No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

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,

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

AIP Officials Sweep Student Coercion Under the Rug

The battle over AIPs coercive assignment to lobby legislators in support of Pennsylvania HB 1521 heats up, fueled by public outrage and president George Pry and interior design department chair Kelly Spewock’s assertions that no coercion was used.

Both administrators continue to claim that students were given equal opportunity to oppose legislation and to earn equal credit for that, despite confirmations from several students who personally objected to the assignment, and the opposition movement’s receipt of a copy of the actual assignment, confirming the original allegations of instructor Laura Musulin’s clearly stated attempt to force students to support her own political agenda.

AIP claims the Institute has no official policy on the legislation, but they are clearly not ensuring that this policy is adhered to by the faculty, if it is indeed the case, and have not said they’ve done anything to correct the situation. Instead, they now state that they consider the matter closed.

This type of behavior is a serious compromise of academic integrity, regardless of the political position being promoted, and seriously calls into question whether or not such coercion may be being used with students in other disciplines, and in other institutions.

Clearly, AICAD (the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design), which is one of the most important national accrediting bodies for institutions of higher learning specializing in the arts agrees, as president Bill Barrett weighs in with his response to IDPC postings.

Could AIP lose its accreditation if they continue to show signs of supporting this kind of outrageous behavior? I would suggest that perhaps they should.

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From IDPC:

Interior Design Protection Council

AIP officials sweep interior design coercion under the [designer] rug.

In a letter responding to multiple requests from IDPC requesting action on an inappropriate assignment, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has indicated that they consider the matter resolved and are not open to further discussion.

We disagree. Click here to read press release and IDPC letters to AIP.

sweep

June 23, 2009 Posted by | Pennsylvania, Students | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Stagers Affected by Interior Design Legislation?

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

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

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Interior Design Protection Council
Yes!

Real estate/home stagers – you need to educate yourselves

Take action to protect your rights and livelihoods!

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

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

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

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

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

Patti Morrow

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

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

Please support our efforts!
Click here to become a member of IDPC.

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

Is Your Interior Designer *Really* Putting Your Life at Risk?

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Is Your Interior Designer *Really* Pu…“, posted with vodpod

Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie went looking for dead bodies, and for an explanation for why the state of Florida launched a legal case against Younts. State regulators demand that she obtain a license, a license she says she doesn’t need, a license that could cost her six years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do licensing laws protect consumers from death and destruction or, as the Interior Design Protection Council argues, do they protect licensed designers from competition? Should Younts be stripped of the career it took her decades to build? Should President Obama be worried about his interior designer, the unlicensed Michael Smith? Watch the documentary below, then you decide…

Written and produced by Ted Balaker. Director of photography is Roger Richards.

April 2, 2009 Posted by | Alabama, ASID, Florida, Georgia, Interior Design Legislation Opposition, Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), ncidq certification licensing, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Let Codes Scare You

Why the IBC is not a threat to your right to practice.

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Now that’s SCARY!

Interior Design Protection Council October 31, 2008

IBC. . .
It’s the new “HSW” flag to wrap around legislation

pirate flagBecause the resistance movement has been so successful in debunking, disproving and defeating interior design regulation based on ASID’s two past platforms (1) protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public, and (2) enhancing the stature of the profession, we are beginning to see a new tactic emerge.  It goes:

The IBC (International Building Code) allows only “registered design professionals” to prepare construction documents for building permits, and therefore interior designers are prohibited from performing their full scope of practice unless they are licensed.
We believe this will be the basis for many of the 2009 proposals to enact or expand legislation.   Don’t be alarmed!  Like the previous unsubstantiated reasons for legislation, this tactic is equally spurious and devoid of factual basis.

Please take the time to read the analysis below, so that you can continue to discredit their rhetoric by providing the truth and facts.

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 statutes of 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.

There is an important reason why all interior designers should be very scared about the IBC argument and ASID-sponsored legislation.  If ASID is to be successful in its argument, then ASID will have to shape its legislation to “require” that construction documents be prepared by a “registered” interior designer. Remember, the IBC says that construction documents shall be prepared only by a registered design professional if “required” by state law.  By placing this “requirement” in their legislation, ASID will exclude all non-licensed interior designers who don’t qualify, can’t afford to, or simply don’t want to become licensed and they will not be able to prepare construction documents.  Now that will result in only a small minority of designers having access to full scope of practice.

Of course, the extent of the “construction” is what is and should be at issue from everyone’s point of view.  Code officials are given discretion over what is and what is not in their jurisdictions.  If the documents contain plans which the construction code enforcement official deems to affect the public safety, they have every right to and should require the documents be prepared by an architect.

The essence of all of this is that as long as an interior designer’s plans meet local officials’ approvals, and the designer is not practicing architecture, we designers have nothing to worry about. . .  now.  But we will have a lot to worry about with the ASID legislation!

Citing the IBC is a red herring and a scare tactic.  Interior designers have practiced effectively without the need to be regulated for decades.  The truth is that regulation will seriously impede the ability of the overwhelming majority of non-licensed interior designers to continue earning their livelihoods.  No state now or ever has treated the kinds of interior design, space planning, materials selection and the like that most interior designers do as “architecture” because it isn’t even close to “architecture.”  It is only a very small group of interior designers who want to practice “interior architecture” independently without meeting the rigorous education, training and examination requirements that architects must meet in order to become licensed.  The existing livelihood of interior designers is not threatened by the absence of licensing, but for most interior designers their livelihoods will most certainly be threatened by licensing.

