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!

Arkansas Legislature Debates Amendment to State Constitution to Protect Right to Hunt

In March, the Arkansas legislature began debating Senate Joint Resolution 1 which would create a ballot item which, if approved, would amend that state’s constitution to create a right to hunt, fish and trap.

The proposed amendment reads, in part,

(a) Hunting, trapping, fishing, and the taking of wild animals, birds,
and fish are a valued part of our heritage and will be forever preserved for
the people of Arkansas.

No part of this Amendment shall be deemed to supersede Amendment
35 of the Arkansas Constitution or the Game and Fish Commission’s authority
to promulgate rules and regulations consistent with Amendment 35 and this

The Arkansas Fish and Game Commission has expressed concern that the amendment might undermine its ability to regulate hunting, fishing and trapping in the state, which lead the sponsors of the proposed amendment to modify language that was seen as undermining Amendment 35 of the state constitution which created the Fish and Game Commission and empowered it to oversee wildlife conservation in the state.

The amendment was also modified after some feared it would allow hunters to hunt on private property even where property owners did not want hunters.

Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Jodie Mahoney, argued that the amendment was not needed since hunting and fishing are not currently threatened in Arkansas.

Sen. Steve Faris, who co-chairs the joint committee writing the amendment, disagreed noting that hunting, fishing and trapping have come under assault from animal rights activists in other states,

This puts a mechanism in the (state) constitution for hunting and fishing to be forever protected. It’s a sacred thing for this state.

Under Arkansas’ constitution, an amendment only requires that a majority of the both houses of legislature approve it, followed by a majority of voters at the following subsequent election. Currently, supporters of the amendment are aiming to have it on the November 2006 ballot.

The full text of the proposed amendment can be read here.


‘Right’ word proves irksome. Seth Blomely, March 18, 2005.

Joint committee debates proposed constitutional amendments. Wesley Brown, Arkansas News, March 18, 2005.

Arkansas SJR 1 – Constitutional Amendment to Protect Hunting, Fishing and Trapping

State of Arkansas

As Engrossed: S3/7/05 S3/23/05 S3/28/05 S3/29/05

85th General Assembly
Regular Session, 2005


By: Senators Faris, Altes, Critcher, Baker, Wilkinson, Broadway, J. Bookout, Glover, Horn, G. Jeffress, J. Jeffress, B. Johnson, Laverty, Miller, T. Smith, J. Taylor, Trusty, Whitaker, Womack, WooldridgeBy: Representatives Sumpter, Burris, Jeffrey, Pyle, R. Green, Abernathy, Adams, Schulte, Davenport, Glidewell, Kidd, Rankin, D. Creekmore, Thyer, Ragland, Wood, Mathis, L. Evans, Rosenbaum, Hardwick, Pickett, J. Johnson, Edwards, Maxwell, Thompson, McDaniel, Dunn, Berry, Blount, Bond, Childers, Clemons, Cook, Davis, Dickinson, D. Evans, George, T. Hutchinson, Mack, J. Martin, Medley, Pate, Petrus, S. Prater, Reep, Sample, Scroggin, Sullivan, Thomason, Verkamp, Walters, Wills, Wyatt




That the following is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and upon being submitted to the electors of the state for approval or rejection at the next general election for Senators and Representatives, if a majority of the electors voting thereon at the election, adopt the amendment, the amendment shall become a part of the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, to wit:

SECTION 1. Preservation of hunting, trapping, and fishing.

(a) Hunting, trapping, fishing, and the taking of wild animals, birds, and fish are a valued part of our heritage and will be forever preserved for the people of Arkansas.

(b) No part of this Amendment shall be deemed to supersede Amendment 35 of the Arkansas Constitution or the Game and Fish CommissionÂ’s authority to promulgate rules and regulations consistent with Amendment 35 and this Amendment.

(c) Fish and wildlife shall be managed consistent with Amendment 35 to the Arkansas Constitution. The people of Arkansas shall be provided with the continued opportunity to take, by traditional means and methods, species traditionally pursued by hunters, anglers, and trappers. Fish and wildlife management, including taking, shall be consistent with the StateÂ’s duty to protect this heritage and its duty to conserve wild animals, birds, and fish. Hunting, fishing, or trapping by sportsmen shall always be a means of controlling all invasive or overpopulated species.

(d) The right of the people to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest game shall not be abridged without due process of law.

(e) It is the public policy of the State of Arkansas to promote the public and private acquisition, approval, construction, and operation of shooting ranges and other facilities where people may acquire and enhance their training and skills to hunt and harvest game safely, efficiently, and humanely.

(f) This Amendment shall not be construed to alter:

(1) Common law or statutes relating to trespass, eminent domain, or any other public or private property rights; or

(2) Laws concerning firearms;

(3) The legislative powers of municipalities and counties; or

(4) The sovereign immunity of the State of Arkansas.

SECTION 2. This amendment shall become effective on January 1, 2007.

/s/ Faris

Animal Rights Activists Suspects in Taxidermy Studio Vandalism

Animal rights activists were apparently responsible for vandalizing Sopher’s Taxidermy near Craighead, Arkansas.

Owner Dan Sopher told KAIT TV that someone broke into the shop sometime late the evening of February 1 and scrawled anti-hunting messages on the walls. According to Sopher,

The stuff that’s on the walls is like no hunt, no kill, bambi killers and some obscene words I can’t use here. I suspect it was an attempt to take a slam at the hunters and fisherman by some anti-hunting group.


Craighead taxidermist vandalized by animal rights activists. KAIT, February 2, 2005.

PETA's Semi-Nude Circus Protests

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals apparently has yet another semi-nude woman stunt to protest circuses. KAIT in Arkansas reports that,

Wendy Girard, of California, lay on the ground scantily clad with shackles and painted on bruises in PETA’s protests of the upcoming Ringling Brothers Circus in Jonesboro.

PETA’s Brandy Valladolid said of the group’s tactics,

People may certainly disagree with our tactics but I think they can still walk away with information that allows them to walk away with compassionate choices that helps the lives of animals.

I suspect, though, that most circus goers probably walk away thinking what an unidentified Jonesboro resident is quoted as saying in the KAIT story, “I think it’s kinda stupid myself.”


Demonstrators protest upcoming circus. KAIT, August 24, 2004.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Opposes New Anti-Cruelty Statute

The Associated Press reports that the Arkansas state Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously to oppose a ballot measure that would create a new animal-cruelty statute.

The ballot measure, which voters will decide on in the November election, would make the most violent acts of animal cruelty Class D felonies punishable by up to six years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The Game and Fish Commission, however, argues that the law is worded vaguely and that groups supporting the anti-cruelty measure might try to use it to outlaw fishing and hunting in the state.

Game and Fish Commission chairman Jim Hinkle told the Associated Press,

Certain groups that are supporting this act are on record as wanting to eliminate hunting and fishing in Arkansas. Additionally, there are too many loopholes in the act, which may make judicial interpretation problematic.

Lyndon Poole, campaign coordinator for the Arkansas Animal Cruelty Act, responded by claiming that the very vagueness of the law would prevent hunting and fishing from being considered acts of animal cruelty.

So vague laws are good laws? Since when?

As a result of its vote, the Game and Fish Commission will join a coalition called Arkansans for Responsible Animal Laws that is opposing the measure.


Game and Fish votes to fight animal cruelty measure. Brian Skoloff, Associated Press, September 27, 2002.