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

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.

=========================================================================

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?

====================================================

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

Florida Design Law to be Challenged!

See press release below:

To view as a webpage: click here

Interior Design Protection Council

Finally!
It’s time for the Florida cartel to face the music!

And your support is needed!
THE INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE
is taking on
THE FLORIDA INTERIOR DESIGN CARTEL!

This could be the most important event in the future of interior design. Come and be a part of history in the making! Attend the press conference and RALLY. . .

Design Community: Click here for FLYER with rally date, time and details

Media: Click here for PRESS RELEASE

Blog: Click here to COMMENT

Forward this issue to a Friend

Please download and print copies of the flyer and post them EVERYWHERE!

— especially in showrooms and vendor locations —

Colleagues, please join the fight for our rights and freedom to design

With your help, we CAN resist or repeal legislation that restricts your practice or right to call yourself “interior designer” in every state — including YOURS. 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 ALL designers in our country.
Please support our efforts!
Click here to become a member of IDPC.
Join Our Mailing List!

==============================================================
INTERIOR DESIGN PROTECTION COUNCIL

91 Reserve Place, Concord, New Hampshire 03301 Phone: 603.228.8550 Fax: 603.229.1339 http://www.IDPCinfo.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:

May 21, 2009 Patti Morrow 603.228.8550

Florida interior designers victimized by restrictive law to get relief

Lawsuit, press conference and rally on May 27th in Tallahassee

Concord, NH – On Wednesday, May 27th, a public rally will be held at Waller Park in Tallahassee to coincide with a
legal challenge filed against Florida’s interior design practice law.

The Institute for Justice (IJ) is filing suit in Florida on behalf of several small business entrepreneurs whose basic
Constitutional rights have been violated by the most restrictive interior design law in the country. At issue is a Florida
law that restricts residential interior designers from advertising themselves as “interior designers” and prevents them from
legally practicing any type of commercial design. The law also prohibits industries such as office furniture and restaurant
equipment dealers from doing furniture or equipment layouts, an essential practice needed to succeed in those fields.

“Interior designers are already struggling with this difficult economy,” said Patti Morrow, executive director of
the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), the national grassroots voice for independent designers. “The last thing
they need is a completely unnecessary law that places an additional burden on their ability to earn a living.”

The proponents of the law, the Interior Design Associations Foundation (IDAF) and the American Society of
Interior Designers (ASID) maintain that Florida Statute 481 – and licensing in general – is needed to protect the health,
safety and welfare of the public, a claim that remains unsubstantiated even after the 30-year pursuit to impose interior
design licensing in all 50 states. Yet, since 2003 more than 600 unreasonable disciplinary actions have been brought
against members of the Florida design community, none of which had anything to do with public safety. When asked
about the aggressive disciplinary actions and increased fines imposed by the regulatory board, Janice Young,
spokesperson for IDAF responded, “We do it [penalize unlicensed design] by making the punishment more painful
and significant.”

“Florida’s restraint of trade and censorship of interior designers is blatantly unconstitutional and represents a
deliberate attempt by a tiny faction within the interior design industry to (1) eliminate their competition by restricting the
type of services they would be free to provide in nearly every other state, (2) silence competitors by preventing people
from truthfully advertising the services they do provide, and (3) improperly burden and discriminate against interstate
commerce,” said Clark Neily, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. “This law has come from a minority of elitist
insiders within the design industry itself, not as a result of public demand or legislative determinations that such regulation
is necessary for the public good. They are clearly abusing government power to drive thousands of hard-working small
businessmen and women out of business. This law cannot stand.”

Over the last year, IDPC spearheaded the effort to raise awareness of this issue in Florida, by conducting town
hall meetings, lobbying the legislative and executive branches to deregulate the law, supporting amendments to FS 481,
opposing changes to the Florida Building Code, exposing blatantly false statements made by IDAF, revealing the
ruthlessly aggressive actions of the law firm retained to prosecute designers, and by publicizing the devastating effects on
the lives of these victims. IDPC’s widespread grassroots support will mobilize to support the IJ legal challenge.
“We value the innovation, creativity and diversity as well as the multiple methods of entry that have been the
cornerstone of this dynamic profession, serving the public without harm. Florida’s once-size-fits-all licensing scheme for
interior designers could not be more contrary to those values,” explained Morrow. “Protectionism, censorship, cartel,
monopoly, domination, control, special interests – you name, it’s all here, and it’s having a devastating effect on the lives
of Florida designers. It’s time to pull the curtains on the interior design cartel.”