There is no empirical evidence whatsoever of interior designers having trouble preparing drawings where those are needed by the client – even in California, where the IBC issue was the main rationale behind the failed practice act earlier this year.  Simply put, this is nothing more than an attempt to scream “fire” where there is none. It is just a frantic scramble for a new argument because legislators are repeatedly rejecting their old rhetorical mainstays of “protecting the public” and “enhancing the profession.”

In summary, the true motive behind the fight for licensure and the statutory right to prepare and seal construction documents is nothing less than an attempt to circumvent the rigorous standards of architecture licensure by blurring the lines between “interior design” and “architecture” and carving “interior architecture” out of “architecture.”  Unless the improper practices of a trade or profession impact substantially on the health, safety and welfare of the public, there is no reason to create the bureaucracy and incur public costs to license its practitioners — as well as private licensure fees for the practitioners.  No one has even attempted to make the case that we interior designers pose a threat to the public, and of course they could not do so.  The unlicensed practice of architecture, including unlicensed individuals practicing “interior architecture,” will put public safety at risk.  Creating that bureaucracy and incurring those costs to license interior designers will also put the great majority of interior designers at risk of their livelihoods.

If the pro-regulation designers want to practice interior architecture, then the onus is on them to complete the education, experience and examination required to be licensed as an architect, and STOP trying to morph interior design into a profession it was never intended to be, is not wanted, and provides no benefits to designers or consumers.

Join your colleagues at IDPC as we continue to expose the rhetoric, misinformation, and blatantly false information perpetrated by the Cartel.

2009 Legislation
Are you ready to take on the boogyman… again?
According to the ASID Connex blog:
“There are currently 31 states with active legislation in progress or coming up in ’09”
As we previously predicted, this will make 2009 an unprecedented year in facing down legislation.
CockroachSince 22 states already have some type of state-imposed regulation, this means that some of these states will be victims of ASID’s incremental licensing scheme.  Like cockroaches, these bills which return year after year are difficult to kill.
Many other states that currently have NO regulation will also be facing new anti-competitive regulatory schemes.
Odds are in favor for legislation to be introduced in YOUR state.
ARE YOU PREPARED TO PROTECT YOUR

RIGHT TO PRACTICE?

Or are you going to just sit back and watch ASID and their funded-coalitions destroy your livelihood?
Do you want to fight the Cartel year-after-year, as they seek to monopolize your profession?
If not, join IDPC as we endeavor to save YOUR business!
It’s the best $100 investment you’ll ever make!

ASID Renewals
Application atrocities!
Allied members,
Have you read the renewal application? If you have, you should be VERY CONCERNED about these statements:
“By renewing my dues I agree to abide by the Society’s Bylaws and Code of Ethics, support its objectives, pay the established dues and fees, and work toward maintaining and enhancing the prestige of the interior design profession.”
Do you support their objective — legislation that does not include Allied members, who are not viewed as “professional?”  What they fail to disclose is that legislation could put you at a competitive disadvantage or even restrict your ability to practice altogether.  But don’t take our word for it, read any of the bills and see for yourself.
“Mandatory Legislative Assessment…..$15”
Even if you do not support their militant push for legislation because it would negatively impact your ability to practice and livelihood, Allied members have NO CHOICE and NO VOICE! You pay, or you’re out!
“ASID estimates that six percent of your dues are not tax deductible as a business expense because of the Society’s lobbying activities on behalf of its members.”
Exactly what lobbying activities are they engaged in that will benefit Allied members?  Certainly not lobbying to have all 50 states encumbered with regulation, the criteria for which excludes all Allied members?
“The [ASID] Foundation helps support research, scholarship, and education by supporting CIDA and others.”
And yet, ASID claims that it has no connection to CIDA…  Ludicrous!  CIDA was “established in 1970 through a joint effort of interior design organizations.” (ASID A History of the Profession) CIDA-accredited interior design programs account for only 155 of the approximately 528 total interior design programs in the U.S. (ASID Facts and Figures)  Since there is no evidence that graduates from CIDA schools are any better prepared or become more successful than those from other schools, why the bias?  Is there any doubt that ASID, CIDA and NCIDQ (incorporated in 1974 by ASID (then AID) and NSID) are working together to establish their minimum standards to practice, thereby creating a cartel?
We urge you to take a close look at the goals and practices of ASID… and then join IDPC if you want to protect your right to practice.

About Us
Interior design is a dynamic profession that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity.  ASID’s attempt to impose its one-size-fits-all occupational licensing scheme on the profession could not be more contrary to those values.
IDPC is the only national, nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to protecting the rights of honest, hard-working designers in all 50 states.
Isn’t it time for you to become active and help us resist and repeal anti-competitive, unnecessary interior design regulation?
We can’t do it alone.  We need your help to stop ASID from creating a cartel in which you will not be included.  Join us.
Happy Halloween!
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Interior Design Protection Council
91 Reserve Place
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Interior Design Protection Council

603.228.8550

In This Issue
IBC? It’s the new HSW
More 2009 legislation!
ASID Allied renewals

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October 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment