It’s not over until. . . well, you know.
Today the Institute for Justice has filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to appeal the decision of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and attempt to overturn Florida’s unconstitutional interior design law. This is an important case in the defense of free speech.
“Virtually everything an interior designer does—from consulting with clients about their personal tastes, to making design drawings, to giving advice—is just speech,” said IJ Senior Attorney Clark Neily in today’s press release. “The First Amendment prohibits the government from requiring aspiring interior designers to get a license before they can offer harmless advice to their customers.”
“IDPC attorney, Robert Kry, will be filing another amicus brief on behalf of the Interior Design Protection Council in support of the Institute for Justice petition,” said Patti Morrow, director of IDPC. “Florida’s anti-competitive, unnecessary interior design law cannot stand. We will do everything possible to support IJ’s efforts to re-establish freedom to design in Florida.”
Amended Bill Belies ASID's Claims
As we have been saying all along, if deregulated, everyone in the design community would be able to (1) offer commercial interior design services and (2) submit documents for pulling permits which do not impact structure or lifesafety.
ASID and their puppet coalition, IDAF, have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and mobilized their large grassroots to try to counter the fact that deregulation will open new job opportunities in Florida and end the monopoly.
We’re right. They’re wrong. Period.
Take a look at the amended version of HB 5005, as agreed to at conference last Saturday. The bill (amendment language submitted by the NKBA approx. a month ago) now includes definitions of interior design and outlines what is legal to perform. Anyone who can read and comprehend English can see that deregulation will NOT prevent those currently licensed from doing commercial work or from submitting plans (albeit without a seal) for permitting. This is in agreement with the Florida Building Code which states that an architect is only needed if the lifesafety is impacted — even those currently licensed cannot do that type of work now.
The amended bill takes a last whack at ASID’s blatant and deliberate effort to hoodwink legislators. Their argument has no life.
However. . . .
Due to some really bizarre in-house politics in Tallahassee right now, we have no idea how this will be voted on later today.
Stay tuned. . .
INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE
On Tuesday, April 26, it was reported that the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the International Interior Designers Association (IIDA) sent a joint letter to President Haridopolos and Speaker Cannon regarding the proposal to repealFlorida’s interior design law. The letter is largely fictitious and, as usual, provides no supporting data or references.
We believe that important policy decisions should not be made on the basis of unsubstantiated assertions or outright falsehoods. Accordingly, the Institute for Justice offers this response to the ASID/IIDA letter, complete with supporting data from which readers may draw their own conclusions. (A copy of this statement, with hyperlinks, is available at www.ij.org/ijresp_ASID_April26letter.)
ASID/IIDA Claim: “Currently interior designers are not required to be licensed by the state and are part of an already unregulated profession.”
Response: This claim is demonstrably false and contradicts ASID’s own statements in federal court.
- Florida Statute § 481.223(1)(a) states that a person may not “[p]ractice interior design unless the person is a registered interior designer . . . .” Violation of that provision is a crime punishable by up to one year in prison.
- The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website has a page that asks “What services require a state of Florida license? Interior Designers.” It goes on to explain that “If you are going to hire someone to design the interior of a commercial structure he/she needs to be licensed.
- In a brief submitted to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010, ASID described the issue as whether “Florida’s ban on the unlicensed practice of non-residential interior design” violates the U.S. Constitution and concluded by arguing that “Florida has a legitimate constitutional right to mandate that only a licensed interior designer . . . be permitted to practice interior design.”
- The Board of Architecture and Interior Design has pursued disciplinary actions against more than 600 people and businesses for providing or offering to provide “interior and commercial design services” without a license and advises people that “only persons or firms licensed by the State of Florida may engage in the . . . activities” of “offering interior and commercial design services.”
ASID/IIDA Claim: “Deregulation will eliminate commercial interior designers and create a monopoly for design services.” “ [R]egistered designers . . . will no longer be allowed to sign and seal construction documents.”
Response: This claim is grossly misleading because it fails to provide necessary context.
- Under current Florida law, interior designers are not authorized to sign and seal construction documents that affect structural, mechanical, ingress/egress, or other “lifesafety” systems. Construction documents that do not affect lifesafety systems do not have to be sealed by an architect, engineer, or other building professional and may be submitted by non-licensed persons at the discretion of local building officials.
