Should moving a throw pillow get you fined or jailed?
With all the artistry and attitude, it's no wonder design shows are so much fun. But are the people on those shows putting your life, and even the president's life, at risk?
Natasha Lima-Younts can't see how she's putting anyone's life at risk. She's been an interior designer for more than 20 years. She started her own business, and hired dozens of employees. She has an extensive portfolio and magazine features about her work. What she doesn't have is a state license. That doesn't bother Yount's client Angie Stoeker, who loves what Younts has done with her home, but it does bother those who push for licensing laws.
Alabama politicians once threatened unlicensed designers with jail time-moving a throw pillow could get you a year behind bars-and 22 states plus the District of Columbia regulate interior designers. Industry groups lobby for such laws because they say unlicensed designers put lives at risk. "Every decision an interior designer makes affects the health, safety, and, welfare of the public," says the the American Society of Interior Designers. Another group implies that "confusing floor patterns" and other items installed by unlicensed interior designers cause 11,000 deaths per year.
Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie went looking for dead bodies, and for an explanation for why the state of Florida launched a legal case against Younts. State regulators demand that she obtain a license, a license she says she doesn't need, a license that could cost her six years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Do licensing laws protect consumers from death and destruction or, as the Interior Design Protection Council argues, do they protect licensed designers from competition? Should Younts be stripped of the career it took her decades to build? Should President Obama be worried about his interior designer, the unlicensed Michael Smith? Jump into the throw-pillow fight and decide for yourself.
"Throw-Pillow Fight" is written and produced by Ted Balaker. Director of photography is Roger Richards.