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This post has been moved to the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee-in-sb-337-will-hurt-your-ability-to-compete/

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Here’s a link to the archived version of this post, since it’s gotten cut off here, and I don’t know how to fix it.

Please visit the NoDesignLegislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com for more information on interior design legislation.


Interior Design Protection Council

Protect Your Right to Practice!
NEW Alabama Practice Act will PUT YOU OUT OF BUSINESS

Senate Bill 344 and House Bill 491 are anti-competitive and anti-consumer!

Members of the Alabama design community:

As we previously reported, the Alabama State Board of Registration for Interior Designers tried a back-door — and we believe illegal — attempt to reinstate the unconstitutional practice act by simply amending the language and not going through the appropriate legislative process. And it might have worked, if IDPC, ADAD, IJ and NKBA had not thoroughly exposed and thwarted their under-the-radar tactics.

So now they have introduced a new practice act in the Senate (SB 344) and in the House (HB 491), and allegedly they are going to try and ram it through both houses within the next two weeks.

This even more restrictive and confusing practice act is mislabeled as the Alabama Interior Design Consumer Protection Act, when in fact, the only people protected by this act are the 262 licensed interior designers in the state who will be protected from YOU and your [superior] design abilities.

The bill contains a broad, loose definition of interior design which will surely cover the many services you provide. Interior design is defined to include:

  • programming, conducting research, identifying and analyzing the needs and goals of the client or occupant of the space, assessing project resources and limitations, developing project schedules and budgets
  • specifications, studies, and research,
  • reflected ceiling plans, space utilization, furnishings, floor plans, including preliminary space layouts and final planning,
  • construction documents,
  • the fabrication of nonstructural elements within and surrounding interior spaces of buildings, and
  • construction administration to monitor the contractor progress relating to nonstructural interior elements of a building or structure

YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO PRACTICE

AS YOU HAVE BEEN DOING

SINCE THE PREVIOUS PRACTICE ACT WAS DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

Although poorly drafted and without actually saying so, under the proposed law, no person may render interior design services without a license. In order to obtain a license, you must:

  1. Have an accredited degree in interior design. DO YOU HAVE AN APPROVED DEGREE?
  2. Prove, to the satisfaction of NCIDQ, that you have a minimum of 2-4 years of interior design experience under the direct supervision of a registered interior designer or licensed architect.
  3. Pass the NCIDQ exam. WILL YOU EVEN BE ELIGIBLE TO SIT FOR THE TEST? PROBABLY NOT. IT REQUIRES A DEGREE IN INTERIOR DESIGN AND BETWEEN 2-4 YEARS OF FULL-TIME, DIVERSIFIED INTERIOR DESIGN EXPERIENCE UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED OR NCIDQ CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGNER OR ARCHITECT BEFORE YOU CAN TAKE THE TEST. And they determine exactly what “diversified” means!

GRANDFATHERING? Only if you already have a license, will you be allowed to continue to practice.

EXEMPTIONS? You will be “allowed” to provide consultations, NOT DESIGN.

There are other problems with the proposed bill, such as the Board’s ability to suspended or revoke your license if it finds that you violated any standards of professional conduct that they decide and file legal proceedings against you should it be determined that you were practicing interior design without a license. IF THAT HAPPENS, YOUR CLIENTS COULD REFUSE TO PAY YOU FOR THE WORK THAT YOU PERFORMED AND YOU HAVE NO RECOURSE IN THE COURTS! And of course, the Board has the power to impose fines and sanctions up to $2,000!

CONSUMER PROTECTION? Absolutely NOT!

Not a shred of evidence has ever been presented to warrant a conclusion that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy.

In fact, 12 government agencies have looked into this issue and concluded that interior design licensing does nothing to protect the public beyond the processes already in place.

Click here for a list and access to all 12 government reports.

DID YOU KNOW THAT….


Practice laws affect more than just interior designers? In Florida, approximately 22 professions have been the subject of disciplinary actions.

If you work in any of the following professions, beware — if SB 344 and HB 491 are enacted, you could be fined or even lose your ability to earn a living:

*interior designer *interior decorator *office furniture dealer *residential furniture dealer

*restaurant equipment dealer *flooring company *wall covering supplier *fabric vendor

*builder *real estate stager *real estate developer *realty company *remodeler

*accessories retailer *antiques dealer *engineer *drafting services *lighting company

*florist *kitchen design *upholstery workroom *carpet retail *art dealer

Even if you are an extremely successful or even a “celebrity” designer, you will not be sheltered from this law. In Florida, even internationally known designers like Kelly Wearsler, Hirsch Bedner Assoc., Juan Montayo, Clive Christian, and Phillip Sides were victims of ruthless disciplinary actions.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!


