Interior Design Protection Consulting

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

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 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

April 15, 2011

Florida dergulation front page of the Wall Street Journal!

The Fight for Interior Design Freedom is Ground Zero in Florida

Incredible PR spotlighting the intense battle that has been going on in Tallahassee for the last month.

Campo-Flores writes about the scenarios the Cartel has “conjured:”

  • flammable carpets
  • sparking infernos
  • bacterial fabrics that will contributing to the (baseless) assertion that 88,000 deaths will occur if deregulated
  • and our all-time favorite — the totally absurd implication that without licensing, jail furnishings would be turned into weapons.

Of course, no genuine evidence or facts were given to back up any of these so-called safety issues.  That’s because none exists.

Licensed designer Michelle Earley is quoted as saying, “it only takes a couple things [sic] to go wrong for people to lose their lives.”  Same old tired scare tactics.  Ms. Earley is certainly entitled to her own opinion, but not her own set of facts.

There is not a shred of evidence that the 47 other states that do not regulate interior design have been responsible for a single interior design-related death.  In fact, 12 government agencies have concluded just the opposite:

As ususal, the Cartel cites disasters like the 1980 MGM fire as examples of “faulty interior design.”  Not mentioned in the article are the facts that the incident had nothing to do with unqualified interior designer work is completely belied by a 2005 article in the Las Vegas Review Journal, which makes clear that the primary reason why the fire spread was a combination of

(a) inadequate sprinklers;

 (b) rampant code violations; and

(c) the defective flammable adhesive used to attach ceiling tiles.

Most of the victims died of smoke inhalation, but there has been no evidence presented that the quantity or lethality of the smoke was in any way enhanced by improper decorating or design choices.

The article ends with a quote from interior designer Nancy Stehle which really says it all:  “If you’re good at what you do, you never have to be concerned.”

Why not let Florida consumers decide who they want to hire to design their commercial spaces, exactly as it’s done in 47 other states, and without any harm to the public?

Bottom line, deregulation creates more jobs, and will not require that all commercial work be done under the supervision of an architect.

Patti Morrow, Director

April 8, 2011

IDAF shoots itself in the foot… again

They never miss an opportunity…..

The Cartel’s assertion that if deregulated, only architects will be able to submit plans for permitting has been thoroughly debunked by IDPC. 

FACT:  The Florida Building Code does not require that designers be licensed in order to submit drawings.  Deregulation will make it possible so that all interior designers may, if required by a permitting body, submit plans for the issuance of a building permit for interior construction excluding design of any structural, mechanical, plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, ventilating, electrical, or vertical transportation systems or that materially affect lifesafety systems pertaining to firesafety protection such as fire-rated separations between interior spaces, fire-rated vertical shafts in multistory structures, fire-rated protection of structural elements, smoke evacuation and compartmentalization, emergency ingress or egress systems, and emergency alarm systems.

The Florida Building Code Guidebook[6] completely defers to local building authority as to whether or not construction documents must be prepared by an architect or an engineer or may be prepared by anyone else including a registered or any other interior designer.  This is exactly the procedure in 47 non-regulated states, without issue.

        Read full rebuttal here:

Well, well, well, it appears that even Janice Young, president of IDAF admits [albeit unwittingly] that IDPC is right in her April 7, 2011 update letter to IDAF supporters:

“Local building departments can also ask for additional information and documents since it is up to them (local and last prevails) to determine that what is in the document is correct, adheres to issues of life safety, and accessibility and will produce a safe interior environment that will be appropriate for their community and citizens. They get the last word OVER the statutes and the code as long as they ask for MORE not less than the Codes dictate.” (emphasis added)

Thank you, Janice.  This is exactly what we have been saying, and is the procedure by which 47 states practice commercial interior design very nicely without governmental interference.

Why should Florida be any different?  We can’t think of a single, legitimate reason.

Patti Morrow, IDPC Director

April 7, 2011

ASID’s Big FAT Lies – Assault on Florida design freedom

ASID’s Big FAT Lies

The American Society of Interior Designer is continuing its full-scale assault on the interior design community nationwide.  This week, ASID produced a video in support of their monopoly death-grip on Florida designers; the video disingenuously, dishonestly, and without a shred of substantiation, states that deregulation of Florida’s interior design licensing scheme will result in current licensed designers losing their jobs to architects.

