No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

New Video – Free to Design: Florida Entrepreneurs Take On the Interior Design Cartel

New video about the lawsuit challenging Florida’s anticompetitive interior design law.

The Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily explains the growth of red tape and licensing laws which have led to an explosion of governmental controls on occupations that were never regulated before. Legislation has always been abused as a weapon to suppress competition, starting with attempting to prevent African Americans from getting a leg up, to now restricting many other people from working in the fields of their choice. It’s an ugly history that has been continued now as a tool of special interest groups who want to exclude others.

In fact, as David Harrington of Kenyon College explains, this sort of legislation is also most likely to exclude minorities and midcareer job changers. See “Designed to Exclude” for more information on this.

Can you say “discrimination”? And “antithesis of the American Dream”? Sure, I knew you could.

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September 3, 2009 Posted by | Florida, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Designed to Exclude Minorities and Career-Changers & Increase Consumer Costs

A new study by economics professors David E. Harrington and Jaret Treber of Kenyon College entitled “Designed to Exclude: How Interior Design Insiders Use Government Power to Exclude Minorities & Burden Consumers” reveals some shocking information.

Not only is interior design legislation anticompetitive in general, but it specifically disproportionately excludes blacks, Hispanics, and midlife career-changers.

Yes, these laws are inherently discriminatory against minorities and older people.

Since minorities are 30% less likely to have college degrees than whites, they are also that much more likely to be shut out of the field.  Likewise, older designers are 12% less likely to have degrees in regulated states, so they too are more likely to be prevented from starting an interior design career later in life.

Such legislation has also been shown to result in significantly higher prices for consumers, as the lower-priced competition is simply legislated out of existence.  Design firms in regulated states have been shown to earn as much as $7,200,000 more in cities of 1,000,000 that in similarly sized cities in states that do not regulate the practice of interior design.

Which is pretty much what we’ve said all along – that the goal of such legislation is to shut out the competition, and will result in increased prices for consumers – and not-so-coincidentally, considerably higher salaries for the few who can meet the requirements – or who are allowed to.

Which is certainly nice work if you can get it, and I’ve got nothing against people earning more money if they are capable of doing so honestly, but shutting out competition by legislating it out of existence, particularly when that legislation clearly discriminates disproportionately against minorities and mid-life career changers, and that there is no valid and documentable other reason is just plain abuse of the legislative system.

Good old supply and demand economics dictates that if you decrease the supply of providers, and the demand for services remains the same, then the prices are just going to go up – which is bad news for most consumers, particularly in this recessionary economy.

Because of the effects of grandfathering, the apparent effects on wages are also likely diluted and thereby understated.  Having a degree also correlates positively with higher wages, at the expense of experience.  This means that even designers with little or no experience but who do have a degree in design could command higher fees than those who actually have the practical experience required to really excel in this field!  In unregulated states, experience counts for more than it does in regulated states, and formal schooling for less.

The costs to entrepreneurs is likewise dramatically higher in regulated states than in those that do not control the practice of interior design.

Furthermore, this study also documents the problematic effects (and attendant costs) of the loss of variety of points of view and styles, and limitations on consumer choice that regulation brings.  Given the diversity of the population as a whole, especially across racial and ethnic lines, and the accompanying range of preferences, it’s important to ensure that designers who cater to unusual and different tastes will be around to serve these groups.

Regulation, as it turns out, also encourages designers to cater more to the tastes of the masses than to different niches, which can only result in a loss of variety and richness in options and spaces.  In a field that is supposed to be all about creativity and options, it would be a tragedy to so restrict the range of options that are available to consumers who are not interested in the status quo.  Uniformity is not an asset in a creative field.

Sadly, this sort of limitation could easily expand if the schools become set up as the sole arbiters of taste and style, which a system of mandatory regulation only encourages.

I saw it myself in my own design school training – we were not only not encouraged to develop our own individual styles, but we were actually penalized if what we produced differed too much from what the instructors’ and the institutions’ tastes and styles were.  The result can be an absolute crushing of a student’s own inherent taste and style, and stifling of creativity, failure to teach how to build on what’s working or to develop any different ideas, etc.  I had to fight hard to break away from that stifling little box and to put it in its place as just another tool I can now draw on now, instead of letting it turn into the sole dictator of what is right and correct, or appealing.  I learned a lot of value in design school – but encouragement and development of my own creativity and ideas was certainly not part of their agenda, and not part of the skill set it helped me develop.  The net result is that design (and architecture) schools tend to crank out students whose work all bears a striking similarity to the work of all other students.  The schools each have their own “look”, and heaven help the student who wants to do anything else.

Please read this excellent study, which draws its conclusions from reputable and readily available data sources, specifically the National Census, obituaries, and others, and from rigorous statistical analysis of the data.