You must act
now to let the members of the BOTH the Senate and House Committees know that, especially in this difficult economic climate, the state government should pass no legislation which would make it more difficult for its citizens to compete in the free and open market unless there is clear and compelling evidence — which is clearly lacking here.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED:

  1. Write to each committee member. A fax is best, followed by email if you don’t have access to a fax machine. Your letter should be no longer than one page.
  2. Call each Senate and House committee member, register your name, town, bill number and that you are opposed to it.
  3. Rally students to write as well. Licensing HURTS not helps them.
  4. Ask your clients, vendors, friends, family, and other consumers, to call or write to the committee on your behalf — especially if they are constituents of the member.

If you live in a surrounding state but work or plan to do design work in Alabama, then you also need to contact the Committee to protect your rights.

Click here for contact information on SENATE SMALL BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Click here for contact information on HOUSE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS COMMITTEE

Click here to read SB 344.

Click here to read HB 491.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at legislation@IDPCinfo.org

Patti Morrow

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

Support our efforts to protect Minnesota interior designers’ rights and livelihoods.

Click here to become a member of IDPC.

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Interior Design Protection Council | 91 Reserve Place | Concord | NH | 03301

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We just received a copy of the letter below sent to ASID Headquarters. Thanks to the Interior Design Freedom Coalition http://www.interiordesignfreedom.org/blog.html for posting it.

Please see the links on this blog in the Interior Design Legislation Opposition section to the Interior Design Protection Council and the Interior Design Freedom Coalition for more information on licensing efforts and how to protect your real right to practice in your state, and how ASID efforts will put thousands of designers out of business.

=======================================================================================================
ASID RESIGNATIONS
-GROUP ONE-

December 19, 2008

Michael Alin, Executive Director
The American Society of Interior Designers
608 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, D.C., 20002

Dear Mr. Alin:

Over the last several years, we have watched as ASID has recklessly spent our dues and MANDATORY legislative assessments on a failed policy falsely proclaiming to “raise the level of the profession” and to cull what you have decided are the “real designers” from those not following the path you dictate. The legislation you support has requirements so restrictive that most designers would not be able to comply and will therefore be denied the right to practice.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID’s president, members and board repeatedly mislead their own ASID colleagues about the EFFECT of legislation on our right to practice, while currying support from the very designers who would be put out of business by your legislative actions. And we have listened as Allied Members were described as the “Cash Cows” of the organization – too stupid to understand that we were being used to fund our own demise.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID betrayed its own ethics to push its own agenda – an ego-driven agenda that has the potential to destroy more than half of its own membership.

Over and over… we have listened as ASID members said sweetly, “We’re not trying to put you out of business.” [Subtext: as long as you forego your practice to go back to school for at least 2 years, do a supervised internship with an NCIDQ certified designer – if you can find one who also happens to be hiring – and intern from two to five years while being paid virtually nothing; then if you have any money left, pay about $2000 to take step workshops, purchase study materials, and take and pass the NCIDQ test (which is rarely passed on the first attempt), and then prove to the satisfaction of your own competitors that you actually are a designer, and comply with any regulations they happen to write.] But nobody’s trying to put you out of business; after all, there’s grandfathering. And from what we’ve seen of the way “grandfathering” is often written into the legislation, that’s just as bogus a claim as the rest of the pro-legislation argument.

Legislators have told us that representatives (either ASID and/or IIDA members) have misrepresented the content, objectives and design support for their legislation while governors of four states have clearly understood it to be anticompetitive and protective.

In states where practice acts have been enacted, designers have suffered terribly – persecuted for what they have done successfully for years, sustaining huge fines and legal fees for miniscule “infractions” and in some cases, bankrupted and driven out of the state in order to earn a living.

Florida designers bear witness to the travesty of your actions, and we hear more and more from them every day. The disgraceful behavior of Florida ASID members who deliberately work to expose and report their own members, as well as others, and help to put them out of business tells us what we need to know about ASID as an organization and about how legislation really works to
destroy designers’ rights to practice. And Florida is not the only state where this happens or has happened: try Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Connecticut and others.

There are estimated to be between 200,000 and 400,000 interior designers in practice in the U.S. today. ASID claims membership of only about 20,000 practicing designers, the majority of
whom don’t even care about “raising the level of the profession”. Many are not even aware of your legislative agenda. They just want to practice design successfully as they always have.

We have personally spoken to Allied designers all across the country, and have found the vast majority to be opposed to your actions. As we’ve said before: the only designers who benefit from your tactics are the so-called professional designers who have passed the NCIDQ – and those are few and far between.

You do not represent independent designers as you have claimed, hence the title independent. They don’t want ASID’s interference in their right to practice, and have told us that they resent ASID’s efforts to dictate policy in which they have no say. Even ASID members are not welcome to disagree with your policies as the invitation to the Arkansas conference clearly shows, where attendees were carefully vetted to make sure that there would be no discordant voices.

