Confront the shampoo girls, but please update your knowledge base on Indiana’s Interior Design Legislation.

Confront the shampoo girls, but please update your knowledge base on Indiana’s Interior Design Legislation.

By: Jill Mendoza  The Jan. 30 – Feb. 5th 2012 IBJ (Indianapolis Business Journal) published an Opinion from Sheila Suess Kennedy a professor of law and public policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI that; simply gives a new meaning to having a bad hair day!   In Ms. Kennedy’s Opinion, “Confront the shampoo girls at your peril”, she describes angry hairdressers brandishing scissors at the Statehouse to protest recent efforts to de-regulate Professional licensing laws that impact their profession.  Unfortunately the remarks and references she makes regarding the Interior Design Profession are just NOT accurate.  In response to Sheila Suess Kennedy’s opinion on professional licensing laws, please allow the following to correct and clarify the statements Ms. Kennedy made in reference to Interior Designers.  First the incorrect statement: “Most of the rules are the result of lobbying efforts by the occupational groups being regulated.  The result is that Indiana – like many other states- requires that workers be licensed before they can shampoo or braid your hair, hypnotize or decorate your family room.” Correction: In Indiana, you do not need a license to decorate a family room.  Indiana’s Interior Design Legislation does not regulate or restrict the practice of interior design.  Nor does it restrict someone from using the title of interior designer or interior decorator. Second, the clarification; what Indiana’s Interior Design Legislation (HB # 1573 effect date 7-1-2008) does do; it established an Interior Design Registry.  The Interior Design Registry model is in fact a tool that Ms. Kennedy refers to as “other means of protecting consumers in lower-risk situations” that is more cost effective than license legislation.  In fact, the revenues generated from the Interior Design Registry go directly to the State’s general fund.  So any cost associated with the management of the registry is funded by the fees collected by those professionals that use the registry.  In other words the registry is, cost neutral.  The qualifications and/or certifications required to use the Interior Design Registry, are administered by professional organizations, the government isn’t involved and the taxpayers don’t pay any administrative costs, but the consumers have the benefit of information about a professionals training and expertise. Ms. Kennedy states:”It is easier to stop change than to effect it. & There are a couple of lessons here, for those interested in reality, rather than the ideologies of Right or Left.”  Please note; my intent with this is NOT to stop change, and I am interested in reality.  I just want to make sure that Ms. Kennedy’s reality is based upon truthful and factual information.  I also want to educate those who are interested, and redirect those who are misinformed, like Ms. Kennedy, who continue to use the Interior Design Profession as a poster child for unnecessary government regulation. This is simply an OLD argument that no longer applies to our state.  In Indiana, our profession and our legislative leadership worked very hard to create that “other means of protecting consumers” that Ms. Kennedy talks about and we did it in a professional, responsible and cost effective manner.  So I guess I should say “Thank you” to Ms. Kennedy for giving me an opportunity to provide accurate and factual information about Indiana’s Interior Design Law.

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