Interior Design Protection Consulting

April 30, 2011

Interior Design DE-regulation Stays IN Florida Budget!

shocked!We’re IN!!!   

Are you sitting down?  You might want to…

After meeting last night at 10:15, this morning at 10:00 and this afternoon at 2:00, the negotiations between Sen. Alexander and Rep. Grimsley are over.  They have reached a budget agreement and (drum roll, please)….

INTERIOR DESIGN REMAINS IN
TO BE DEREGULATED!!!

The budget bill now has a 72 hour “cooling off” period, then will be on legislators’ desks next Tuesday, for a final vote on Friday (last day of session) to confirm the budget which has now been informally agreed to by both Senate and House.

The Cartel will no doubt do everything they can to make a desperate, final attempt to get interior designers removed and save their monopoly stranglehold, but that’s highly unlikely at this juncture, as the budget should be a straight up-or-down vote, and all the “horse trading” has already been done. Still, you just never know what can happen in the legislature, so put that champagne on ice, but don’t crack it open just yet.  We’ll give you the thumbs up when all hurdles have been passed.

For all intents and purposes, it sure does look like the Good Guys have won!  Thanks for being part of our team effort — IDPC has been working on getting rid of this law since 2008, and if you have not already done so, this would be an ideal time to support our work.

I think I’m going to take the rest of the weekend off.

April 29, 2011

ASID. . . or SNL? Press conference bombs!

“It was like a Saturday Night Live skit.”

That was typical of the many comments we received regarding ASID’s flop-of-a-press-conference held in Tallahassee yesterday.  Here is a summary of the debacle.

Almost no one came out to hear what the Cartel had to say…

  • no designers other than their own cronies
  • few if any legislators
  • no mainstream news media or blogs
  • and only two local reporters, whose media decided not to run anything

In fact, the people in the conference area never even bothered to stop talking – there was so much ambient noise, one could barely hear what was being said.

Well, that would have been a blessing in disguise for the Cartel if not for the streaming video. . .

Don Davis, ASID’s national lobbyist, led the cache of Cartel speakers looking very ill at ease – probably because the audience just kept talking right over him.  In his comments, he emphasized the same falsehoods that were publicized by ASID earlier in the week.

The first was the claim that interior design regulation regulation in Florida is voluntary and that anyone who would like to do interior design may do so.  This is not true; Florida is one of only three states that have enacted a state-mandated regulatory scheme which prohibits unlicensed individuals from practicing commercial interior design.  Mr. Davis’ deliberately misleading statement and additional ASID mistruths have been thoroughly, factually, and empirically debunked in detail here.

My colleague, Clark Neily says, “If Florida’s law is indeed voluntary, that will come as a huge surprise to IJ client Barbara Gardner and hundreds of others like her who received this letter from the BOAID’s prosecuting attorney, David Minacci, advising that it is illegal to offer “interior design” and “commercial design” services in Florida and demanding that they sign an affidavit in which they agree to “refrain from offering interior design and commercial design services” without a license and swear under oath that “interior design and commercial design services have not been provided . . . without proper licensure.”  I further assume that Mr. Minacci and members of the BOAID will be investigated for their criminal conduct in making those misrepresentations to hundreds of people and businesses under color of law.

I further assume the BOAID will retract these false and misleading press releases regarding its apparently illegal enforcement action against Kelly Wearstler for ‘practic[ing] interior design in Florida without a license.’”

Mr. Davis went on to proclaim that if deregulation occurs, no one but architects would be able to practice interior design in a commercial setting or be able to pull permits for their projects.  ASID continues to perpetrate this scare tactic even after it has been totally discredited here and here.

Mr. Davis’ claim that deregulation would create a monopoly for architects is absurd.
No clear-thinking legislator is going to be hoodwinked by ASID’s bait-and-switch tactics which falsely and unsuccessfully try to portray the Cartel as the victims in a monopoly scheme.  To the contrary, what Florida has now is a state-sanctioned monopoly under which a mere 2,560 state-licensed interior designers are allowed to work in commercial spaces.  Eliminating Florida’s interior design law will enable consumers to hire whomever they wish and require interior designers to compete on a level playing field in Florida the way they do in the 47 states that do not regulate interior design.  Talented interior designers are flourishing in those states, as they will when Florida’s blatantly anti-competitive interior design law is repealed.

