Legislative Day this year was an eye opener for many of our members who have never participated in a committee hearing in our State Legislature. As a departure from our normal schedule, members were encouraged to attend one or more of several committee hearings scheduled that morning where bills directly impacting our profession were on the agenda.
Duty to Defend
Interior Design Licensing
HB 858, the interior design license bill discussion had a different outcome. Although top on the Regulatory Reform Committee agenda, the chair and co-chair (also the bill’s sponsor) shuffled the agenda to allow a bill relating to trash in apartment buildings to precede HB 858. This discussion was stretched out to cover all but ten minutes of the allotted one hour of the meeting’s schedule.
So Where to from Here?
Unfortunately because ASID has not limited the expansive scope of allowable practice, we are again going to have to mount opposition to the bill. The feedback I have received from our members who met with their legislators indicate our elected officials want to know what other states are doing with respect to Interior Design laws. We also know that the bill is being sold as a means to give small businesses and women owned businesses access to opportunities. Public safety is not part of what is getting focus, although “Health, Safety and Welfare” are used passively in discussions.
All Hands on Deck!
The public protections afforded people of North Carolina though license laws are in imminent danger of being removed by this bill. It is an easily verifiable fact that HB 858 will allow a graduate of a two year program with only 40 hours of Interior Design studies, who may never have prepared a set of construction documents for any type of project, who could have worked selling furniture or wall coverings for ten or more years and who self reported their work experience; who passed an exam with fewer than 30 questions on building systems coordination (a core competency of an architect) can assemble plans from other design professionals for any interiors project in any building occupancy classification in the North Carolina Building Code and submit them for permit.
Look for our memo to you on Monday of each week and plan to take some form of action each Wednesday…
Richard Alsop, Jr., AIA
AIANC Director of Advocacy