/home stagers and they should not become pro-active in protecting their freedoms.

This is not only far from true, but is a dangerous position that could potentially place real estate stagers at great risk.  Practice laws in states like Florida and Alabama have been a detriment to real estate stagers, and if similar practice acts are allowed to be enacted, stagers will continue be impacted.  Sadly, the advice which has been given to stagers recommending that they do not look into this issue lacks a clear understanding of the nuances of regulation, and rather than advancing member protection, it serves only to encourage stagers to withdraw back into complacency instead of continuing to actively engage in this important issue that has and will continue to impact staging professionals if left unchecked.

Click here to read IDPC’s Position Paper:

The Collateral Affect [sic] of Interior Design Regulation on Real Estate Stagers

Stagers, please join the fight for your right to perform your services free from arbitrary government interference.
Take part in the freedom movement to ensure that legislation which would restrict your scope of work is never enacted. You can help by joining our team!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at
info@IDPCinfo.org.

Patti Morrow

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Alabama, Florida | , , , , , | Leave a comment

ASID: Consumers Very Satisfied Working with Interior Designers

In 2005, ASID did a study indicating that consumers are “very satisfied working with an interior designer”.  According to Anita Baltimore, FASID, the then-president of ASID, “The new ASID study shows that most homeowners who work with interior designers recognize the value of their services once they see the results” (emphasis added).

More and more households are using designers, too.  In 1997, consumer use of designers was estimated at about 4% of households with an annual income of $70,000 or more, which comprised 6% of the US population.

By 2005, that percentage had increased to 14% of that population hiring an interior designer, with 34% having household incomes between $125,000 and $200,000, although the study also says that they are just as likely to have incomes between $75,000 and $125,000 as between $200,000 and $400,000.  Age-wise, clients are mostly between the ages of 35 and 65, and gender distribution is 64% females vs 36% males.

According to the article, “The most common projects for which a designer was hired were to remodel or redecorate a kitchen or bath, a living or family room, or bedroom. Almost one-fourth (23 percent) of those who hired an interior designer completely remodeled or redecorated an entire home, compared to about one-fifth (19 percent) of those who did not. The most frequently mentioned responsibilities for the designers on these projects were space planning or arranging (67 percent), consultation for aesthetic advice (56 percent), selecting furniture or other products (49 percent), improving functionality (39 percent), remodeling (33 percent), and managing the project (30 percent)”.

So what does this have to do with legislation?

Everything.

The sponsors of this study are the same group of people who are screaming bloody murder that the public needs to be protected from the consequences of having the widest range of options possible because they can’t tell the difference between a competent designer and Betty Decorator who has no clue what she’s doing (regardless of what label they use to describe themselves, by the way).

But this demographic is not a stupid group of people – obviously.

Anyone earning a minimum of $70,000 in this country in this day and age is pretty much by definition highly intelligent and competent, or they wouldn’t have reached that level in their occupations that would bring them to that income level.  That is even more true of those in the higher income ranges cited.  I think it’s safe to assume that many of these people are in highly responsible jobs where all kinds of critical decisions are made, requiring high levels of analytical skills.  These are upper level managers, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, etc. – the captains of industry who run this country, the people who take care of the rest of us.  It’s the highly educated, not the high school dropouts.

By the age of 35, it’s also pretty safe to say that these folks have lived a slice of life enough to be able to figure out for themselves how to find competent help in all areas of their homes as well as their business, inluding in the selection of their interior designers.

What’s more, you know darn well that people at this level professionally are also often involved in the selection of designers for their offices, many of whom are then brought home to do the houses, or vice versa.

So, are we to assume that this group of people leave their intelligence and analytical skills at the doors to their homes?  That they suddenly become incapable of assessing quality of services or products for their own residences, as opposed to in their jobs?  That the skills that have helped them to the tops of their professions don’t extend to the ability to even select a good, competent designer for their businesses, without governmental assistance?

I think not.

And notice the percentages.  Far and away most of these people surveyed hired designers for what can most accurately be described as “decorating” kinds of services.  “Arranging”, “aesthetic advice”, “selecting furniture or other products”.

Duh.  We know this is what the public thinks designers do – and those creative elements are definitely a part of it.  A big part.  So why are ASID and other pro-legislation people trying to downplay the importance of this aesthetic side of what we do?  And create a credentialing process that doesn’t even take it into account?

The reality is that creativity and aesthetics are just as important as technical knowledge.  It’s no good to have either one without the other, and in the best projects, they are seamlessly integrated.