Alison Levy, a spokesperson for IIDA, claimed that deregulation would cost Florida consumers $51 million and result in layoffs because registered interior designers would not be able to offer commercial interior design services; however, that number appears to have been made up as she supplied not single statistic, documentation, or any verification whatsoever to support the assertion.  More importantly, it’s just not true.  Everything registered interior designers are doing today, they will be able to do if deregulated.  They will be able to practice commercial design and they will be able to submit plans (albeit without a seal, which is not necessary for non-lifesafety work under the Florida Building Code Guidebook).  Deregulation would create, not destroy, jobs, so no layoffs would occur.  Whether or not the current licensed designers actually get/keep the commercial work once fair competition is allowed will depend solely on the merit of work produced, as in the 47 non-regulated states.

Ms. Levy claimed that Florida is currently not a regulated state.  This is a serious misrepresentation of Statues 481which could have the chilling effect of leading to unlicensed practice resulting in additional disciplinary actions (in addition to the 600+ individuals who were victims of the “witch hunt”) at the hands of the BOAID’s ruthless prosecution firm.

Walter Dartland, a former employee in the Attorney General’s office was (unintentionally) hilarious!  He talked in general about consumer issues (which of course, interior design is not).  He indicated that interior designers are the functional equivalent of lawyers and should be regulated accordingly. Hmmm.  I guess he didn’t hear Don Davis’ statement that they’re not regulated…  He also railed against deregulation of movers and auto repair shops as the top recipient of consumer complaints.  That’s it.  Did ASID forget to tell Mr. Dartland the press conference was supposed to be about interior design?

Representative Van Zandt was undoubtedly the highlight of the press conference, and did the most to damage the credibility of the Cartel’s agenda to remove interior designers from the deregulation bill.

  • He went on and on about how the current regulated interior designers protect public safety, but gave no proof whatsoever – that’s because there is none, as proved here and here.
  • He mistakenly used the term interior “decorator” instead of “designer”
  • He stated there are 883 regulated firms with 11,000 employees, affecting another 46,000 jobs for a total loss of 60,000 jobs if deregulated.  Again, no proof was offered.  The truth is that those 60,000 jobs would still be viable, and in addition, hundreds of thousands more would be created by deregulation!

But by far the best of the best of Rep. Van Zandt’s belabored speech was his repeating again and again and again that registered interior designers are trained to provide interior architecture.  In fact, at one point, he said something to the effect of “if deregulated, anyone would be able to design interior architecture.”

Seriously?  As an architect of 40 years, Representative Van Zandt should know, that’s illegal in Florida!  Statutes 481.223(1)(a) says “A person may not knowingly practice architecture unless the person is an architect or a registered architect.”

With no clear coordinated talking points, and each bumbling speaker contradicting the other, as amusing as it was for the Freedom Movement, the press conference had to be excruciatingly painful for the Cartel to watch.

How could it not?

March 3, 2011

Interior design cartel about to take CONTROL of Mississippi!

THEY’RE HERE!

Yes, in YOUR state, Mississippi designers!  The ASID-led interior design cartel is about to take control of the design/building/remodeling industry.

But you can stop them if you act NOW!

H 1096, a bill which will establish REGULATION of the industry design industry is on Governor Haley Barbour’s desk.  THIS BILL NEEDS TO BE VETOED…NOW!

Call, write, email, or fax Governor Barbour and tell him:

  • This anti-competitive bill will hurt the design industry!
  • Only 10 people in the whole state qualify under the bills criteria — why should 10 people be allowed to have a government-sanctioned advantage over everyone else?
  • This bill is supported by a national bully, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) who have spent $7,000,000 lobbying for regulations to eliminate all other competition!
  • This bill will increase costs of interior design services to consumers!
  • This bill needs to be VETOED!

Contact info for Governor Barbour here: http://www.governorbarbour.com/contact/

DO IT NOW!

February 28, 2011

ASID launches full-scale assault against designers

URGENT MESSAGE TO DESIGN COMMUNITY

Please read this message in its entirety.

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has launched a full-scale assault on the interior design industry nationwide.

