Regulation

Protecting America from the Dire Threat of Unlicensed Fabric Selection

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Writing in Forbes, Institute for Justice President Chip Mellor highlights a very important effort by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to eliminate costly and unnecessary licensing requirements that currently infringe on the right to earn a living in 20 different occupations, including hair braiding and ballroom dance instruction. As Mellor notes, the special interests are pulling out all the stops to protect their lucrative licensing racket:

The most vocal of those seeking to maintain their protected status are interior designers. Florida is one of only three states that regulates the practice of interior design; the other two are Louisiana and Nevada. Even though no less than the Florida Attorney General's office has admitted there is no evidence that interior design licensing has benefited the public in any way, the designers' cartel has hired a high-powered lobbyist to wage an aggressive PR campaign to remove interior design from the should-be deregulated industries.

Among other efforts, the cartel bused in interior design students to Tallahassee from across the state to tell legislators that their degrees would become "worthless" if other people could freely practice interior design in Florida the way they can in 47 other states. One designer claimed that allowing just anyone to practice interior design would contribute to 88,000 deaths annually because of poor fabric selection. Another offered bizarre assertions about how color schemes affect salivation and autonomic nervous systems. Of course, no evidence was offered to support any of those assertions, which is hardly surprising since there isn't any.

Yes, you read that last paragraph correctly. For more on occupational licensing run amok, check out Reason.tv's "Throw-Pillow Fight: Is your interior designer really putting your life at risk?"