Reason on Arkansas’ Ridiculous Interior Designer Licensing

Katherine Mangu-Ward wrote an excellent article for Reason back in November on Arkansas’ idiotic licensing scheme for, of all things, interior designers.

In 22 states, including Arkansas, it is illegal to call yourself an interior designer without going through an arduous and expensive certification process. In Nevada, it’s illegal to do interior design without a license. That’s right, advising someone about drapes could land you in the hoosegow.

Like many states, Arkansas has an Interior Design Board. The sole purpose of this board is to register interior designers. The IJ paper notes that “consumer complaints about interior designers to state regulatory boards are extremely rare. Since 1998 an average of one designer out of every 289 has received a complaint for any reason. Nearly all of those complaints, 94.7 percent, concern whether designers are properly licensed—not the quality of their service.”

The Institute for Justice paper Mangu-Ward is referring to is Dick Carpenter’s Designing Cartels which has a thorough look at such regulations across the nation.

Mangu-Ward’s article is mostly about Arkansas state legislator Dick Greenberg (R) who is attempting to kill regulation of interior decorators there by eliminating funding for the Interior Design Board which is responsible to be registering interior designers. Of course he faces an uphill battle — we can’t just have people running around making interior design recommendations without registering for government permission first!

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