- Notably absent is any context or support for the tacit assertion that the livelihoods of commercial designers depend significantly on their ability to stamp and seal construction documents. In reality, interior designers are rarely called upon to sign and seal construction documents for permitting purposes on commercial projects.
- Any concerns about the ability of interior designers to sign and seal construction documents can easily be addressed by other means than occupational licensure. Such language has been provided to the Legislature and could easily be implemented with support from ASID and IIDA, which they have so far withheld, presumably because their true concern is not signing and sealing construction documents but maintaining their government-backed monopoly on commercial design services inFlorida.
ASID/IIDA Claim: “Deregulation will cost Florida businesses tens of millions of dollars in increased costs to the consumer and lost revenues to the state” and “Florida businesses will suffer by paying an additional $50 million per year due to the elimination of competition for interior design.”
Response: These figures appear to be entirely made up.
- In contrast, a study performed by economists at KenyonCollegecalled Designed to Exclude concluded that interior design regulations drive up prices, limit choices for consumers and disproportionately exclude minorities and older, mid-career switchers from the interior design field.
- The number of state-licensed interior designers inFloridahas been steadily diminishing; the current figure provided by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is 2,560 active registrations out of more than 5,800 that have been issued since 1994. The Department reports that approximately 60% of those 2,560 interior designers were grandfathered-in and do not possess the requisite statutory credentials for licensing.
- Eliminating unnecessary statutory prerequisites for practicing interior design—prerequisites that most state-licensed interior designers do not even possess themselves—will expand opportunities and enable all interior designers to compete on a level playing field, just as they do in the 47 states that do not license the practice of interior design.
The letter submitted by ASID and IIDA to President Haridopolis and Speaker Cannon contains demonstrable falsehoods and unsupported assertions. We hope and expect that these groups will be asked to explain their misrepresentations and document their assertions and that their credibility will be judged according to the response they give—or fail to give.
Another nail in the Florida Cartel’s coffin!
As you know, one of the FL cartel’s many scare tactics has been their assertion that only licensed designers are insurable. Well, this too has been disproved – see letter from Suncoast Insurance.
Other FL cartel myths that have been disproved:
- Interior design licensure protects the public. Disproved here and here.
- Only architects will be able to practice commercial design. Disproved here and here.
- Deregulation will cause the current licensed designers to lose work. Truth — only if their work is inferior (here).
- The current law in Florida is a voluntary licensing program – no one is forced to become licensed. Disproved here.
- Regulation creates jobs (no — it restricts competition; deregulation opens new job opportunities).
- 26 states believe the safety their residents requires that interior designers be regulated. Disproved by Institute for Justice here.
- Regulation offers consumers more choices (wrong… the Federal Trade Commission concluded that regulation raises consumer costs and provides fewer choices.
- Colleges will close if deregulation occurs (47 other states with some of the finest interior design colleges in the country haven’t closed — in fact, enrollment has been up in recent years)
- Students degrees will be worthless (students attend college for an education, not for licensure; among other benefits, their degree provides them with a leg-up on competition right from the start)
- Students will not be able to pay off their school loans (right now, they can only work for the 2,500 licensed interior designers; if deregulated, they will be able to work for many thousands of other designers or start their own business. The result is more opportunities for employment/entrepreneurship will facilitate paying off school loans faster).
As long as ASID/IDAF continue to make their blatantly false statements, IDPC will be right there to hammer out the TRUTH!
Please support our crusade to pound out anti-competitive interior design regulations!
YES WE CAN!
22 major organizations have formed a coalition to support deregulation on behalf of well over 100,000 Floridians who would benefit from a repeal of Florida’s interior design practice act.
Click here for Coalition Letter sent to Senate President Haridopolos.
Liberty vs License
Florida is ground zero for dergulation of anti-competitive interior design licensing. “This law has got to go,” says Clark Neily, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice.
If you missed this segment on Fox Business last night, you can view the clip here: http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/freedom-watch/index.html#/v/4654146/license-to-decorate/?playlist_id=157991
An April 18th Tea Party Review magazine article came out in support of the popular opinion that the interior design deregulation issue is a litmus test for genuine commitment to limited government and economic opportunity versus special-interest politics as usual.