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

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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.

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

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