May 21, 2009 Posted by | ASID, Florida, Institute for Justice, Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC) | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Letter from an ASID Allied Member – This Could Happen to You

Think you aren’t going to be affected by interior design legislation, even if it comes to your state? The following post details only one of a huge number of stories coming out of Florida and other states about the destruction of lives and careers that ASID’s witch hunt is causing. None of us can afford to remain complacent and let others fight this battle. What happens in other states could well be coming to your own state soon, so beware!

from the Interior Design Freedom Coalition blog:

==========================================

Letter from an ASID Allied Member

We just received an email newsletter from IDPC (Interior Design Protection Council) that is worth reading regarding the enforecment [sic] of Florida’s “medieval” interior design statute as the State of Florida continues to use an outside law firm to terrorize unsuspecting “Interior Designers” in Florida.

Read what happened to this Allied ASID member from Florida!
This could happen to YOU!
January 2009

Adelene Keeler SmithWest Palm Beach, FL

Dear Allied Members of ASID:

I write to validate that the Interior Design Protection Council, Liberty for Pennsylvania Designers and Institute of Justice are telling you the truth.

I am not an activist, but your design colleague. Iʼd like to share more insight on the negative impact licensing of interior designers has had on me personally.

Please link onto my website at www.adelenekeelersmith.com Allow me to walk you through my current website, which has clearly been diluted of the original strength and message it had when launched in February 2008. My research continues to point to the likelihood that a fellow ASID member reported my website to the state. In my efforts to clarify and confront this issue with ASID, I was met with flippancy, arrogance, and told “…but you were in violation! and why are you featuring past commercial projects on your web site!…donʼt you have something new to show! Donʼt take it so personally, just tell the investigator you are sorry and you wonʼt do it again!” Totally stunned, I replied that my corporate work stands the test of time and I feel I have done nothing inappropriate. When I called the IDAF director they suggested it might have been disgruntled client who filed thecompliant. “I donʼt maintain a clientele in Florida to report me”, I replied. My letters to the ASID and IDAF leadership have never been acknowledged. The complaint remains anonymous, but this action resulted in the investigation of my practice last year.

Here were the changes required to comply with and obey Florida law:

The Home Page: remove the term Interior Design or any other word combination containing them. I replaced it with Refined Elegance. I am now asked, so what is it that you do actually?

The Portfolio Page: every project you note here (even those obviously not in Florida) were under suspicion and scrutinized. I had to provide dates, names and project locations for each project. Can you imagine explaining that the tropical looking home was my personalresidence and not that of a paid client. All other Florida projects with timeless appeal, were completed before legislation or under current restrictions. In order to clear up any future assumptions or misunderstandings by the ASID or IDAF, I was required to by-line all commercial projects as not available in Florida.

The Profile Page: I had to remove any mention of the stellar interior design and architecture firms with which I had interned with, been employed by, or was mentored by in South Florida during or after receiving my five year BS degree in interior design. I suspect this was another way to discredit my obvious competency in commercial design even without the NCIDQ exam or professional level membership with ASID and IIDA.

The Process Page: I had to remove and re-write various verbiage. I had to explain in detail that the sample project boards on the website were not Florida projects, but were used as instructional materials only for the Commercial and Residential Design Labs I taught at alocal Florida college or were prepared for out of state clients. I am free to educate Floridaʼs students in Interior Design, but I am prohibited from practicing it.

Lastly, on my contact page, I voluntarily took off any indication or relationship to Florida,including area code and residential studio. (We returned to Florida for my husbandʼs careeras civil/structural bridge engineer) A good move back for him and Floridaʼs bridge needs…not so good for me. He needs the license, not me.

None of these changes required by the State of Florida where remotely required to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. I believe it to be a witch hunt for the ASID agenda, cloaked under Florida state law that relishes any means of generating revenue in a state with no income tax.

