The Truth About Florida’s Interior Design Deregulation

The Truth About Florida’s Interior Design Deregulation

Hi, I’m Christina Walsh, director of activism and coalitions at the Institute for Justice. America prides itself as the land of
opportunity, but opportunities can be destroyed by government regulation. Fortunately some states are saying yes
to opportunity, by saying no to job killing regulations and red tape. Florida legislators are working to
unleash economic opportunity, by deregulating more than twenty
occupations, including interior design. But interior designers aren’t giving up
their government enforced monopoly without a fight. Let’s look at the interior design
cartels key arguments, and see whether they stand up. Myth number one: Most states regulate
interior design. The cartel has an online petition that
says twenty six other states require interior designers to be regulated. As documented by PolitiFact Florida,
this is false. Only three states Florida, Louisiana, and Nevada regulate
the practice of interior design. Myth number two: unlicensed interior design
threatens public safety. The interior design cartel loves scare
tactics so just telling people that interior design licensing is a matter of
life and death. Fortunately it’s all made up. As the Florida attorney general’s office
made clear, there is no evidence that interior design presents any genuine
safety concerns and no evidence that licensing has
benefited the public in any way. More than a dozen states studies have
looked at the issue and found no evidence of public harm from interior
design. Myth number three: Interior designers will not
be able to work without government regulation. Finally, the cartel claims interior
designers will be on able to work in Florida without government licensing. Colorado considered that same argument and
found it baseless. Interior designers are doing just fine
in the forty seven states they have no licensing and they’ll do just fine
without regulation in Florida too. In reality, government regulation of
interior design limits opportunities while driving up prices and restricting
consumer choice. There’s no reason why Florida should be
one of just three states in the whole country that subjects interior designers
to wasteful and unnecessary licensing requirements. Don’t believe in myths, believe in oppurtunity.

71 thoughts on “The Truth About Florida’s Interior Design Deregulation

  1. NEVADA licenses interior designers? I guess that explains the pervasive lack of taste you see in Las Vegas.


  2. It is ridiculous to require licensing for interior designing! But the ones with licenses and governments will never stop pushing for it.

  3. @floridadesigner01 I may be misreading your comment, but are you saying that the presence of building codes related to interior design is proof that it's a protection issue?
    If there were building codes requiring everyone to paint their walls purple, that would be proof that high-wavelength color paints are harmful?

  4. Up until about the halfway point, I was sure this would turn out to be a parody, perhaps uploaded just a bit too late for April Fools Day. The notion that something as benign as interior design could be subject to industry-specific regulation, let alone outright professional licensure, absolutely blows my mind.

  5. The "TRUTH" is that there are several sides to this issue. If the IJ really wants to impose it's survival of the fittest free market caveat emptor on American society then they need to deregulate the bar in all 50 states. Start there and maybe I will be impressed.

  6. @djdudemanhey

    The reason they made this video is probably because they are representing a client that faced this very same issue for whatever reason…or, it's probably just a really hot topic for the deregulation vs. regulation debate.

  7. All anyone needs to do is Google "interior design license" and see that there are way more than 3 states that license interior designers. The people that made this video are a fraud!!

  8. @MrLowClass There are no regulations for the practice of interior design in 47 states. What you're finding are silly laws called "Title Acts." These deal with speech and who can call themselves interior designers. What this video explains is the fact that in 47 states anybody can practice interior design.

    To be clear, Florida is one of just three states that limits who can practice interior design. And in the other 47 states, things are working out just fine.

  9. Texas was not mentioned as requiring ID licensing. Yet the Texas legislature is considering a bill today (HB 3167, session 82R) to repeal ID licensing. How can they repeal what you claim that State lacks? You can view the bill at the Texas capitol website using their bill lookup system.

  10. OK, after looking up many of the states requirements for interior designers I have come to the conclusion that this video is very misleading. While only 3 states use the term "license", 24 other states use the term "registered" and the requirements to become registered is identical to becoming licensed in the other 3 states. Institute for Justice needs to be renamed Institute for Propaganda!!

  11. Nice spin! I'm from Colorado – Here is the REAL story – with the REAL statute! "Currently in Colorado, there is specific language contained within the Architect’s Practice Act that addresses interior design regulation. Known as a “Permitting Statute” this piece of legislation allows qualified interior designers to submit plans for permit within their specified scope of service.

  12. I have spoken to Building Code Officials in the state of Florida – their claim that anyone will be able to practice interior design if it is deregulated is a down right lie! But don't take my word for it – don't take anyone's word – pick up the phone and call for yourself!!