But the numbers are also significant for those who hired designers to do much more extensive remodeling, which is where a professional designer, however he or she comes by her knowledge, can really be of benefit to clients.  Just by nature of the overall increase in utilization of interior design services, and the not insubstantial percentages of people utilizing a designer to execute a complete remodel, space planning, project management, etc., I think we can safely say that these people recognize the existence  and value of the skills of a professional designer.  With a more than threefold increase in the utilization of design services, it’s probably safe to say that the utilization 0f these more extensive services has increased similarly, along with the increase in use of more decorative services.

Now, if these designers had not been competent, just how many building permits do you think would have been issued for the remodeling work that they specified?  And how many of their clients would have been “very satisfied” with their work?

Not too many.

So, we have an increasing number of highly intelligent and succcesful people hiring interior designers to provide a very broad scope of services, including extensive remodelling, and even ASID says that on the whole, they are indeed “very satisfied” with the work of these designers.

So why does ASID still claim we need legislation?  To protect people from… what?  Being already satisfied with the work of the designers they obviously already know how to successfully select and hire?

We need licensing and credentialing, then, for… what, exactly?

And let’s not forget that Michael S. Smith, one of the most talented, successful, and celebrated interior designers of our times, has been hired by no less a client than President and Mrs. Obama to redo the White House.  He’s not licensed, not a member of ASID, did not graduate from any kind of design school, etc.  And yet, somehow, he’s still good enough for the President of the United States, and apparently no one in the current administration believes that in any way the lives, health, or safety of the President or his family will be at risk, as Michael Alin, the current president of ASID, not-so -subtly suggested in his presumptuous January 2009 letter to the First Couple in Interiors & Sources.

Methinks that his ability to keep the First Family safe will have been scrutinized down to the nth degree by the people responsible for keeping them safe and sound, and clearly he has been found competent, by what is most like the most excruciatingly detailed examination any designer anywhere is likely to have to face.

If an unlicensed, uncredentialled designer who did not complete any form of professional formal schooling is good enough for the White House, then why aren’t they good enough for everyone else?

So what is it, ASID?  Are consumers satisfied with the current offerings and way of doing things or not?

Because if you are going to still crow about how unsophisticated consumers are, how much they need to be protected from the consequences of allegedly uninformed opinions and the clutches of designers who have no clue what they are doing, then why are you also reporting unprecedented levels of satisfaction with this very group of people you want to regulate?
Which of these opinions/groups of facts are actually true?  Because you are speaking with forked tongue to promulgate both opinions, which completely contradict one another.

If, indeed, consumers really are already satisfied, then what’s wrong that actually needs to be changed?

The fact of the matter is that the system ain’t broke, folks.  It doesn’t need fixing.  It’s just fine the way it is.

People who want to be able to highlight their educations and experiences should be allowed to voluntarily, like we do it here in CA.  There’s no need to require this kind of validation – and multiple studies by both the Institute for Justice, the Reason Foundation, and others have repeatedly shown this.

It’s time to end this nonsense of endless attempts to regulate this profession – an effort that has met with spectacularly little success, despite more than 30 years of attempts to pass legislation to control what we do and who is allowed to do it.  Legislators as a group aren’t stupid, either.  Over and over again, ASID and its legislative coalitions in many states have met with spectacular failure to convince the majority of them that there is any compelling need whatsoever to regulate this profession in any way, despite millions and millions of dollars (of members’ dues money!) being poured into exactly this effort.

In just the past year alone, something like nearly 60 attempts have met with crashing failure to convince legislators that there is any value whatsoever in regulating interior designers, and in just a little more than that time frame, successful Constitutional challenges to existing laws in at least three states have been mounted, striking down several such laws as completely unconstitutional.

Thirty years of failure – and yet these people persist.  Think about it.

The definition of insanity is widely held to be doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Why won’t these people learn from their own endless failures?

And why won’t they look at the results of their own studies showing that consumers are already highly satisfied with the way things are?

It boggles the mind, and only reinforces the obvious conclusion that this is nothing but a cartelization effort of a small group of people who are hoping to keep a bigger piece of a growing pie for their own selves, and to shut out the competition.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | ASID, California, Institute for Justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Congrats, TX- HB2649 Amendment Practice Act Language Deleted!

Senator Averitt has agreed to remove the lighting design amendment from HB 2649! The crisis has been averted – for now. But this is going to come back later.