In conclusion, I have been banned from practicing any commercial design, including condo lobbies, retail stores or corporate spaces for which I have received numerous ASID (first place) Awards for Excellence.

I am accused of soliciting and offering Interior Design services via my website to the state of Florida without a license. I am prohibited from establishing any interior design practice here (including residential, because I do not just decorate) without taking the NCIDQ exam necessary for application of a Florida license. (Note that in Florida tasks as basic as specification of furniture and creating a plan for arranging furniture are restricted to licensed interior designers. Unlicensed individuals wishing to perform residential decorating are limited to specifying fabrics, paint, flush mount lighting and window treatments.)

We received a wave of crank calls from so-called “prospective clients” to test our adherence to this warning. We politely declined their projects and referred them to a licensed Florida interior designer.

You be the judge of our website contents and my credentials. I believe I have conducted myself as a consummate professional in this industry for 35 years. And, because I will not cow-tow to anotherʼs definition or policy endorsed by the government, I am excluded and denied the ability to contribute to my family finances.

I am perplexed and troubled that ASID would allow this type of activity. Where was the civil and professional “courtesy call” that I deserved if a fellow ASID member had concerns about my new posted website. Silly me, I thought our new ASID chapter and membership would be welcoming, happy and excited for our new venture.

I am on a forced sabbatical.

In the next news letter, I would like to share with you my fall 2008 letter written to the new ASID incoming national President, my chapter administrator and two chapter presidents expressing matters at hand. Stay tuned!

Until then, the Happiest of New Yearʼs to you and yours!

Yours Sincerely,

Adelene Keeler Smith

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Florida, Pennsylvania | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Second Group of ASID Members Resign in Protest over ASID’s Support of Interior Design Legislation

Thanks to the Interior Design Freedom Coalition blog for the following post.  I’m a little behind in updating my blog.  And I’m really, really sad that, as stated, “ASID is not the organization it once was”.

================================================================================

We just received a copy of this letter from IDPC

www.idpcinfo.org

ASID RESIGNATIONS
-GROUP 2-

January 16, 2009
Michael Alin, Executive Director
The American Society of Interior Designers
608 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, D.C., 20002

Dear Mr. Alin:

Once again Allied designers have come together to state the reasons for their dispute with ASID and to resign as a group in protest of the organization’s policies and practices.

Despite the fact that ASID leadership thinks it knows better, designers who have been practicing for years understand what they do for a living and how clients react to their work. And what they know is that they are not endangering the health and safety of the public, nor are they prevented from practicing by the IBC – both simply serve as excuses for licensing.

What they also know is that licensing is totally unnecessary, and basically a device that is used by ASID and its testing partner, NCIDQ, to DISQUALIFY, not qualify, designers through legislation, and through NCIDQ requirements that cripple designers’ ability not only to take the test, but to pass it as well.

Most designers have absolutely no desire and see no reason to take the NCIDQ. Nowhere has it ever been proven that designers who take it are any better than those who don’t. Many of the most accomplished, famous designers in the world (notably those often featured in Architectural Digest) have never taken the test and certainly don’t need to. What they have is talent, plus the ability to be creative and visionary. Techno-engineering is not what we want to study and it’s not what we want to do. But this is what ASID is trying to force upon us.

We see increasing comprehension and anger from young design graduates who were fed on the milk of ASID’s policies from an early age, and were uneducated as to how these policies would negatively affect their careers. They are now coming to understand how ASID’s methodology will keep them from moving on up into the so-called professional ranks. NCIDQ’s requirement for years of what many young designers are calling “indentured servitude” makes it impossible for anyone coming out of school to immediately take the test.

And the lack of NCIDQ-certified designers who could or would hire these young graduates into that required indentured servitude makes even the possibility of taking the test very unlikely indeed.

Many young designers have simply abandoned the desire to take the NCIDQ and are taking other roads – which is apparently another way that ASID deliberately decreases the ranks of future interior designers.

Additionally by requiring young designers to work only with NCIDQ certificate holders (few that there are) they also deny them the possibility of working with the top designers in the world who are not NCIDQ-certified.