  13. @TheFloridaTruth In total agreement with you. As stated below – I have called building code officials across the state – and they have all said that we will no longer be able to practice commercial interior design. I am urging people to pick up the phone and call their local code official – and not listen to the nonsense in this video.

  14. The interior design cartel is entitled to its own opinions, but not its own facts. The video above provides sources for every one of its factual claims and none of the commenters below has even attempted to refute those sources, which include stipulations by the Florida Attorney General that only 3 states limit who can practice interior design and that there is no evidence that regulating interior design provides any benefits to the public.

  15. @TheFloridaTruth Thank you for your thoughtful and courteous responses. It's good to know I'm dealing with a real professional. Here's ASID's own website, which shows that only three states license the practice of interior design:

    As ASID and the Institute for Justice video both make clear, Florida is one of just three states that limits who can practice interior design.

  16. Here is the REAL story – with the REAL statute! "Currently in Colorado, there is specific language contained within the Architect’s Practice Act that addresses interior design regulation. Known as a “Permitting Statute” this piece of legislation allows qualified interior designers to submit plans for permit within their specified scope of service. I am a professional – and not one to believe any side of the story – so I picked up the phone and called code officials – and I hope you do the same!

  17. @TheFloridaTruth I am working on a quick documentary – and would love to get this info. My code officials that I have relationships with have emailed me good info as well as fire marshals. Would love to chat with you.

  18. @Floridatruth

    How is what Bob saying a lie? Three states say that in order to do design work you have to get licensed. The fact that some other states say who may call themselves a "registered" interior designer is irrelevant; the key point is that EVERYONE in those states can still practice their livelihood. It sounds like you, rather than Bobn is the one spreading lies.

  19. This is yet another awesome IJ video. Way to go IJ!!! It's such a shame that IJ has to make videos like this just so people can earn an honest living and pursue their version of the American Dream.

  20. @TheFloridaTruth

    ok, so to call yourself a certified interior designer in NY you need to meet those criteria. But the fact is that anyone can do interior design work in NY; the statute only deals with what criteria an "interior deisgner" must meet before he or she can call him or herself a "certified interior designer."

    Quit trying to spread disinformation as the truth.

  21. @theFloridaTruth

    So then you admit that your earlier claim is hogwash? The truth is that only 3 states say who may practice interior design. Your discussion about all of the "certified" states is completely beside the point.

    As to the signing documents, that is beyond my area of expertise and I will leave it to Christina and IJ to respond.

  22. @ogalvarez09 "The construction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by Chapter 471 . . . or Chapter 481 . . . ."

    Sure. You're ignoring the "where required" language. All this means is that construction documents involving the practices of engineering, architecture, or landscape architecture must be prepared by licensees in those fields. It has no application to documents involving only the practice of interior design, which anyone will be able to do.

  23. @TheFloridaTruth
    This little comment doesn't support your groundless argument. It sounds like you actually do believe the hogwash that you've been fed over the years by the cartel. Think about it. The bill wouldn't have gotten as far as it has if the majority of legislators thought for one second that it would shut down the industry. They know the truth and your wasting you time fussing over it. Perhaps you should take a deep breath and try opening your mind.

  24. @TheFloridaTruth
    Watch it again and pay attention. Only three states, Florida, Nevada and Louisiana regulate THE PRACTICE of interior design. In 47 states ANYONE can practice interior design.

  25. @TheFloridaTruth
    Come on… seriously? Deregulating a profession actually lowers costs for consumers by increasing competition. That's why all of this happening. The whole point is to boost the economy. As for your comment about "lazy housewives", how do you account for the 60% of licensed designers who were grandfathered and didn't meet all the requirements you believe are so important and necessary?

  26. @TheFloridaTruth There's a whole permitting process and lots of people involved every step of the way to insure proper codes are met. In your little example, the fire marshal wouldn't approve the space. If a designer gets a reputation for consistently not adhering to codes they probably won't be getting a lot of work. It's a pretty self-regulating profession if you ask me. We don't need to involve the government in it.

  27. @TheFloridaTruth Most grandfathered designers would not meet the current requirements to become licensed in Florida. I'm a little board with your "deregulation decreases competition" stuff. Nobody believes it but those who are afraid of competition and the poor, uninformed masses that have fallen under the spell of the cartel.

  28. @TheFloridaTruth Ok. Do you really believe that everyone at the Institute for Justice, NKBA, NFIB and the rest of the organizations supporting deregulation are so woefully misinformed that they would fight this hard for something that would actually hurt their clients and members? Do you think that the bill would have gotten this far if the legislators thought for one second that it would shut down an industry? You have to find a new argument. This one doesn't hold water.

  29. @TheFloridaTruth In 47 states in this country you might employ an unlicensed interior designer to do all that too. Seems to be working OK for them.

  30. @TheFloridaTruth This again. You're record is broken. This argument has already been debunked repeatedly. You need to let go.

  31. @TheFloridaTruth Why do you need a permit if nothing is being done to require a permit? To whom are you submitting construction drawings requiring a permit? If a permit is required an inspection will also be required.

  32. @TheFloridaTruth OK. Now you're picking on me personally because of a typo? Why don't you check your grammar. I'm clearly wasting my time with you. You're not an intellectually honest person and clearly a shill for the cartel.

  33. @TheFloridaTruth Nobody has to pay me for shooting fish in a barrel. But I will have to stop all the fun for now.

  34. @rayrayjewels: "As stated below – I have called building code officials across the state – and they have all said that we will no longer be able to practice commercial interior design." Would you please provide the names and numbers of the building code officials you called? I would like to call them myself and see what they have to say. I suspect you're lying, but here's a golden opportunity to prove me wrong in front of this whole board.

  35. @MsYumuri Excuse me for not being a lawyer. What's the difference between a "TITLE ACT" and whatever you claim only 3 states do? (And when will lawyers discover lower case?) I'm not here to defend the cartels. But I need solid facts I can take back to my friends to defend IJ's actions, and that includes explaining all these legal details that mere mortals like me don't understand.

  36. @SpareSimian Great question about the Title Acts. A Practice Act regulates who can practice interior design. A Title Act regulates who can call themselves an interior designer. Typically, the cartel takes a two-step approach to taking over a state: First a Title Act, then a Practice Act. As the cartel’s home page clearly shows, only three states have Practice Acts:

  37. @Jasonaorr. Great point Jason. To be crystal clear, Florida is one of just three states that limits who can practice interior design. The cartel's own website, the Institute for Justice video above, and the Florida Attorney General (see link at end of video) all agree on this. Conclusion: Anyone can practice interior design in 47 states, and those states are doing just fine.

  38. @snarkus13 – Have you spoken to one building code official? Call one in your city. I spoke to one in Port Orange – where the Rep who sponsored the bill is from. Don't call people liars. Pick up the freaking phone and use your own brain! Don't take my word for it – PLEASE! All states regulate commercial interior design – as all require building permits! It's just whether interior designers can work in the field w/o the supervision of an architect.

  39. @rayrayjewels: Which jurisdictions did you contact specifically? And what was the name (or title) of the person you spoke with in Port Orange and what's their phone number? I called you a liar because I think you're lying about having called building code officials "across the state." Your response makes me even more sure that you're fibbing. Time to put up or shut up.

  40. @snarkus13 – Whoa, big words but not answering any questions. You are more than capable of googling "Building Code Official *whatever city you like*" – getting the phone # and calling for yourself. Don't be lazy! Be proactive. What are you scared of? I have to work w/ building code officials – so no, you can't have my contacts to harass like you are doing to people in this forum. But all it takes is ONE PHONE CALL. Again – Do it for yourself. Call anyone in any city. Why depend on someone else?

  41. Interior Design is a agency for change today's designer understands the built environment to a level of sophistication much greater than some other elite professions who continuously take a superficial approach to the design of interiors. The majority of ID'ers today have Bachelors and Master degrees from some of the best Universities in the nation. Our designs are academically researched and documented they investigate the human condition and strive for the best environments possible.

  42. @TheFloridaTruth LOL, so you're assuming that someone looking to do interior design work will now have less work because no one is going to want to hire an "interior designer" because none of them are certified and they'll instead hire architects because their job requires more effort, hence they're more qualified? Did I sum that up right? Because that's the worst argument you could make against this. That tells me you're assuming there will be no third party certification or instruction…

  43. @TheFloridaTruth available to those who wish to prove their knowledge of interior design to their customers before being hired.

  44. @psherman31 What?! Do you have any knowledge of permitting? ALL interior construction has to be signed and sealed to be permitted – and if Interior Designers can no longer sign and seal – only architects can. You need to walk down to your local permitting office and have a few conversations.

  45. “Myth #1: Most States regulate Interior Design."

    You have this as a myth, when it is indeed a fact. Interior Designers do need to be regulated through either Title Act, Practice Act or both. Your video talks about states being regulated; those 3 states are the only ones that REQUIRE licensing to practice Interior Design which is completely different from regulating Interior Design.

  46. It's funny how everyone seems to be attacking ASID (a not-for-profit organization) for licensing and regulation when they do not even administer licensing exams. NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) is the only organization that is allowed to administer this exam and grants licensure allowing Interior Designers to sign off on drawings.

  47. @deeennbee91: Two points: (1) interior designers in the 20 title act states don't "need" to be regulated — in fact by last count there were only about 300 "certified" designers in all of New York, which means that most of the thousands of interior designers who work there haven't bothered to become "certified," and certainly aren't "required" to, as you mistakenly claim; (2) NCIDQ was spun off from ASID's two precursor organizations (AID and NSID) in 1974 — so it's all quite incestuous!

  48. @ Institute for Justice why not deregulate the profession of Arch. Don't you stick up for the people and ensure justice. I am sure the guy on the job site swinging a hammer would make a mighty fine Architect, obviously there is no doubt about his passion and love for building and understanding of structure. He does it every day board by board, in the blistering heat. I mean educational standards do not matter, right?

  49. If there were no evidence that the unlicensed practice of architecture posed any threat to the public (as is the case for interior design), and if there were no evidence that licensing architecture produced any public benefits (as is the case for interior design), and if the vast majority of states didn't regulate the practice of architecture in any way (as is the case for interior design), then deregulating architecture would make just as much sense as deregulating interior design does: a lot.

  50. @InferiorDesigner: Are there a dozen state studies that have considered whether licensing architects is necessary to protect the public and found no evidence that it was? Because that's the case with interior design. Your side keeps trotting out the same unpersuasive arguments without responding to ANY of the compelling, well-supported counterarguments. Can I let you in on a little secret? That's why you're going to lose licensing in Florida like you did in Alabama: the emperor has no clothes.

  51. @psherman31 you are deluded. If your project requires a building permit the only professionals allowed to sign, seal and submit a permit application are Registered Architects and Professional Engineers and in some jurisdictions Licensed Contractors. Interior Designers were never allowed to submit documents for permitting. No matter what the IJ or IDPC says. It is typical 1/2 truth misinformation posing as fact- which the IJ and IDPC are so adept at.

  52. @djdudemanhey Hmm… This is just plain wrong. First, only a building owner or licensed contractor can pull a permit. But IDs can sign and seal drawings currently in Florida. The Building Officials Assoc of FL has a website – search their rulings and you will find where they state that Interior Designers can sign and seal CDs when it relates to interior construction.

  53. Check this….the IJ says ID regulation is anti-competitive and the AIA says we are being too competitive in our effort to provide consumers more choices for who can actually obtain building permits. This has nothing to do with rights or freedom. It is nothing but a pissy turf battle.

  54. @InferiorDesigner Just because a person is allowed to design without license doesn't mean they will. Someone has to hire them first, and if they're uneducated, no one will hire them.

  55. I agree, interior design seems worthless to regulate to me.

    What about where regulation is vital, like mechanics and movers? You don't hear about interior designers ripping people off or fixing brakes that fail but industries where it is easy and DANGEROUS to take advantage of people need to have oversight. With no regulations my only recourse would be small claims, costing much more time and money and doesn't help warn others. I already have the choice to use a shadetree mechanic if I want.

  56. @sgapplebee It's easy to get documents online, make them up etc. If my car is messed up by some undocumented worker (very likely here) I'd have to use our slow legal system (not sure about NZ but FL has problems with courts clogged with foreclosures, etc) to resolve, instead of consumer protections given by our current regs. I'm not against rethinking regs, just not sure how this would benefit us. And they change it to a "budget guideline" to push it through with less oversight? Shady!

  57. Florida's licensing requirements may be more draconian than necessary, but anyone who believes that Interior Design should not be regulated *at all* clearly doesn't understand what Interior Design is.

  58. Do you know if florida will deregulate braiding too? I checked your website but I dont see alist of soon to be deregulated industries.

  59. so some painter can have a legally binding licence, but not an individual who has all the educational credentials to know how to provide plans and specification documents to demolish and re-build the interior of a facility which requires aesthetic, ergonomic, mechanical, plumbing, electrical accomodations as well as building code and ADA compliance? This woman speaking is as ignorant as they come.

  60. Interior design describes a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an effective setting for the range of human activities. It also has many connections to other design disciplines, involving the work of architects, industrial designers, engineers, builders, craftsmen, etc.

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