September 1, 2009 Posted by | Institute for Justice, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Florida Governor Signs Bill Regarding Foodservice Dealers and Kitchen Design

Another nail in the coffin of anticompetitive interior design legislation in Florida.  As noted, legislation of this nature is likely to have broad implications for designers of professional kitchens throughout the country if they are not licensed interior designers, and bodes well for complete overturn of the Florida practice act (see further information on the preliminary injunction regarding title act provisions here).

By extension, recognizing that the design of complex facilities such as commercial kitchens do not require any sort of licensing is likely to have further positive implications for aborting, overturning, and preventing passage of other anticompetitive interior design laws in other states as well.

From Foodservice Equipment and Supplies Magazine:

“Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a bill into law which exempts foodservice equipment dealers from long-standing legislation that prohibited them to design commercial kitchens. The proposed bill, which was passed by the Florida House of Representatives in Early May, included an amendment to allow dealers, as well as foodservice equipment manufacturers and their reps, to continue designing or aiding in the design of commercial kitchens in Florida as they have done so, but now on a legal basis.

Before Gov. Crist signed the bill, in Florida, only certified interior designers were legally able to design commercial kitchens. ”

Read the rest of this article at http://www.fesmag.com/article/CA6666271.html?nid=3454&rid=12726435

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Florida | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FL Barred From Enforcing Title Law Provisions!

Florida judge defends designers’ First Amendment rights! This is yet the latest example of the courts upholding our right to call ourselves interior designers without restriction, and to freely advertise exactly what we do. The dominos are falling one by one, but more and more quickly now. Spread the word!


From Clark Neily of the Institute for Justice:

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

Great news in the Florida interior design case! Yesterday Judge Hinkle entered a preliminary injunction order ordering the State Board to stop enforcing the title provisions of Florida’s interior design law. I have attached a copy of the order, but here’s what this means in practical terms:

  • Anyone who is lawfully performing interior design services in Florida may now use the terms “interior designer,” “interior design,” “space planning,” etc. to describe themselves and their work. There is no requirement to preface those terms with the word “residential.”
  • While the order is en effect, the State Board may not proceed with any enforcement action that have already been commenced.

  • Technically, this is not a final order, and it could be withdrawn by the judge at a later date. Given the particular facts of this case, however, I consider that extremely unlikely, nor would it happen overnight. Bottom line, we are telling people that while there is a possibility that the order could be withdrawn, the odds of that happening appear very small.

  • The order does not affect the practice-related restrictions of Florida’s interior design law, which means that non-licensees are still limited to performing residential interior design services only. We will now turn our attention to the law’s practice restrictions, which will be a more challenging — but very exciting — effort.
  • We encourage all of you to publicize this development through whatever networks or contacts you might have… But in terms of telling people informally about the injunction order and what it means, please don’t hold back — it’s important that we get the word out about this far and wide.

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Here’s the text of the actual order:

(You can also find the order as a PDF here. Please forward it far and wide.)

Case 4:09-cv-00193-RH-WCS Document 32 Filed 08/07/2009 Page 1 of 2
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Tallahassee Division
EVA LOCKE, et al.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
JOYCE SHORE, et al.,
Defendants.
Civil Action No.
4:09cv193-RH/WCS
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the parties’ Agreed Motion For
Preliminary Injunction. Upon consideration of the motion and the representations of
counsel and it appearing to the Court that the Motion is well taken,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED THAT:
1. The First Amendment protects people’s right to speak truthfully about services
they lawfully perform. This includes advertising that uses terms that accurately describe
services a person legally provides and that accurately describe the person providing those
services.
2. Under Florida law, anyone may perform residential interior design services
without being licensed by or registered with the state. Accordingly, the plaintiffs and
other nonlicensees may lawfully perform residential interior design services in Florida,
and they have a right under the First Amendment to advertise those services using terms
that accurately describe themselves and the services they lawfully provide.

Case 4:09-cv-00193-RH-WCS Document 32 Filed 08/07/2009 Page 2 of 2
3. In light of the foregoing, the defendants and their officers, agents, servants,
employees, and attorneys, and other persons who are in active concert or participation
with them,(1) are hereby enjoined from enforcing the statutory restrictions on the use by
unlicensed or unregistered individuals who lawfully practice interior design of the
specific statutory terms in Fla. Stat. §§ 481.223(1)(c) and 481.229(6)(a) and any other
“words to that effect” to truthfully describe themselves and the services they lawfully
provide.
4. This agreed injunction shall remain in effect until further order of the Court,
and it is expressly understood and acknowledged by the parties that (a) the order applies
to disciplinary actions already commenced or that could have been commenced by the
Board of Architecture and Interior Design; and (b) the Board may not take action against
any person for actions taken in accordance with the agreed injunction order while it was
in effect, even if the order is later withdrawn or dissolved.
SO ORDERED on August 7, 2009.
s/Robert L. Hinkle
United States District Judge

(1) The parties’ agreed preliminary injunction would also enjoin “potential ‘affected
persons’ under Fla. Stat. § 481.223(3)(a)&(b).” They cite no authority for enjoining
nonparties in addition to those listed in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d)(2). This
order tracks the rule. Except for this change, this order is the same as proposed by the
parties.

