Monday, October 08, 2007

Latest Threat to Michigan - Unlicensed Interior Designers

In the midst of Michigan's taxing economic woes, our law makers apparently have plenty of time on their hands.

HB 4772, introduced on May 16, 2007 by Representatives Meisner, Huizenga, Vagnozzi, Coulouris, Johnson, Gonzales, Polidori, Cushingberry, Robert Jones, Valentine, Meadows, Gillard, Leland, Spade, Meekhof, Nitz, Emmons, Stahl, Steil, Pearce, Stakoe and Rick Jones, seeks to protect Michigan from the greatest possible danger.

Unlicensed Interior Designers

Apparently in the midst of all the economic disasters in Michigan -- The highest unemployment, the highest foreclosure rate, the greatest loss of jobs in a non-natural disaster area -- rogue interior designers were overlooked.

After all, you can't have the paint on the wall clashing with the chandelier and the dining room set now can you, it would be so gauche.

This bill, as ably analyzed by Dick Carpenter and John Ross in Keep Michigan interior designers free, an opinion column in the Detroit News, is nothing more than rent seeking on the part of already established Interior Designers seeking to prevent more people from practicing that profession.

Of course, this raises the cost of Interior Designers as it reduces the supply.
House Bill 4772 would force all interior designers to obtain a license from the government before they could practice interior design, or even call themselves "interior designers." The small group of interior designers pushing the bill (for the third time) seeks to create a cartel. That is, they want to establish government-imposed barriers to entry into the industry to limit competition.

The proponents of the bill, led by the Council for Interior Design Registration, argue this licensing scheme will protect public health, safety and welfare. Apparently, the unlicensed practice of interior design is a threat to the public.

The council has yet, however, to produce a scintilla of evidence to support this claim. Indeed, state agencies in Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina and Washington have analyzed the need for interior design licensure and found no potential for harm, according to Designing Cartels, a report on the nationwide push to license interior designers.

If the proposal is enacted into law, applicants for a license will have to pass a 13-hour exam. To even be eligible to sit for the exam, they must complete a degree or certification program in interior design and accrue thousands of hours of experience before they can legally recommend aesthetic and practical furniture arrangements and offer other interior design services.


This unreasonable meddling in the economy will close off employment opportunities for interior designers and limit consumer choice, which is probably why only four other states in the entire country limit the practice of interior design the way HB 4772 would. None of the other 46 states -- where anyone who wants to may practice interior design -- have experienced any problems whatsoever. Why fix what isn't broken?

The constitutional right to earn an honest living in the occupation of one's choice is a sacred American birthright. Michiganians should head off this threat to occupational freedom.

Exactly so, this bill is simply an answer for which there is no real question.

At least the bill currently permits you to do interior design work on your own property -- as long as you do not hold yourself out as an interior designer, otherwise you could be charged with practicing without a license and potentially face jail time.

Yet another point for those proposing a part-time legislature, 'cause this one certainly has much too much time on its hands if it can think about regulating such a discretionary, non-vital and an industry that has no real need for government oversight.

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