HAS IT REALLY COME TO THIS-UPDATE?

FLORIDA HOUSE BILL 5005 UPDATE:

“Interior Design is still threatened!!!!!!! 

Rep. James Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, offered an amendment to cut interior designers out of the bill, but it failed. So did an attempt by Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, to remove the section regarding hair braiders and body wrappers” http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/24/2132642/bill-scales-back-deregulation.html If you found this site searching for info on the effort by the Florida legislature to deregulate interior design I have posted the change.org petition link below. Also please know that personal letters and phone calls to your lawmakers will be more effective. HERE IS A LINK TO HELP YOU:

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Stop-Interior-Design-deregulation-in-Florida-.html?soid=1104248386623&aid=2S9vM2Je4eA

You should make sure that your message addresses that residential interior design, interior decoration and residential kitchen and bath design are not regulated by the state. There will be a concerted effort by the anti-ID regulation people to confuse this issue and lead Florida Lawmakers to believe that all interior designers are regulated. This is not the case. You need to be clear and adamant that the deregulation of Interior Design in Florida will affect the ability of trained professionals to insure that the safety of public spaces is not compromised. Finally the deregulation of ID will eliminate jobs by limiting the design of non-residential interior spaces to architects. This is clearly anti-competitive and contradicts the intent of the deregulation bill. To be fair the Florida legislature should also deregulate architecture and engineers. I digress. Good Luck 

Unless you’ve been distracted with more important issues…like natural and manmade calamities that impact your daily lives, you may have missed the fact that Florida is considering deregulating the practice of interior design.  Apparently the only chance we have to salvage 25+ years of effort is a letter writing campaign http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-florida-to-continue-regulation-of-interior-designers#comments 

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has stated before that I do not want Florida’s ID regulation to be voided, nullified, overturned, ruled unconstitutional or aborted in way. That would be a tremendous waste and a collective shame.  However, in order to avoid further attempts by disenfranchised decorators and right-wing libertarian dogmatists to de-professionalize our hard-earned professional status, we must truly consider how we got to this point, why we got to this tenuous point, and how can we make sure we can avoid it in the future.

The opening statement in support of the change.org campaign is well done and appropriately succinct.  However, there are some points that bear further consideration.  PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has not practiced ID in Florida in over a decade and when he did so it was under the authority of registered architects. Full disclosure I had no problem with this relationship and I had no intentions of ever working independently of other licensed professionals. I actually thrived in this collaborative environment so you know.  The first statement that jumps out at me is this;

“Contrary to belief, this bill does not allow unlicensed designers to work on commercial projects. If this bill passes, it essentially ends the commercial Interior Design industry in the State of Florida.”

Again I understand that space is limited here but to shortchange the issue into such a sentence, akin to IDPC histrionics, just exacerbates the confusion as to what the issue really is. What the statement should say is that the deregulation of interior design will hinder the ability of those interior designers who wish to practice independently of R.A.’s & P.E.’s to submit construction documents for permit where a local jurisdiction requires such documentation. That’s the point. Not that interior decorators might be taking out bearing walls or that furniture dealers might create space plans with 51 foot long dead end corridors- it is an issue of entrepreneurial independence and individual practice rights.  Those interior designers who work for, with, or have R.A.’s and P.A.’s working for them, will be able to continue practicing commercial Interior Design….the industry will not end.

“Supporters of this bill say these safety issues will be addressed by local municipalities and code enforcement; agencies which have continually had their budgets cut by the State, increasing the likelihood of errors.”

Well sure but the same argument applies to any regulated profession not very compelling for ID.

“There are approximately 3000 Registered Interior Designers and over 900 authorized businesses, paying fees of over $480,000 to the State. Deregulating Interior Design will not cut the State budget in any way.”

It would help the cause if a full financial analysis of the cost to truly regulate the practice vs. the income generated by license fees (<$.5M is a mere pittance in Florida’s budget deficit) and penalties/fines issued by the Florida BOAID. While I am not privy to those numbers (if anybody is) I doubt the income generated actually covers the legal costs for enforcement and defense from IJ lawsuits. If the regulation of ID does add to the state coffers this is a critical and highly compelling argument.  Somebody should figure that out.  