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

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Florida, Institute for Justice | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Help for Victims of Florida’s Witch Hunt

Help for victims of Florida’s WITCH HUNT!

Interior Design Protection Council
Legal assistance!

Over the last year, many designers who live or provide services in Florida have contacted me for a legal recommendation to understand and defend against the Board of Architecture and Interior Design (BOAID) disciplinary actions (a.k.a. “the witch hunt”).  Regrettably, I did not personally know of an attorney who had expertise in regulatory proceedings and was unable to give a referral.

Well, I am delighted to tell you that is no longer the case!  I have been contact by a Florida attorney with many years of extensive experience in interior design regulatory laws and procedure.  She knows Statute 481 and the DBPR inside and out.

And she wants to help! She does not agree with the BOAID’s very broad interpretation of the statute.  She is offering representation to persons targeted by the BOAID on a cost-only basis and instead will seek legal fees via statute from BOAID (which really should be held liable for paying fees for defense of their unfair “enforcement” activities).

As you may be aware, most people accused of unlicensed interior design activity either resolve it by attending the “probable cause” hearings and signing an affidavit admitting guilt and accepting cease-and-desist orders, or they hold out until after an administrative complaint is filed and then settle, paying a fine of something less than the $5000 threatened by the Board, even though they do not agree than they have violated any laws.

We believe more harm than good may come from the accused attending these probable cause proceedings without expert, experienced legal representation.  First, the cease-and-desist orders that the board routinely issues in lieu of a finding of probable cause are not subject to dispute at a hearing through the Florida Administrative Procedures Act (see section 455.228, F.S.) and future “violation” of a C&D can lead to a heavier second penalty.  Although the designers who do not appear will most likely be issued an administrative complaint, the complaint certainly can be challenged. The BOAID would have to prove their accusations at an administrative hearing through clear and convincing evidence.   How many victims of this witch hunt “knowingly” violated the statute?  The BOAID ignores that crucial element.

Moreover, if an “improvident finding of probable cause” is found in response to the complaint, it is possible that the defendant could require that the agency/board pay attorneys fees and costs (see section 57.111, F.S.).   Interestingly, if you perform a search on the Division of Administrative Hearings website (www.doah.state.fl.us) which is where disputed complaints would be adjudicated, you will see that the BOAID has not actually gone to hearing on an administrative complaint against a designer since the 1990s, and then the cases involved only disputed licensure denials.  Instead, the board routinely “helps” people into compliance with some pretty stiff fines and costs. Or they “help” them become compliant by telling them they can avoid a fine if they just sign an affidavit admitting guilt and promising not to do it again.  What they don’t tell them is that the admission of guilt becomes public domain, and any client or potential client using an internet search engine (like Google) will see their Florida record for years, perhaps a lifetime.  This result of the witch hunt is just one more way that the Florida cartel places “unlicensed” designers at an unfair competitive disadvantage.

Since there are not many attorneys willing to actually challenge them, the BOAID makes a ton of money this way.  Most lawyers without administrative agency experience are not familiar with regulatory law or procedures, so even when respondents have legal representation, some of the professional boards are able to get away with very iffy procedural practices.

This intimidation must STOP NOW!
If you or someone you know has been issued a cease and desist, please tell them to contact me at pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org and attach a copy of the cease and desist order, and I will be happy to answer any questions and put them in touch with this attorney.

IDPC is pleased to be involved in putting yet one more nail in IDAF’s coffin.  Click here to read how we’ve helped the Florida design community over the last year.

Please show your support for IDPC’s work by becoming a member or by making a donation of your choice.

Best regards,

signature
Patti Morrow
Executive Director
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July 1, 2009 Posted by | Florida | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Why Design Legislation is Bad for Students

Laws regulating the practice of interior design and restricting it to those who have met the pro-legislation cartel’s narrow standards are not in the best interests of the profession as a whole, and particularly not those of current or future students.

According to renowned kitchen design expert Dr. Phyllis Markussen, CKE, CBE, who is a professor of Family Studies and Interior Design at the University of Nebraska, interior design legislation could have a significantly negative effect on interior design students, because the one path route to practice that would result would “effectively ‘dumb down’ the educational programs by creating too-rigid guidelines”.

It is advantageous in academia to provide a “system-approached” education, bringing in a range of other disciplines to help provide students a “broader, more global perspective”. To restrict the practice of interior design to those who have graduated only from CIDA-accredited schools (which do not even include some of the most prestigious schools of design in the country, such as Parsons), would eliminate that opportunity by “…[narrowing] the approach with a single educational experience”.

In addition to homogenizing the educational offerings, specialization could be restricted as well, which could result in a shortage of designers to meet the needs in any given state. This is also because there simply won’t be enough qualified designers around to shepherd the students through the state-mandated process to being able to practice independently.

According to AICAD (Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design), “We need multiple pathways into creative fields due to their varied and dynamic natures… Society does not benefit by a narrowing of access to creative fields. ”

Far more schools are not CIDA-accredited than are, which would result in CIDA having a virtual monopoly on interior design education, with zero evidence that the CIDA schools have any better record of preparing students than any other programs. A situation such as this would not benefit anyone but those CIDA-approved, programs and the various organizations that support them.

The effects on other academic institutions are readily obvious – the net result would be discrimination against community colleges in particular, and their student bodies.

In addition, if there aren’t enough jobs for students when they graduate (and there already aren’t, particularly thanks to the present economy), then demand for these programs will decrease, which in turn will force a number of colleges and universities to restrict *all* of their offerings. Some programs will have to shut down altogether, leaving existing students high and dry, and effectively eliminating interior design as a career option at all for many who would have otherwise chosen this path.

Finally, and most importantly, students are being fed a line that they will not be able to practice what they are trained to do without design legislation, but a simply look at the present realities will show that to be untrue. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of interior designers are not licenced/registered/certified, even in states that do have some form of either practice or title act, and yet they are still working and still getting their projects built, the same as they always have.

As I wrote in my post “It Doesn’t Involve Me – Or Does It?”:

It is not illegal to practice interior design now in any state except the three in which the ASID-led cartel have managed to pass legislation that makes it illegal to do so without a license. They claim that the IBC makes it illegal, but it patently does not. What it does is leave the decision up to each jurisdiction, and most places and code officials have no desire to restrict the practice of interior design any more than it already is limited by architectural laws, or to regulate it. Read the code yourself – it’s on page 41. If what we do becomes illegal, it will only be because ASID and their cohorts will have made it that way.

Interior design legislation has been proven over and over again to be a solution in search of a problem. If passed, it will only create the very problem it claims it will prevent. In states that do not presently have any category of “registered design professional”, legislation will create that category – and then restrict the practice of design to those that hold those credentials, where it has never been restricted before.

Do not be misled into believing their scare tactics telling you that you won’t be able to practice what you’re learning now in school, because it’s simply not true. The only way that will happen is if they make it happen. And this is supposed to be protecting you?

Over and over again, this issue has been pointed out to the prolegislation cartel – and in front of legislators, who have been shown the actual code wording, as it’s been pointed out to the cartel people at the same time – and yet these people persist in repeating this blatant untruth, and particularly using it to frighten students into thinking they have no choice but to support legislation, when nothing is actually further from reality.

IDPC puts it most succinctly: “The IBC (Sec. 106.1) does NOT require that all construction documents be prepared by registered design professionals. What it actually says is the following: [C]onstruction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed.” (emphasis added). The IBC defers completely to state law as to whether or not construction documents must be prepared by an architect or an engineer or may be prepared by anyone else including interior designers.”

And now, with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh scandal, we see again the lengths to which these people will go in order to accomplish their ends – faculty members of a design school coercing students into supporting the pro-legislation agenda whether they wanted to or not by giving an extra credit assignment that only offered credit to those who wrote to their legislators to support legislation, and no credit at all to those who wrote to oppose it.

Students, if legislation is brought into academia at all, you deserve an education that teaches you how to research all sides of the issue and make decisions like this for yourself. You deserve as much credit for your work in doing this and opposing legislation, if that is how you feel, if such an assignment is given, as any student who chooses to support it. For an instructor to coerce students into supporting his or her own political ends or risk their grade and academic standing is a violation of academic integrity and standards that is utterly shameful.

This is only one case that we know about. It’s anyone’s guess how many other instructors or schools might be doing the same thing, or something similar.

And you should be asking yourselves, is this what you want your tuition and tax dollars to be funding?

If you don’t already know how to research and evaluate both sides of an issue that is going to dramatically affect you and your future, then you deserve to be taught how to do so, not be railroaded into one point of view or the other like this. You do not deserve to be used as pawns.

It is just flat out unfair and unethical to put students in a position like this where they may have to choose between their own values and their academic standing, and if you are not outraged by this, you should be.

June 23, 2009 Posted by | ASID, Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), ncidq certification licensing, Nebraska, NKBA, Pennsylvania, Students | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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.

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

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

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

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