Read details here:

April 5, 2011

Student indoctrination rampant in Florida

Attention Florida Interior Design Students!

Will deregulating interior design allow ONLY architects to do commercial design?

In a word. . . NO!

The statement that deregulating designers will mean that only architects can do design work in commercial spaces is nothing more than a deliberate attempt by ASID and their puppet coalition IDAF to mislead their members, the design community, legislators, and students, in a planned effort to confuse them as to the true purpose of the bill.  No one, other than ASID/IDAF, says that the law will limit the ability of designers to work and seek jobs.  The entire purpose of deregulation is to remove barriers to entry, reduce unnecessary governmental regulations which hinder small businesses and entrepreneurs from starting or expanding their businesses, encourage new businesses to grow and hire, and provide consumer choice. 

What ASID/IDAF has done is take the language of the bill regarding the definition of “architecture” and taken words out of context, while ignoring the full language of the definition, to claim that if architects are the only ones left in the architecture law, that means that no one else can do work in commercial spaces.  That’s not what the law says, that is not what AIA says, that is not what the bill sponsor says, that is not what the Building Officials Association of Florida says, that is not what the Florida Engineering Society says, and that is not what is contained in the Building Official’s Guide to the Professional Practice of Architects & Engineers in Florida.  Architectural services as defined by law, and which designers may not perform unless licensed as architects, “means the rendering or offering to render services in connection with the design and construction of a structure or group of structures which have as their principal purpose human habitation or use, and the utilization of space within and surrounding such structures.”  Taken to its illogical extreme, ASID/IDAF ignores the language that sets out the parameters of the work as “the design and construction of a structure” and references only the portion that talks about utilization of space and designs and drawings.  Again, it is only related to the design and construction of the structure.  But since designers can’t do that anyway, saying that would not generate the outpouring of letters and phone calls that their campaign has generated.  We have worked with the bill sponsor and the legal counsel for the Committee to ensure that what ASID/IDAF are claiming is not accurate, and they have told us that if it helps, they would add language to the bill to make it absolutely clear that all interior designers will be able to perform the services that only registered interior designers may perform today – no one intends to limit their work or restrict commercial design to just architects.

Students are receiving a grave injustice from their “professors” who are not telling them the truth about the profession or the affect of deregulation. As Florida law currently stands now, if they want to become registered, students must only work under the supervision of a licensed interior designer (only 2560 in the entire state of Florida), or an architect or engineer.  Where are the 2,000 design students that were testified to going to get a job upon graduation?  How many of the 2560 designers are still in business, or are not solo practitioners who don’t have enough work for themselves let alone enough to hire a new designer, or who do not work for a large architecture firm and have the ability to hire a designer themselves?  And even if they have the means, how many are in favor of training up their future competitors in such a difficult economy?  Not to mention, we hear numerous complaints from student “interns” that they feel like indentured servants, making little or no pay, and relegated to non-related design work like filing and answering phones.

The schools have greatly expanded their design programs over the past few years chasing tuitions and fees, far beyond the capacity of the profession to absorb the graduates.  These students are in for a rude awakening upon graduation.  By allowing more businesses to work in the field, their job opportunities and ability to be hired will increase.  Only in the hallowed halls of academia can limiting the number of businesses that can operate, especially in a down economy, increase job opportunities for graduates!

I strongly encourage all students to seek out the facts of this issue rather than take at face value the intentional misleading by instructors who have their own personal political agenda.   The truth is always the best place to start out in your career. 

Please share this information with your fellow students, and for more information, please visit our website where we have a special page dedicated to student licensing issues.  I guarantee you’ll find the information there very eye-opening.

Best of luck to you in your interior design career!

Patti Morrow, IDPC Director



February 28, 2011

ASID launches full-scale assault against designers


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.

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.

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.


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. 

Fire & Ice: Rome BURNS while ASID FREEZES out competition

November 24, 2010

Patti Morrow: Designing Diva to Political Activist

From Designing Diva to Political Activist

MORE Magazine – For Women of Style and Substance, today published an article which chronicles my journey to stop anti-competitive, unwanted, arbitrary governmental regulation of the interior design industry.

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