Once again, we are appalled by the situation unfolding in Florida, which, sadly, has provided a glimpse into the real future of the meaning of design legislation.

If it has been your goal to cut the ranks of interior designers in Florida, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to restrict decorators to the bare minimum of “legal” services where they would be less competitive, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to use the Florida practice act to cause much pain in the design community in Florida, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to cause Florida designers to operate in a state of fear, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to penalize and exact huge fines against interior designers and collateral trades just trying to do business as they were used to doing, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to destroy the ability to design in freedom in Florida, you have succeeded.

It is, however, our goal to inform designers of the type of restrictive actions heading their way if they allow ASID to pass legislation in dozens of states where legislation is slated to be introduced. And it is our goal to make sure that you never succeed in forcing this legislation on the design community, causing this type of damage to our fellow designers again.

Designers no longer feel that ASID’s dues represent a good value. In letters written by Allied members, they cited over and over again the fact that better information could be had over the internet, that Connex is worthless because of extensive censorship, that mandatory dues force people to pay for lobbying efforts they do not support, and that ASID does not do what it should to promote designers (especially Allied designers). Most agree that they can buy their own magazines, and for far less than $440 a year!

And perhaps the most important reason of all is that clients simply don’t care whether prospective designers are members of ASID – only that they like their portfolios, feel comfortable with the designers and agree with the proposed financial arrangements.

Additionally, ASID’s claim that it promotes the interests of Allied members is particularly ludicrous since other than paying dues that support lobbying for legislation that will put us out of business, the Society seems to have no use for us. Cited over and over are the elitist attitudes that permeate leadership and chapters around the country, creating an uncomfortable and unwelcome atmosphere for Allied members who are looked upon as second-class citizens.

Just because a designer passes the NCIDQ test and serves an NCIDQ certified practitioner for a number of years, does not make that designer a professional, nor does it entitle those designers to take an elitist attitude that is unwelcoming to others within the same organization who are not NCIDQ-certified.

Professional designers are those whose vision and creativity evolve over time, and who serve their customers successfully with expertise that is derived from any number of different sources, and these professionals include people who are self-taught through their own hands-on experience. “Professional” status is something designers earn through the quality of their work in the competitive arena of a free market – it is not something that can be conferred simply by passing a test or obtaining a government-issued license.

ASID will continue to lose members as long as it pursues professional licensing through legislation; as long as it continues to lose credibility by misrepresenting to its membership that licensing is necessary and good for the profession; as long as ASID continues to deny that licensing will put thousands of designers out of business; as long as it continues to ally with NCIDQ to disqualify designers from practice; as long as it continues its elitist attitudes; as long as it continues to mislead newcomers about their future in design; as long as it continues to deny designers who disagree with policy a voice; as long as it continues its policy of mandatory legislative assessments; and as long as it continues to promote its dictatorial policies, while denigrating its own membership.

ASID is not the organization it once was. We see that clearly, and have no desire to continue our membership.

And so we are resigning.

Thomas M. Bauer, #29892, Indiana
Paula Bertucci, #52512, California
Denise Bressler, #1485955, Florida
Edith Clamen, #42256, New York (previously resigned for above reasons)
Diann Gibson, #1226118, Florida
Starr Gobtop, 1868762, Illinois
Amy Hart, #1503605, Virginia
Melodie Hunt, #39056, Missouri
Patrick Mallaley, #1894927, Canada
Carolyn McComber, 1538456, Florida
Nicole Mitchell, #1527699, Pennsylvania
Emily Nagel, #1860696, Washington (state)
Richard Parker, #1480188, Florida
Deborah A. Rodeghier, #1485759, California
Kelly Savell, #1551058, Tennessee
Janet Schmierer, #1238256, New Jersey
Cricket Seal, #2440, Texas
Mimi Swerdlow, #1223205, Connecticut
Margaret Vogt, #84751, North Carolina
Corey Zucker, #1222704, New York

cc: Bruce J. Brigham, President
Board of Directors:
Bruce Goff
Charrisse Johnston
Doug Hartsell
Lisa Henry
Mary G. Knopf
Rachelle Schoessler Lynn
Stephanie Clemons
Sybil J.B. Van Dijs

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Interior Design Legislation Opposition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment