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.

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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

Congratulations! OK Law Amended!

Interior Design Protection Council
Congratulations Oklahoma!
No longer illegal to use title “Interior Designer!”

Celebrate restitution of your Constitutional right!
Members of the Oklahoma design community:

On May 12th, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed SB 592 into law. This bill amends the current title act which previously restricted the use of the title “interior designer.”

YOU ARE NOW FREE TO USE THAT TITLE
WHICH ACCURATELY DESCRIBES THE WORK YOU DO!

The amended law will restrict only the title “registered interior designer” to those who qualify under the previously established guidelines.

This bill to amend the “pure” title law was filed in order to avoid defending against the lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice challenging violation of Oklahoma citizens’ First Amendment rights, which inevitably would have been lost by Oklahoma.

So go ahead, Oklahoma designers — celebrate the freedom you deserve!

Oklahoma’s violation of interior designers’ free speech rights is OVER!

Forward this email

SPIN, DENIAL, OR PLAIN STUPIDITY?

IDPC has received a copy of a May 15th internal IIDA memorandum which attempts to claim victory for the Oklahoma amendment on that basis it amends “their existing law to include the laughingtitle “Registered Interior Designer.”

How utterly absurd to think that any intellegent, informed person would actually believe that.

Restrictions on the title “interior designer,” included in the original law, have been abolished, and in its place — NOT as an additional title to be restricted, is “registered interior designer.”

Hello IIDA! Perhaps you haven’t heard…. IDPC will expose ALL such blatantly untrue and/or misleading statements and provide the design community with the TRUTH!

Bye-Bye Title Laws!
Of the five states that enacted “pure” title acts, i.e. they restricted the use of the terms “interior designer” and “interior design,” New Mexico, Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma have been turned back, allowing designers’ First Amendment rights to be restored.

Only Connecticut’s pure title law remains — but a lawsuit challenging their law was filed by the Institute for Justice in September, 2008, and CT will almost most likely come to realize their indefensible position and join their predecessors in waving the white flag. And we will be only too happy to report that good news when it happens.

Even ASID has their white flag billowing in the breeze — their “new” legislation policy admits the title “interior designer” cannot be restricted and in defeat, have retreated from their goal of securing that title for a very tiny minority of elitist insiders.

Soon, perhaps even by the end of 2009, the United States of America will no longer be a nation that violates ANY interior designers’ rights to accurately describe the services they provide or to use the title which portrays their professional occupation.

STAY TUNED!

This has been an exciting month for our Freedom Movement, but. . .

IT’S NOT OVER YET!!!!

Thank you IJ, for restoring the rights of Oklahoma designers!

But the fight is not over. . .

Oklahoma designers, now it’s your turn to help your colleagues in the rest of the country. Help IDPC put the monopoly effort down for the count 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!

View full formatted email with all links here.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | ASID, IIDA, Institute for Justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ASID MEMBERS RESIGN IN PROTEST OF ASID LICENSING EFFORTS

We just received a copy of the letter below sent to ASID Headquarters. Thanks to the Interior Design Freedom Coalition http://www.interiordesignfreedom.org/blog.html for posting it.

Please see the links on this blog in the Interior Design Legislation Opposition section to the Interior Design Protection Council and the Interior Design Freedom Coalition for more information on licensing efforts and how to protect your real right to practice in your state, and how ASID efforts will put thousands of designers out of business.

=======================================================================================================
ASID RESIGNATIONS
-GROUP ONE-

December 19, 2008

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

Dear Mr. Alin:

Over the last several years, we have watched as ASID has recklessly spent our dues and MANDATORY legislative assessments on a failed policy falsely proclaiming to “raise the level of the profession” and to cull what you have decided are the “real designers” from those not following the path you dictate. The legislation you support has requirements so restrictive that most designers would not be able to comply and will therefore be denied the right to practice.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID’s president, members and board repeatedly mislead their own ASID colleagues about the EFFECT of legislation on our right to practice, while currying support from the very designers who would be put out of business by your legislative actions. And we have listened as Allied Members were described as the “Cash Cows” of the organization – too stupid to understand that we were being used to fund our own demise.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID betrayed its own ethics to push its own agenda – an ego-driven agenda that has the potential to destroy more than half of its own membership.

Over and over… we have listened as ASID members said sweetly, “We’re not trying to put you out of business.” [Subtext: as long as you forego your practice to go back to school for at least 2 years, do a supervised internship with an NCIDQ certified designer – if you can find one who also happens to be hiring – and intern from two to five years while being paid virtually nothing; then if you have any money left, pay about $2000 to take step workshops, purchase study materials, and take and pass the NCIDQ test (which is rarely passed on the first attempt), and then prove to the satisfaction of your own competitors that you actually are a designer, and comply with any regulations they happen to write.] But nobody’s trying to put you out of business; after all, there’s grandfathering. And from what we’ve seen of the way “grandfathering” is often written into the legislation, that’s just as bogus a claim as the rest of the pro-legislation argument.

Legislators have told us that representatives (either ASID and/or IIDA members) have misrepresented the content, objectives and design support for their legislation while governors of four states have clearly understood it to be anticompetitive and protective.

In states where practice acts have been enacted, designers have suffered terribly – persecuted for what they have done successfully for years, sustaining huge fines and legal fees for miniscule “infractions” and in some cases, bankrupted and driven out of the state in order to earn a living.

