Interior Design Protection Consulting

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.


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