Interior Design Protection Consulting

October 30, 2013

Minnesota Practice Act

roadblockIDPC has been in Minnesota this week, lobbying and testifying against the practice act.  In addition to my testimony on behalf of my six trade association clients, there was also compelling testimony from the NKBA, AIA, IJ, students and an interior design professor.

But our best assistance actually came from the lead-off testimony from the cartel (the president of MIDLAC).  Terrible!!!  She rambled on for 20 minutes, basically saying nothing of importance, not showing any need for the bill, and main point was they’re the only ones in the built environment who isn’t licensed.  Yeesh!  Get over yourself!  That’s not a reason to enact a new law that would put so many designers out of business.

It appeared that most of the Committee agreed with our position — four Representatives questioned the bill sponsor (Rep. Hilstrom) at the end of the hearing, and all questions clearly made it clear they had not been convinced there is a need for licensing.

I think we put this puppy to bed for now, but as usual, I’m sure we’ll see it again next year.

May 8, 2013

SC Cartel Gets Thwarted…Again

shoot in foot

The Senate hearing today on SB 339 practice act went very well, much like the previous hearing in the House.  The Subcommittee’s decision was that the bill was going to be “held in Subcommittee,” which usually means it will not receive a favorable vote to move on to the full committee.

This was the outcome we were looking for, and I don’t believe this bill will get any further consideration this year.  Because this is year one of the two-year session, the bill could technically be revived next year, in spite of IDPC client’s opposition (DSA, DDI, FEDA, FCSI, NAFAM, MAFSI) and  that of the NKBA, AIA, NFIB, Lowes, and Retailers Assoc.  However, as I’ve stated so many times, you just never know what can happen in the legislature, so rest assured, I will stay on top of this and any other practice acts that would restrict freedom to design.

As I’ve said time and time again, the Cartel never misses an opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot.  I never cease to be amazed at how incredibly dense they are in sticking to bogus talking points that have previously been thoroughly debunked.  At the House hearing just two weeks ago, I systematically discredited several of their misleading, rhetorical statements with actual, verifiable facts and empirical evidence.  And yet, the first person testifying on behalf of the proponents today spewed forth the exact same false statements, even though she’d seen me in the room and should have known I was going to provide rebuttal testimony again.  Which of course I did, with the Subcommittee’s full, undivided attention (and subtle approval).  When I heard the exact same misinformation come forth in that very first testimony, I could not help but sit in my seat with a grin from ear to ear – it was like a gift from Heaven!

As in the last hearing, when questioned by the subcommittee, the Cartel stuttered and stumbled trying to justify their positions and opinions.

I did have an opportunity to speak with the stand-in Chair of the Subcommittee for a while after the hearing.   I was able to give him even more facts and data to support our free market position.  We chatted about the role of the state legislature, which is NOT to tell consumers who they can hire to design the interiors of their businesses or homes, and he requested that I send him a one-pager that he can post on his website.

I will continue to keep tabs on South Carolina, but for now I believe we can put this puppy to bed, and I can move on to the protecting the next states on my plate.

Patti Morrow signature

April 26, 2013

SC Interior Design Practice Act Tabled!

celebrate1Practice Act Not Well-Received

The hearing on HB 3417 licensure practice act was held Thursday, April 25th before the SC House Labor, Commerce & Industry Subcommittee.

Our opposition were outnumbered a bit by the cartel, but that didn’t matter whatsoever because (1) our grassroots letter writing campaigns were very effective, and (2) our testimonies against licensure were strong, factual and well-delivered.

Among those testifying to protect the rights of the interior design community were:

Ed Nagorsky representing the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc. (NKBA)

Adrienne Montare representing the American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Patti Morrow/IDPC representing

  • Designer Society of America (DSA)
  • Decorating Den Interiors (DDI)
  • Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association (FEDA)
  • Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI)
  • Manufacturers Agents’ Assoc. of the Foodservice Industry (MAFSI)
  • No. American Assoc. of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)

As usual, the proponents’ arguments were feeble and filled with unsubstantiated rhetoric and misinformation.  The Committee obviously recognized this and treated them at times with disdain, from aggressively questioning them for statistical data to back up their claims, to joking in a way very mocking to them.