For over 30 years, ASID has aggressively lobbied for legislation that would effectively put the majority of hard-working designers out of business or prevent them from calling themselves “interior designers” unless they possess certain arbitrary credentials—credentials that just happen to be identical to those needed to become a “professional” member of ASID.

They claim interior design should be licensed to protect the public’s health and safety—yet there is not a shred of evidence to corroborate this claim.

In reality, this small group of industry insiders is pushing for regulation in order to eliminate much of their competition.

What is at stake is one of the most basic freedoms afforded to U.S. citizens—the right to earn an honest living.  This is an outrageous assault on economic liberty, and their efforts to cartelize the interior design industry must be stopped.

And this year, they are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to gain control.  At their Annual Legislation Symposium in Colorado last October, ASID leadership encouraged the attendees to introduce bills in all 50 states.  And that’s exactly what they’re doing.  Since January 1st, 18 bills which would impact interior designers are already in Committee or pre-filed – never have we seen so many so early.  

That’s where I come in.  My name is Patti Morrow, and I’m the director of the Interior Design Protection Council.  IDPC is the nation’s leading advocacy group protecting the rights and livelihoods of all in the interior design community.

IDPC is the spearhead of the interior design “Freedom Movement,” a collaboration of 28 national trade and stakeholder associations who work together across the country to protect design freedom.  We are on the frontlines—and we are winning, as you can see from our proven track record of success.

Since 2006, we have successfully defeated over 100 bills in 21 states that would have expanded or enacted new protectionist, anti-competitive interior design regulations that would have put interior designers and industry allies out of work.

In addition to fighting for liberty in state capitols, IDPC also trains interior designers to become activists and provides rapid and strategic response to the pro-cartel movement’s propaganda.  For example, we have issued three “white papers” that time and again are used to rebut ASID’s false claims for licensure:

I’ve also published a book, Getting Grassroots Galvanized, and my opinions have been featured in outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Reason TV, AIA The Angle, Today’s Home, Interiors and Sources, Design Trade Magazine, Window Fashion Vision, and More Magazine.  I’ve enclosed some clippings of coverage IDPC has received for you.

Indeed, ASID’s efforts have nothing to do with the public health and safety.  To the contrary, 12 government agencies have reviewed the issue and all concluded that interior design regulation would provide no additional protection to consumers beyond measures already in place.

ASID simply wants to protect themselves from competition, by passing protectionist laws that only benefit themselves.  They believe that consumers lack the ability to make informed choices about who they retain for design services.

In striking down Alabama’s Interior Design Practice Act, Justice Parker stated:

“Nor should this court embrace the paternalistic notion that the average citizen is incapable of choosing a competent interior designer without the state’s help.  The economic liberty of contract remains a protected right in Alabama, especially in a field like interior design that involves expressive activity.”

Americans are fully capable of choosing an interior designer that best suits their needs—and in an open marketplace free of unnecessary and arbitrary licensing, customers can enjoy lower costs and better interior design services.

But we need support from people like you.

As I wrote in Vision magazine, interior design is a dynamic profession that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity.  Regulation is contrary to those values and antithetical to a free market society.

It is critical that IDPC remain on the frontlines in the fight against efforts to cartelize the industry.  But to do so, we need your help.

Every day, ASID is pushing for new legislation that would put more and more interior designers out of work.  They are well-funded by their small group of industry insiders, desperate to wall-out competition.  Meanwhile, IDPC relies on the voluntary contributions of independent interior designers. 

Please support IDPC in our efforts to keep interior design free.  A contribution to IDPC is a contribution to the movement for economic liberty—the fight to restore the right to earn an honest living.  Entrepreneurism is the backbone of America’s economy, and an attempt to cartelize one industry is an attack on all.

It is the not the government’s job to protect one group of established industry-insiders from others who wish to compete.

Would you please consider supporting the Interior Design Protection Council?

