Tami Michaels: Inside Out

Here we go again

Once again the interior design organization ASID and its Washington support group IDCW have conspired with Washington state legislators to try to create laws that license and restrict interior designers in our state.  At the request of State Representative Steve Conway and Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the Department of Licensing is hosting a forum on potential Interior Designer regulation.  The forum will be held on Tuesday August 31st from 1-4 PM at the General Administration Auditorium in Olympia.  On behalf of the Washington Chapter of the Interior Design Protection Council (WA-IDPC), I will be hosting an event on August 31st at 10:30 AM at the capital to organize our response to the IDCW/ASID’s latest initiative and am seeking your attendance and support.  Please read below for more information.

The ASID is but one of several interior design organization in the country.  ASID has been at the forefront of the push to enact anti-competitive, unnecessary regulation of the interior designers, claiming regulation is needed to “protect the public.”  Yet there is not a shred of evidence to warrant a conclusion that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy.  Given the absence of any harm to the public, why is the ASID trying to regulate the license and practice of interior design by lobbying for laws that benefit only one interior design organization (themselves)?  The only fair conclusion is that this small group of industry insiders is pushing for regulation in order to eliminate their competition and create a monopoly in which only they would benefit.  In Washington State this would put thousands of designers out of business and damage many businesses that sell products for your home or business.  This is obviously not a legitimate goal of good government and should find no support in any committee or legislature in the country.  Such a monopoly is antithetical to a free market, and it would be as disadvantageous to consumers as it would be to the overwhelming majority of practitioners who do not meet the capricious and arbitrary standards of “minimal competency,” which incidentally, are the same criteria as required to become a “professional” member of ASID.

The IDCW/ASID in Washington State would reply that they are only seeking a ‘title act’ and are perfectly willing to compromise, hence the meeting on August 31st.  You should be aware that they proclaimed their previous bill was also a title act, containing cleverly worded language which we pointed out and rebutted, derailing their licensing attempt earlier this year.  Also, it has been well established in several other states that the ASID uses ‘title acts’ and other compromise measures as ‘Trojan Horses’.  Once a “foot-in-the-door” has been established through enactment of a seemingly innocuous title act, the goal is to come back surreptitiously in a few years and expand the title act into a full-blown practice act. 

The bottom line is that what the ASID is attempting to do has no benefit to consumers (just the opposite – it would result in higher costs and fewer choices for consumers), will destroy the rights of thousands of designers in our state alone, will seriously harm related industries such as furnishings, trades, etc. …all to benefit one organization seeking a monopoly for their own personal gain.  Shame!

The only way to fight back is to organize and have our voices heard in Olympia.  Please join me at a pre DOL forum meeting at 10:30 AM in Olympia.  Food and refreshments will be served, and I will announce the location in the coming days both here and on our new WA-IDPC Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111305465566105&ref=share.  Patti Morrow, the founder and director of the Interior Design Protection Council, http://www.idpcinfo.org/, will be there and you will definitely want to meet her!  Patti has been instrumental in defeating over 100 bills across the country since 2006.   I look forward to seeing you on the 31st!

Tami Michaels