The Committee ultimately voted to “adjourn debate.”  While technically the Committee does have the ability to discuss the legislation later in private, we policy wonks know that this is the “politically correct” way they kill a bill, by letting it languish in Committee.  In fact, the last thing said was admonishing from a Committee member to the proponents that the bill could be brought back next year if  “the sides get together” and agree.

Yeah.  Like THAT’S going to happen.  IDPC et al/NKBA/AIA all vehemently oppose regulating the industry.

So at least for now, I am confident that the cartel’s effort to impose anti-competitive licensing in South Carolina will not reach fruition.

And yet…. the ASID Carolinas and SCIDC sent out a joint newsflash claiming “a win,”  which has sent those of us who attended the hearing howling with laughter.  Seriously folks,  I could not make this up.  They are either delusional or unable to grasp the political system.  I know not which.

If this is a “win,” I hope that the design cartel has many more “wins” like this in the future.

Patti Morrow signature

January 29, 2013

2013 Interior Design Legislative Outlook

Another year over.  Another year of success kicking the Interior Design Cartel’s butt.

21 bills and other efforts to expand or increase interior design regulations crossed my desk in 2012.  Once again, no new title or practice laws were enacted.  The good guys are still winning.  The roadblocks to ASID’s monopoly are still working.

But like zombies, these bills will not stay dead.  It’s only January and nine bills have already been introduced.  It’s going to be another busy year, but if the not-too-bright cartel want to keep wasting their time and spending their money on high-priced lobbyists instead of using their time and money in a more wise manner — say, for educating the public and promoting their own members — then so be it.

I’m ready for them.  Our coalition of freedom fighters is intact and stand ready to fight the onslaught of anti-competitive regulation.

If you’d like to donate to help our efforts and protect your right to practice, you can do so on this page:  http://www.idpcinfo.org/Sponsorship.html

July 2, 2012

Louisianna Interior Design Law: NOT NEEDED!

Check out this great article by Robert Edwin Burns in the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE!

http://theadvocate.com/news/opinion/3216298-123/letters-interior-design-board-unneeded

June 8, 2012

South Carolina Practice Act is Dead!

Another one bites the dust!  This year’s effort by the SC Cartel to impose a practice act that would harm the overwhelming majority of people who offer design services has been squelched!

Special thanks to my colleagues Adrienne Montaire (AIA) and Lynn Stokes-Murray (NKBA lobbyist) for helping to keep the bill from getting any legs.   I am tentatively planning to work with Ed Nagorsky (NKBA) and Adrienne and Lynn again this fall, doing a series of town hall meetings in several South Carolina locations, to prepare for the inevitable return of the interior design bill next session — either in the current form, or mimicking the format of the music therapy bill to go before consumer protection.

Patti Morrow signature

March 19, 2012

Sacramento Bee Throws Baby Out With Bath Water on Interior Design Bill

On March 19th, in his Sacramento Bee op ed column, License bill cuts down competition Dan Walters appears to have done something no one else has ever done.

Congratulations, Dan – you have managed to tick off interior designers in favor of licensing AND those against it.

While I agree wholeheartedly with Walters’ overall judgment that licensing of interior designers is anticompetitive and unnecessary, and drives up costs to consumers I was appalled by his disparaging, belittling, inaccurate stereotyping of the entire interior design industry.

The reason that interior designers “like to call themselves” that is because it accurately describes what they do.   Interior decorating and interior design are not necessarily interchangeable, although design services can and frequently do include decorating.

And categorizing interior design as a “marginal profession” is just plain insulting and did nothing to further his position.

The Walters piece is just one of several similar articles that have been published in the past few years in direct response to pending legislation – and the industry can thank the ASID Cartel for that…

In their efforts to so-call “professionalize the industry,” the Cartel has accomplished the direct opposite.  Their absurd assertions like “every decision an interior designer makes affects the health and safety of the public,” or their unending scare tactics that the use of the wrong fabrics in hospitals could spread infection contributing to 88,000 deaths every year, flammable carpets spark infernos, porous countertops spread bacteria; jail furnishings being turned into weapons”[1] do nothing but make the industry fodder for ridicule.

It is alleged that the Cartel has spent over $7,000,000 lobbying for legislation to eliminate their competition over the past 35 years.

If they had, instead, spent that money educating the public about interior designers, their own members, and their own private certification, we would not be embroiled in the contentious turf war taking place today.

Dan – “ridiculous ideas deserve ridicule” (Christina Botteri), but please… don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.


March 12, 2012

Colorado interior design bill passes Senate, loses teeth

In a split decision, right down party lines, the Colorado Senate narrowly passed SB 120, a bill which would regulate a new title, enhance permitting privileges of only NCIDQ-certified designers, and virtually force building officials to accept their drawings.

However. . .  before passing, the Senate amended the bill, striking the words “qualified” (interior designers) and “construction” (documents) and inserted “for review” after building officials shall accept.

This change may have taken place because the proponents allegedly told the Committee that DORA (Department of Regulatory Affairs) “suggested” this approach, when in fact DORA has denied any such support.

The question of the day is, how is the amended bill any different than what is currently allowed for permitting in the existing architects’ law?  No one can seem to see what will change, making this just another frivolous and unnecessary waste of legislator time and taxpayer money.

Good grief!  There are actual REAL problems that the legislature should be focused on!

We anticipated that the bill would go to the House Economic and Business Committee, but it has instead been moved to the House Local Government Committee where efforts are underway to kill it.

If you can kill something that has no life, that is.

IDPC Joins Forces with CLCID to Stop CA Practice Act

IDCC (Interior Design Coalition of California) has once again introduced the most anti-competitive practice act legislation that we’ve seen in a while.  The 21-page AB 2482 bill will negatively impact nearly everyone in the design community who is not NCIDQ-certified – an exam that has been rejected by California and replaced by the California-specific IDEX, a more comprehensive and inclusive exam.

AB 2482 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and is currently before the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee, and will be scheduled for hearing soon.  Please note that Assemblywoman Ma sits on that Committee and will endeavor to shepherd it through.

IDPC maintains a strong partnership with CLCID (California Legislative Coalition for Interior Design) and we will be working with them, hand-in-hand as our grassroots boot-on-the-ground affiliate to STOP AB 2482 from being enacted.

I urge you to participate in this process!  Your right to earn an honest living will depend on your actions.  Take a few minutes to visit the CLCID website and become a member or benefactor.  Fighting legislation is a costly process; everyone will benefit from the defeat of AB 2482, so if everyone supports CLCID, the individual burden will be light.  Sound good?

I will be providing CLCID with ongoing bill analysis, detailed talking points, sample letters to legislators, and other important data, and they will in turn be providing that information to the California design community. I will also be coordinating with CLCID on any future lobby days, town hall meetings, and testifying at hearings.

With this team effort that includes the NKBA and other allied organizations, we will erect a strong roadblock, defeat this practice act and protect design freedom.

February 13, 2012

Oregon Practice Act Dies in Committee

Another smack-down handed to the interior design cartel.

This morning, SB 1521 was heard by the Senate General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection Committee.  We had a substantially larger turnout than the proponents – wasn’t it great that we had so many sign up to testify that time ran out before everyone got a chance?  The Committee certainly took notice, which is the reason they rushed through at the end.

The Committee said the bill “needed further study,” a.k.a. “you’re goin’ on a trip to the legislation graveyard.”  SB 1521 will not be moving out of Committee this session.  While anything (and I do mean anything) can happen in the legislature, the deadline to come out of Committee is tomorrow and it’s not on the agenda.  Furthermore, the fiscal impact report has been put on hold — another indication that the bill is dead in the water.

Among those testifying in opposition to this anti-competitive, anti-small business bill:

Me (Patti Morrow) – Interior Design Protection Consulting

Ed Nagorsky – NKBA

Cindy Roberts – AIA

Dan Curtis – FEDA

John Cornyn – FCSI

Diane Plesset – DP Design

I will continue to monitor this session.  The pro-regulation cartel seldom give up, so as implausible as that may seem right at this moment, it’s possible we may see an amended bill next year, but for this session, Oregonians can celebrate victory.

Foodservice industry attendees

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