“Registered Florida Interior Designers, often business owners and employers, account for more than 11,000 jobs, and more than 45,000 other jobs supporting the industry in related trades and workrooms….”

How did we get from 3000 RID’s to 11,000 jobs? Are the other 8,000 directly regulated or are they collateral? The legislature understands that deregulation will impact those directly regulated- which they do not seem too concerned with so the trickle down impact again is not very compelling. Facts backed with citations would be more meaningful. Again this is an issue that the profession must get its facts straight and validated.

“Interior Design legislation helps establish and maintain professional standards that protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public. Legal recognition achieved through licensing, registration, and certification brings uniformity to the profession, defines responsibility, and encourages excellence in the Interior Design industry.”

I agree with the first sentence. The second statement is where we shoot into our collective professional foot. Unifying the profession, defining the profession and particularly encouraging “excellence” is not the government’s job- it just isn’t!

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has also read the comments left by petitioners and finds them very compelling. I would like to focus on one in particular.

“Perhaps additional thoughts on this issue are warranted:

As a licensed professional, a registered interior designer is bound by a code of ethics that protects the citizens of the State of Florida. A code of ethics ensures the integrity of the decision making process.

The education requirements associated with licensure focus on important aspects of the built environment that are often neglected – including a thorough understanding of the complexities of designing for people. Licensed (and thus, professional) interior designers apply extensive research related to environmental behavior and psychology as they make important decisions that affect the user’s ability to function in an interior environment – decisions that relate to the quality of human relationships.

Anyone can learn and apply code related requirements in their design efforts (this, of course, is a legal requirement whether you are licensed or not) and even though this is an important aspect of the profession it does not represent the significant impact that a design professional brings to the table as we consider critical issues related to the set-up for human interaction.

The legislature is bound to protect the citizens of the state of Florida and thus, in my opinion, is bound to maintain this practice act. It is the responsibility of our elected officials to make decisions based on a thorough understanding of the unique complexities of an issue rather that a limited and biased understanding. This decision should not primarily be a financial one. Interior designers bring a unique and significant skill set to the design process.

I hope these thoughts find their way into the discussion.”

A first glance this is a very cogent argument and one I agree with to a point. However “decisions that relate to the quality of human relationships” should never be regulated- in fact it cannot be regulated. The ability to learn and apply “code related requirements” is the basis for regulation- like it or not. Finally this commenter closes by saying “Interior designers bring a unique and significant skill set to the design process”. Once again we have to realize that protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public is not a unique skill set- in fact it is a crowded field. Hence our ability to justify government regulation based on that particular tenet is forever going to be a monumental and resource sapping endeavor.

P.S. Here is the actual bill; http://static.lobbytools.com/bills/2011/PDF/5005C1.PDF Interesting to note that ID is on par with hair-braiders, auctioneers, water vending machine operators and travel agents. We have got to do a better job of validating our true and unique value to society- good grief!

P.P.S. Here is an interesting plea from the NKBA asking for letters that support the deregulation of ID. http://capwiz.com/nkba/issues/alert/?alertid=36654536 Hell they don’t even have a dog in this hunt and they’re still out for our blood. Wow.

2 thoughts on “HAS IT REALLY COME TO THIS-UPDATE?

  1. I’m the designer who started the petition as a response to so many people who were not getting any information at all on the issue. Most of the introduction figures came from information provided by IDAF, though the closing statement came from ASID. Please feel free to contact me directly with any edit advice and we’ll make some changes. We tried to simplify as much as possible to make it a quick read.

    The petition is really just to get letters out from people who have no time to commit to the issue because it only requires a quick input of information. What we really need are PERSONALIZED LETTERS AND PHONE CALLS to the Senators and House members, specifically the REPUBLICANS. This is most effective from their Florida constituents, but any calls or letters will help.

    This bill is being pushed by powerful people and they are voting on party lines. Please, if you make phone calls, specifically request removing Interior Design from the bill. It’s our understanding the bill will pass, it’s just a matter of whether we are on it.

    Thanks for getting word out on the issue, and please contact us if you’d like to get more involved – there’s a lot we can still do to fight.

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  2. Deborah I hope you read my comment on the change.org page. Hopefully Florida Registered ID’ers can prevail and after the dust settles the entire profession can step back and figure out how to avoid further legal and political assaults.
    Good Luck

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