For just $29 a year, you will become a member of the Interior Design Protection Council, and receive information about legislative activities across the country, and in your own state — exclusive updates, bill analysis, legislator contact information, talking points, sample letters, and free one-on-one coaching with me if you wish to testify in opposition to a bill.

http://www.idpcinfo.org/Membership.html

For an additional one-time donation of $100, $200 or more, we will provide you with free advertising on our website as well as exclusive access to additional features and materials.

http://www.idpcinfo.org/Donate.html

The Interior Design Protection Council can’t keep the interior design profession free without your support.  Please consider joining today so we can continue to achieve incredible results.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Patti Morrow signature

P.S.:  My good friend Ed Nagorsky, the General Counsel and Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Kitchen and Bath Association, had this to say about the Interior Design Protection Council:

“IDPC is the nationwide voice of the design community, seeking to protect the rights of interior designers to continue working in the profession they love without unnecessary and anti-competitive regulation which does nothing more than protects the economic self-interest of a handful of designers.

The organization has shown a light on the efforts of the interior design lobby which is trying to corner the market on interior design services and dictate who may or may not be hired by members of the public.  Its newsletters and articles have effectively and truthfully raised the awareness of the design industry to the anti-consumer legislation that the lobby is seeking to foist upon the public.”

 As I described above, IDPC is winning the fight against the pro-cartelization movement.   But we need your support to continue to be effective.  Please join us today for just $29 a   year and if you are in a position to do so, make a one-time gift of $100, $200, or even   $500.  Thank you.

http://www.idpcinfo.org/Membership.html

http://www.idpcinfo.org/Donate.html 

Fire & Ice: Rome BURNS while ASID FREEZES out competition

January 21, 2011

Interior design legislation discussion on Today’s Home

PATTI MORROW, Director of the Interior Design Protection Council, is going to be my very special guest on Today’s Home tomorrow morning at 9:00 Pacific Time/12:00 Eastern Time. Please tune in, and call with your questions (toll free, of course!)

Click here for tune in and call in structions: http://todays-home.com/

Diane Plesset, Today’s Home radio host

January 19, 2011

Interior designers and the “life safety” myth

Do unregulated interior designers jeopardize public safety?  The answer is found in this short video!

August 25, 2010

Absurd ASID link to safety in bedroom design

Another ridiculous ASID post…

In their August 20th Eye on Design newsletter, ASID gives us yet another example of their desperation to grasp at anything to try to justify their health, safety and welfare argument.  Or I should say, non-argument.

In their latest ludicrous effort, ASID advocates and links to an article which they renamed “Personal safety key to bedroom design” http://www.researchdesignconnections.com/content/evolutionary-bedroom-design-08-13-10

This article enlightens us that “it is desirable for people to feel comfortable” in their sleeping spaces.”  Wow.  Radical.

It also informs us of conclusions we could certainly never have reached via common sense without ASID’s assistance, such as people preferred their bed positioned in such a way that “allowed them to see the door.”  Very cutting edge and “evolutionary.”

But my favorite phrase was where the researchers started by saying they “found that when a window was included on the floor plan. . .”  Here’s a newsflash: windows in bedrooms are not optional; a “legal” bedroom must have not only a window, but a certain sized window, by code, to allow for egress and fire safety. 

Amazingly, even a non-NCIDQ designer knows that.

July 30, 2010

ASID Pouts Over CCIDC Board Seat

On July 20th ASID sent out a press release stating they had withdrawn from the Board of Directors of CCIDC (California Council for Interior Design Certification).  They have been at odds with CCIDC ever since California codified the IDEX exam as the qualifier for their private, voluntary Certified Interior Design process, leaving ASID’s precious-but-unpopular NCIDQ out in the cold.

What is so amusing is, how can one leave when one never joined?  CCIDC was formed by the hard work and donations of many “individual” Californians (and a few corporations), some of which were ASID members at the time, which is why there was a designated seat for ASID on the CCIDC Board, just like all the other associations whose individual members donated time and money as well.  (more…)

July 29, 2010

ASID Tennessee’s Scare Tactics for Interior Design Legislation

President’s letter just more unsubstantiated rhetoric

The president of the TN chapter of ASID recently sent a letter to their members which consisted of nothing more than name-calling, speculation and erroneous information in an attempt to scare them into supporting their restrictive practice act.

Among their absurd claims are:

  • The design community is reporting lower 1st quarter profits because architectural firms do not specify in-state providers.  What a ludicrous and unsubstantiated statement!  Profits are down for nearly everyone due to the abysmal economic conditions.  Where’s the data, statistics or empirical evidence to back up their “theory?”  Answer: there are none. (more…)
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