From the LightNow blog:

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Message from Marsha Turner, IALD Exec. VP, on Texas HB2649

Excerpted from IALD Reflections, the newsletter of the IALD:

Thank you, all of you, who took the time to weigh in on this issue. Your efforts, and those of our colleagues in the entertainment lighting industry, and members of the ALA, ESTA, IES and many other organizations, have paid off. I am pleased that we were able to mobilize so quickly and in such concentrated fashion. This effort demonstrates very clearly the power of a collective voice.

Now that Senator Averitt has agreed to remove the language from the bill, we need to send heartfelt and sincere thanks to those Texas legislators who received our vociferous protests. May I impose upon each of you to craft an appropriate message and send it on behalf of yourself or your company? It will go a long way toward helping ease future relations with the Texas decision-makers when we go back to the table and continue our discussions with them.

No one thinks this is over yet; far from it. This portion of the saga has been concluded in our favor, and that’s a big victory because the situation would have been very different, and very difficult, had things gone the other way. We should not belittle or downplay the effort that it took to achieve this “stay of execution” because it took hundreds of people and significant coordination among IALD, the ALA, ESTA and other organizations to put their collective influence, and that of their members, into play. What was accomplished here has never before been attempted or accomplished by the IALD.

It is correct for us to “celebrate the moment” just as it is correct for us to be working with Senator Averitt and the other Texas legislators to participate in the work that will happen after this. Which we are; those conversations have already begun. We will of course keep the membership informed.

Congratulations to all of you for a truly significant achievement.

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It’s not over until it’s over, though. Craig DiLouie reports that he received a message explaining that Senator Averitt added this language to the bill because, “…residential builders… in [his] district had complained about people representing themselves as lighting designers, selling bad equipment that did not perform, and producing a loss for the builders. Apparently, the Senator had no idea that there was a legitimate profession called lighting design and that the bill would damage it”.

That said, the Senator still thinks there’s a need for regulation, so even though he’s deleting the current language from the bill, he’s going to add a requirement for the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation to study the issue and propose some kind of regulation for the next legislative session two years from now.

Craig hopes that they will work with IALD on this, but obviously the entire design community has a stake in all of this, so it’s going to require ongoing work by all of us to keep the legislative wolf at bay. I would hope that IALD will join with all of the rest of the organizations already actively fighting anticompetitive design legislation such as NKBA, the Institute for Justice, IDPC, NAHB, and many others.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Texas | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Florida’s Interior Design Cartel Challenged in Federal Court – Press Release

INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE
901 N. Glebe Road Suite 900 Arlington, VA 22203 (703) 682-9320 FAX (703) 682-9321
Home Page: WWW.IJ.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 27, 2009

Florida’s Interior Design Cartel Challenged in Court
Federal Lawsuit Is Culmination of National Struggle
To Counter Industry Insiders’ Attempt to Wall Out Fair Competition

Tallahassee, Fla.—With the filing of a federal court challenge on Tuesday, Florida has become ground zero in a national struggle to prevent the monopolization of the interior design industry through anti-competitive occupational licensing laws. The struggle pits an elitist group of industry insiders seeking government protection from fair competition against independent entrepreneurs who simply wish to earn an honest living in the occupation of their choice without first meeting an expensive, time-consuming and utterly arbitrary series of government-mandated licensing requirements.

The Institute for Justice (IJ), the nation’s leading legal advocate for economic liberty, joined with three interior designers—Eva Locke, Pat Levenson and Barbara Gardner—and the National Federation of Independent Business to file the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee, challenging Florida’s interior design law. IJ has successfully vindicated the rights of interior designers across the country and this case promises to be the biggest fight yet in the battle against the interior design cartel.

“In the midst of a recession and with the economy in shambles, the last thing the government should be doing is putting up barriers to people who simply want to earn a living in the occupation of their choice,” said Clark Neily, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. “People are free in nearly every other state besides Florida to hire the interior designer who best meets their needs. But the government has taken that decision away from people in Florida, and the result is higher prices for consumers and fewer employment opportunities for designers. The proper role of government is protecting people from genuine harm—not protecting elitist cartels from fair competition.”

Only three states in the entire country regulate the practice of interior design, and Florida’s law is by far the most restrictive and aggressively enforced. The practice of interior design is defined under Florida law as including any consultation, study or drawing that relates to the “nonstructural interior elements” of any commercial building. That includes furniture, fixtures, lighting, carpets, drapes—even the artwork on the walls of an office—and all of it is off limits to anyone who is not a state-licensed interior designer.

“Why does Florida regulate the practice of interior design when virtually no other state does?” continued Neily. “It certainly has nothing to do with protecting public health, safety or welfare. Study after study has shown that the unlicensed practice of interior design presents no genuine safety risks whatsoever. Instead of protecting the public, interior design licensing laws are all about protecting industry members from fair competition.”