Florida designers bear witness to the travesty of your actions, and we hear more and more from them every day. The disgraceful behavior of Florida ASID members who deliberately work to expose and report their own members, as well as others, and help to put them out of business tells us what we need to know about ASID as an organization and about how legislation really works to
destroy designers’ rights to practice. And Florida is not the only state where this happens or has happened: try Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Connecticut and others.

There are estimated to be between 200,000 and 400,000 interior designers in practice in the U.S. today. ASID claims membership of only about 20,000 practicing designers, the majority of
whom don’t even care about “raising the level of the profession”. Many are not even aware of your legislative agenda. They just want to practice design successfully as they always have.

We have personally spoken to Allied designers all across the country, and have found the vast majority to be opposed to your actions. As we’ve said before: the only designers who benefit from your tactics are the so-called professional designers who have passed the NCIDQ – and those are few and far between.

You do not represent independent designers as you have claimed, hence the title independent. They don’t want ASID’s interference in their right to practice, and have told us that they resent ASID’s efforts to dictate policy in which they have no say. Even ASID members are not welcome to disagree with your policies as the invitation to the Arkansas conference clearly shows, where attendees were carefully vetted to make sure that there would be no discordant voices.

ASID HAS NO RIGHT AND NO MANDATE TO DICTATE TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DESIGNERS ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTY WHO WILL BE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE AND WHO WILL NOT. YOUR LEGISLATION IS BEING DEFEATED BECAUSE DESIGNERS DO NOT SUPPORT YOUR OBJECTIVES.

It is clear to us that ASID no longer advocates for all of its members. This is illustrated in the make-up of the board which is ponderously commercial, in the membership of your pro-legislation coalitions across the country, where the majority are often commercial designers and in your undue influence in the schools, where students are pushed toward architectural/commercial design and where residential design gets short shrift. Students have told us that ASID has misled them, pushing them into commercial/architectural design on the premise that jobs at the commercial or architectural firms would be awaiting them when they graduate, and that ASID would help them get those jobs.

Even before the economic downturn, commercial jobs were very hard to come by – by ASID’s own statistics, only 15% of the market – and the few students who manage to land those jobs do so without ASID’s promised-but too often undelivered assistance. Many students, unable to secure those jobs have wound up selling commercial furniture and other commercial products. And most residential designers cannot hire them, as designers who have, have told us that they can draft, but cannot do other things that are crucial to residential design.

ASID’s preferential conduct is also apparent in the way Allied Members are treated on the national website’s “Find a Designer” page, where potential clients searching for referrals are offered a choice of “Show Professionals Only” (listed as the default) vs. “Show All Practitioners” which they have to search for [note: this appears to just have been changed]. This is insulting and clearly shows a bias toward “professional” members, which is especially unjustifiable considering that many so-called “Professional” designers have never passed the NCIDQ test and have just been allowed in. Allied Members pay the majority of dues and mandatory legislation fees, are no less professional in their work, and do not deserve a lesser marketing effort than any other members.

Additionally, by promoting its single-entry method as the one true path to design, ASID has created a rift between practicing designers and those who take ASID’s EEE path, with the younger designers evincing rudely worded disrespect for their more experienced elders – a situation which is not conducive to job creation.

Interior Design is a creative field. Yet ASID is determined to legislate creativity out of it by restricting the many paths of entry into the field that have nurtured that creativity and vision for years, producing brilliant designers – down to one path that is engineered to produce – engineers.

In a failing economy such as this, ASID should be using all its resources to support and market designers, not to destroy them through legislation. And make no mistake, we completely understand your actions and your intent.

We are ashamed and deeply disappointed by this organization. We can no longer support a Society that deliberately destroys its own membership and endangers the future of design and designers in its unending desire for power and dominance. And because of your exclusive policies, we know there is no hope of changing the trajectory of your actions.

ASID had a slogan: PROTECTING YOUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE. You are, in fact, subverting your own raison d’etre by deliberately trying to destroy our right to practice. And that is unethical, unconscionable and unacceptable.

And so we are resigning.

Jacqueline Bazaar, #1533586, Pennsylvania
Margaret H. Benson, #1504190, Texas
Gayle Beyer, #1519494, Colorado
Loraine Brown, #1250453, Georgia
Christine Colman, #1534167, Washington
Ellen Fernandez, #1239917, Maryland
Diane Foreman, #61436, Oregon
Debbie Gersh, #1485135, Texas
Noreen Dunn Gottfried, #1502827, Pennsylvania
Carol Gumpert, 1550669, California
Karen K. Hartley, #75601, Georgia
Nancy Hartsing, #1559067, Arizona
Henrietta Heisler, #1859365, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Kauermann, #97269, Pennsylvania
Nancy Phillips Leroy, #1231856, Pennsylvania
Christie Meehan, #1201627, Pennsylvania
Tonya Morrison, 1487732, Pennsylvania
Jayne Rosen, #78935, Pennsylvania
Rebecca Ruediger, #1250458, Missouri
Carly Sax, #1500172, Illinois
Anne-Marie H. Schimenti, #1504255, Florida
June Shea, #1486996, Virginia
Nadia T. Tanita, #1542001, Hawaii
Terri Temple, #18099, Connecticut
Mary Sue B. Wiedmer, #1215131, Pennsylvania

Resigned earlier this year for the above reasons:

Janice Onsa, Pennsylvania, former Allied Member
Diane Plesset, Oregon CMKBD, CID #5818, C.A.P.S., former ASID

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
According to a survey by Interior Design Magazine as quoted in the New York Times, January 29, 1987

December 24, 2008 Posted by | California Designers Against Legislation (CADAL), Interior Design Legislation Opposition, Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), ncidq certification licensing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment