22 organizations urge Florida Senate: Deregulate practice of Interior Design

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Today, a diverse coalition of 22 organizations representing well over 100,000 Floridians issued a statement in support of the deregulation of interior design.

The coalition of trade organizations, business advocacy groups and national non-profits includes Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Institute for Justice, National Taxpayers Union, National Federation of Independent Business, National Kitchen and Bath Association, Interior Design Protection Council, Tea Party in Action, Florida Retail Federation, North American Lighting Association, Decorating Den Systems, Inc., Office Furniture Dealers Alliance, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and other industry associations and groups.

The full coalition list and letter are available here.

?hile occupations that pose a genuine threat to public health or safety are properly subject to regulation, interior design simply isn? one of them,?said Clark Neily, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, who is challenging Florida? law in court. ?s the Florida Attorney General? office has stipulated and more than a dozen state studies have confirmed, there is not a shred of evidence that interior design presents any genuine threat to the public. This issue transcends any one industry, because getting rid of Florida? unnecessary and anti-competitive interior design licensing scheme has become a litmus test separating those who are serious about eliminating job-killing barriers to economic opportunity, and those who are unwilling or unable to stand up to special interest groups demanding government protection from fair competition.?

The letter, addressed to Senator Mike Haridopolos, states in part:

Deregulating interior design would demonstrate your commitment to smaller and more responsible government, and make Florida a more business-friendly state. We ask that you stand against protectionist, anti-competitive and unnecessary occupational licensing and stand behind Florida? hard-working entrepreneurs by voting to deregulate interior design.

Florida law expressly prohibits anyone who is not a state-licensed interior designer from practicing commercial interior design. The Florida Attorney General has confirmed that this law does nothing to protect the public health, safety or welfare, yet practicing interior design in Florida without a license is a crime punishable by up to a year in jail or a civil penalty. Only two other states regulate who can practice interior design?nd there has been no evidence of any public harm in any of the 47 non-regulating states.

The House of Representatives approved the deregulation of interior design when it passed H.B. 5005, which deregulates 14 occupations. The proposal now goes to conference with the Senate.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.