BILLS A BLOOMIN’- Getting Ready for the 2013 Interior Design Legislative Season

It’s only January 28th but it’s 70 degrees outside and this season’s ID bills are starting to bloom- so Spring is nigh (always wanted to use the term “nigh” in a post). First up is South Carolina’s effort for a quasi-title/practice act which was introduced at the end of the day Friday (crafty) and already the Anti-Regulatory team is on the offense.  Here is the bill;

So O.K. I will admit that it is easy for me to arm-chair quarterback these interior design bills. I do not mean to disrespect the good work of the South Carolina Interior Design Coalition and their lobbyists.  The effort to validate the ID Profession via government regulation is a long arduous and thankless process.  But then again maybe it takes an outsiders perspective to assess the potential of this legislation to stir up a s**tstorm of anti-ID backlash. The bitter taste of which will last far longer in the general public’s mind (and our policymakers) than any resultant positive P.R. a successful legislative effort might garner- remote as that possibility is. This unfortunately, in my opinion, is the case with SC House Bill 3417.

I am not an attorney, a paid attorney’s spokesperson, a politician, or a lobbyist but I do play an interior design policy wonk on T.V…..Okay I play it on your monitor….Having read numerous pieces of ID legislation over the years I think I can see issues where those in the trenches might not be able to. Specifically the SC bill starts out on the wrong foot by defining “Registered Interior Design” as thus;

(3)    ‘Registered interior design’ means the rendering of or the offering to render designs, consultations, studies, space planning, construction documents, or the administration of interior construction relating to nonloadbearing interior construction of a building.

First there is no such thing as “registered interior design”. There is “interior design” and “registered interior designers” but nowhere exists the practice of registered interior design- they are basically assimilating the term “interior design” and prefacing it with registered.   This is the first semantic landmine this bill offers.

The second semantic fox pause (South Carolinian for Faux Paus)

Section 40-85-270.    (A)    The provisions of this chapter do not apply to:…………..(2)    a person who provides a decorating service or assists in residential kitchen and bath design, selecting surfaces materials, window treatments, wall coverings, paint, floor coverings, surface-mounted fixtures, or loose furnishings not subject to an applicable provision of a building code, fire code, or local ordinance;

Reading into the strategy behind this exclusion I see inference to distinguish “registered interior designers” from self-proclaimed interior designers by not even mentioning “interior designers”. If this bill passes there will be no “interior designers”…just people providing decorating service and those practicing registered interior design..whatever that is.

Well I can guarantee you that the non-registered “interior designers” in South Carolina who have the backing of the court to call themselves “interior designers”, and most likely far outnumber those qualified professional interior designers are going to have a field day with that loaded exclusion.

It will be interesting to watch the anti-ID regulationists, from the AIA to the NKBA, shoot holes in this one- as they should.

I know every state is different. But there should be a standard model language that lays out the differences between those interior designers who freely choose to “register” and those interior designers who freely choose not to. Present it as a choice of some interior designers who desire to practice within code-regulated construction environments where Health, Safety and Welfare are paramount concerns while those that choose not to are still free to call themselves “interior designers”. Remove any evidence of bias, or semantic exclusion, between the innately qualified and the NCIDQ vetted professionals who choose to practice at the highest level of the profession. If we do this we will render any back-lash from the disenfranchised “interior designers” moot or at least it will come off as nothing but sour grapes.

In short we are interior designers. Some of us wish to become “registered” and others don’t. Those that choose not to have as much right to be interior designers as we have to become “registered interior designers”. Semantic hair splitting?  Not only yes but HELL YES! We have only ourselves to blame for this conundrum.

Good Luck SCIDL






2 responses to “BILLS A BLOOMIN’- Getting Ready for the 2013 Interior Design Legislative Season”

  1. Pretty good analysis! SCIDL has alot to learn! Maybe you could be their sidelines consultant!


  2. This seems like a no brainer for ASID, or a yet to be created national ID legislation entity that I have previously proposed, but short of that I am happy to consult.



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