The push to license interior designers has not come from the public or from consumer watchdog groups or other concerned citizens, but from an industry organization called the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Working with local groups like Florida’s Interior Design Associations Foundation (IDAF), ASID has spent the past three decades and millions of dollars lobbying all over the country for licensing laws limiting the practice of interior design to people who possess the same credentials necessary to become a professional member of ASID itself.

Florida represents the interior design cartel’s greatest achievement so far, with not only the most sweeping interior design law anywhere in the country, but also the resources of a private law firm in Tallahassee that receives over $500,000 annually from the state to investigate and prosecute potential violations of the law. This has led to an enforcement campaign of unprecedented intensity, with hundreds of interior designers—including people legally performing residential interior design services, for which no license is required—being sent cease-and-desist letters every year.

Florida’s interior design law is riddled with constitutional defects, including improperly censoring truthful advertising and other forms of expression, violating people’s right to work in the occupation of their choice free from unreasonable government interference, and discriminating against interstate commerce by discouraging interior designers from other states from working in Florida.

IJ President and General Counsel Chip Mellor said, “This lawsuit is an important part of the Institute for Justice’s nationwide campaign to restore economic liberty to all Americans by defending their constitutional right to earn an honest living.”
For more information on the lawsuit, including video footage and national media coverage on the interior design cartel, visit www.ij.org/interiordesign

# # #

Christina Walsh
Director of Activism and Coalitions
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 682-9320
www.ij.org
www.castlecoalition.org

May 28, 2009 Posted by | ASID, Florida, Institute for Justice | 1 Comment

TX Attempts to Pass Partial Practice Act/Lighting Design Amendment – Action Needed!

From Jennifer Perkins of the Institute for Justice:

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Things (as always) can be sudden and move quickly with regard to information on the legislative front. It now appears that Senator Kip Averitt is the original source of this amendment.

Please focus your efforts on contacting Senator Averitt ((512) 463-0122)) and Gov. Perry ((512) 463-2000) in order to stop this effort.

Also, please remember, while it is perfectly appropriate to be passionate and concerned in contacting lawmakers, it is also very important to be courteous and civil in order to be effective.

Thanks so much.
________________________________________
From: Jennifer Perkins
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 12:11 PM
To: (redacted)

Subject: ALERT: TX attempts to pass partial interior design practice act

Importance: High

Greetings, friends.

In an unfortunate turn of events, an amendment has been made to a bill in the Texas Legislature to implement a partial practice act that would affect interior designers. HB 2649 is an unrelated bill regarding insurance coverage (so be aware that the bill sponsor, Rep. Callegari, is NOT the source of this amendment). Sen. Deuell has used this bill as a vehicle for the amendment which would basically require you to have a license as either an architect or a landscape architect or to become a registered interior designer in order to create ANY plans or design work related to lighting and lighting fixtures indoors and outdoors.

If your do any lighting design work, you would have to be a registered interior designer (or licensed architect or landscape architect) to continue doing that work.

There is still time to stop this from becoming law, but it is IMPORTANT that you act now.

HB 2649 has already passed the House and Senate, but because different versions passed the to legislative bodies, a “Conference Committee” will meet to agree on the final bill language.

You can help by:

1. Contacting Senator Deuell’s office to let them know you OPPOSE the lighting design amendment to HB 2649—not the bill itself, but rather the amendment requiring licensure to prepare lighting design plans. 512-463-0102.

2. Contact the Senate and House leadership offices so that legislative leadership will know there is significant opposition to this amendment—they will appoint the members of the Conference Committee; also contact the Governor’s office:

a. Speaker of the House Rep. Strauss: (512) 463-1000
b. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst: (512) 463-0001
c. Governor Rick Perry: (512) 463-2000

3. Contact the Senator and Representative that are from your home district to let them know you OPPOSE the amendment to HB 2649 relating to lighting design work. Even if these folks are not on the Conference Committee, your representatives should be aware of legislation that will negatively impact their constituents. You can find out who your representatives are and how to contact them here: www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us.

These contacts should be made ASAP in order to have a significant impact on the amendment to HB 2649. Also, please share this with other individuals you know who may be affected, for example anyone involved in industrial lighting design, theater lighting design, etc.

Thank you!
Jennifer

Jennifer M. Perkins, Staff Attorney
Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter
398 South Mill Avenue, Suite 301 Tempe, Arizona 85281
(480) 557-8300 * jperkins@ij.org
Litigating for Liberty: www.ij.org/arizona

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Institute for Justice, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment