Interior Design Protection Consulting

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

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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

April 25, 2012

Misery for the California Cartel = Great news for the Freedom Movement!

AB 2482, the latest attempt by the ASID-funded California cartel to impose its anti-competitive practice act on the California design community, was pulled from the committee hearing agenda yesterday morning without getting another shot to have their misinformation presented again.

Along with my colleagues at NKBA, AIA, CLCID, and the Community Collage League — we kept the pressure on.  Combine that with the outpouring of letters from IDPC’s client trade associations and you’ve got the recipe for defeat.

The committee didn’t want to risk the fallout of a rejection, so rather than vote it down, they chose to just let it languish without further attention.  Additional work on this bill in the Assembly would be highly unlikely, given the amount of opposition and the sponsor’s inability to garner support in her own committee, let alone the rest of the Assembly.  But as you know, you just can’t predict what will happen in the legislature.  So…. I will absolutely stay on top of it and look for any movement.

For now, let’s celebrate our victory!  California is an important state, having the largest number of designers.  The CID program they have WORKS.  It’s voluntary, privately run, inclusive, tests for California codes (unlike the NCIDQ) and is not taxpayer funded.  The failed RID licensure would not have allowed interior designers to do anything more than they already enjoy doing today, i.e. they already can and do submit plans for permitting and they already can and do work on federal projects.

IIDC, ASID and IIDA are already trying to spin this defeat as a victory in accomplishing “critical initial steps in educating legislators….”  Really?  Based on the result, I’d say WE were the ones who did the better job education legislators.  They claim it was another opportunity to “advance” the profession.  Ha!  The only thing they advanced is providing another opportunity for people to mock our profession due to their absurd and unsubstantiated claims.  Sadly, they’ve done much to bring DOWN the level of respect for interior design.

ASID, time to lick your wounds and go away.  Or shall we call the waaaaaaaaambulance?

April 17, 2012

California Interior Design Practice Act “Suspended” in Committee

Earlier today, AB 2482, the latest practice act effort in California, was suspended in the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions, and Consumer to give the sponsor, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, an opportunity to try and remedy the multiple problems with the bill.

Good luck with that.

AB 2482 in its original debut was so restrictive that it would have prohibited thousands of practicing designers from working in large residential spaces and all commercial spaces unless they had a license – a formal interior design degree, an impossible internship under only a few available NCIDQ certificate holders, and passage of the NCIDQ exam which unlike the IDEX exam, is irrelevant to California codes and unduly burdensome in both cost and qualification.  The subsequent amended version of the bill was so poorly written and confusing that it had the effect of contradicting itself many times over and certainly did not lessen the restrictions that it purported to do.

IDPC on behalf of our coalition group, along with my colleagues at NKBA, AIA, CLCID, and other allied associations, spent many hours lobbying in Sacramento as well as holding town hall meetings across the state to raise awareness of the anti-competitive impact this bill would have on small business and entrepreneurs.

We have been heard.

Chairman Mary Hayashi repeatedly asked Assemblywoman Ma why the bill was necessary, where was the proof that the public health, safety and welfare was in jeopardy, and how is the expense of adding another state board justified.

Sponsor Ma had a difficult time answering those questions because as we all know, there is no justification or reason for enacting this legislation.  The blatantly false information from the testimony of the president of IDCC (the proponents of the bill) did not help to advance their cause, as that information was refuted at the hearing, as it had also before the hearing in our private meetings with individual committee members.  Among other misinformation presented by proponents, there is no federal law that requires that interior designers be licensed to bid on state projects; nor is there any requirement that designers must be “registered designed professionals” to submit plans for permitting due to IBC restrictions.  Oh, and let’s not forget the “28 states” that regulate interior design!  FALSE!

It was obvious that Assemblywoman Ma did not have the votes to move it out of committee, so instead of voting the bill down, which would have inevitably happened, Chairwoman Hayashi told Assemblywoman Ma that the bill “wasn’t ready for prime time,” and as a courtesy, allowed her to have the bill “held over” to work with the opposition.

Of course, no such thing will happen because there is no need for licensing whatsoever.  California already has a private, non-taxpayer funded, inclusive certification program through the CCIDC (California Council for Interior Design Certification); CID’s already have a stamp, and have the ability to, and currently do, submit plans for permitting (as do others who are not CID’s) so long as they are nonstructural, nonseismic.

Neither our IDPC coalition, nor my colleagues at allied organizations have any interest in “compromise” legislation; however, there is nothing to stop the sponsor from further amending the bill in a last-ditch attempt to move it out of committee.  My belief is that the bill will not move out of committee without support from our opposition – legislators are extremely reluctant to get involved in a turf war, especially with a bill that is totally unnecessary and potentially job-killing.

Special thanks to all of you who took the time to voice your opposition in writing, phone calls, personal visits to legislators and attending the hearing.

The next – and last – committee hearing is next Tuesday, April 24th, which is the last day for all bills to move from committee, and frankly, the schedule is already so full, it seems unlikely they would take up another hour and a half of committee time if the opposition is still strong.  And it will be; we are already strategizing right at this moment.

But… you just never know what can happen in the legislature, so I will keep you apprised of any new amendments and/or developments as well as any future actions needed.

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.

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