Interior designers continue to push for regulations

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As the conference committee on a sweeping House deregulation bill (HB 5005) began meeting, interior designers held a press conference Thursday to keep up pressure on lawmakers not to include their profession in the measure, reports the News Service of Florida. They say the change would keep interior designers from handling some commercial projects and cost them business. “At a time when one out of ten Floridians are out of work, we don’t need more layoffs,” said Allison Levy, senior director of government and regulatory affairs for the International Interior Design Association. Rep. Charles Van Zant, a Keystone Heights Republican and architect, also criticized the move and said it raised safety concerns. “Interior designers protect us and help us in Florida to provide interior architecture that is safe and easy to build,” he said. But Sarah Bascom, a spokeswoman for supporters of keeping designers in the deregulation bill, said the current system of licensing already creates a de facto monopoly and the measure will bring Florida into line with other states. She also dismissed the idea that interior designers would suffer from a loss of business under deregulation. “This claim is a myth because the only thing current law enables interior designers to do that they will not be able to do under deregulation is sign and seal construction documents for permitting purposes,” she said in an email. “But interior designers are rarely called upon to do this because permits are typically not required for commercial design projects.”

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.