ASID HAS NO RIGHT AND NO MANDATE TO DICTATE TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DESIGNERS ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTY WHO WILL BE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE AND WHO WILL NOT. YOUR LEGISLATION IS BEING DEFEATED BECAUSE DESIGNERS DO NOT SUPPORT YOUR OBJECTIVES.

It is clear to us that ASID no longer advocates for all of its members. This is illustrated in the make-up of the board which is ponderously commercial, in the membership of your pro-legislation coalitions across the country, where the majority are often commercial designers and in your undue influence in the schools, where students are pushed toward architectural/commercial design and where residential design gets short shrift. Students have told us that ASID has misled them, pushing them into commercial/architectural design on the premise that jobs at the commercial or architectural firms would be awaiting them when they graduate, and that ASID would help them get those jobs.

Even before the economic downturn, commercial jobs were very hard to come by – by ASID’s own statistics, only 15% of the market – and the few students who manage to land those jobs do so without ASID’s promised-but too often undelivered assistance. Many students, unable to secure those jobs have wound up selling commercial furniture and other commercial products. And most residential designers cannot hire them, as designers who have, have told us that they can draft, but cannot do other things that are crucial to residential design.

ASID’s preferential conduct is also apparent in the way Allied Members are treated on the national website’s “Find a Designer” page, where potential clients searching for referrals are offered a choice of “Show Professionals Only” (listed as the default) vs. “Show All Practitioners” which they have to search for [note: this appears to just have been changed]. This is insulting and clearly shows a bias toward “professional” members, which is especially unjustifiable considering that many so-called “Professional” designers have never passed the NCIDQ test and have just been allowed in. Allied Members pay the majority of dues and mandatory legislation fees, are no less professional in their work, and do not deserve a lesser marketing effort than any other members.

Additionally, by promoting its single-entry method as the one true path to design, ASID has created a rift between practicing designers and those who take ASID’s EEE path, with the younger designers evincing rudely worded disrespect for their more experienced elders – a situation which is not conducive to job creation.

Interior Design is a creative field. Yet ASID is determined to legislate creativity out of it by restricting the many paths of entry into the field that have nurtured that creativity and vision for years, producing brilliant designers – down to one path that is engineered to produce – engineers.

In a failing economy such as this, ASID should be using all its resources to support and market designers, not to destroy them through legislation. And make no mistake, we completely understand your actions and your intent.

We are ashamed and deeply disappointed by this organization. We can no longer support a Society that deliberately destroys its own membership and endangers the future of design and designers in its unending desire for power and dominance. And because of your exclusive policies, we know there is no hope of changing the trajectory of your actions.

ASID had a slogan: PROTECTING YOUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE. You are, in fact, subverting your own raison d’etre by deliberately trying to destroy our right to practice. And that is unethical, unconscionable and unacceptable.

And so we are resigning.

Jacqueline Bazaar, #1533586, Pennsylvania
Margaret H. Benson, #1504190, Texas
Gayle Beyer, #1519494, Colorado
Loraine Brown, #1250453, Georgia
Christine Colman, #1534167, Washington
Ellen Fernandez, #1239917, Maryland
Diane Foreman, #61436, Oregon
Debbie Gersh, #1485135, Texas
Noreen Dunn Gottfried, #1502827, Pennsylvania
Carol Gumpert, 1550669, California
Karen K. Hartley, #75601, Georgia
Nancy Hartsing, #1559067, Arizona
Henrietta Heisler, #1859365, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Kauermann, #97269, Pennsylvania
Nancy Phillips Leroy, #1231856, Pennsylvania
Christie Meehan, #1201627, Pennsylvania
Tonya Morrison, 1487732, Pennsylvania
Jayne Rosen, #78935, Pennsylvania
Rebecca Ruediger, #1250458, Missouri
Carly Sax, #1500172, Illinois
Anne-Marie H. Schimenti, #1504255, Florida
June Shea, #1486996, Virginia
Nadia T. Tanita, #1542001, Hawaii
Terri Temple, #18099, Connecticut
Mary Sue B. Wiedmer, #1215131, Pennsylvania

Resigned earlier this year for the above reasons:

Janice Onsa, Pennsylvania, former Allied Member
Diane Plesset, Oregon CMKBD, CID #5818, C.A.P.S., former ASID

cc: Bruce J. Brigham, President
Board of Directors:
Bruce Goff
Charrisse Johnston
Doug Hartsell
Lisa Henry
Mary G. Knopf
Rachelle Schoessler Lynn
Stephanie Clemons
Sybil J.B. Van Dijs
According to a survey by Interior Design Magazine as quoted in the New York Times, January 29, 1987

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