The Interior Designers Are Fighting! In Texas!

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Austin will be the scene for what no doubt will be a very tasteful demonstration and briefing tomorrow, as a little-known civil war between interior designers bursts into the open.

The Institute of Justice, an ACLU-like legal organization, is working with interior designers in Texas to stop what the call "the cartelization" of the industry. Meaning the legislature is being pressured to pass laws requiring interior designers to get licenses.

Because the last thing you want is an unlicensed interior designer. Why, they could....ummmm....allow bad taste in overpriced Texas living rooms?

"Texas is Ground Zero for this cartelization fight," Bob Ewing of the Institute for Justice tells Hair Balls. "There's no better example of an industry seeking laws that don't benefit consumers but do benefit a politically connected group."

The American Society of Interior Designers likes to argue that its members make life-or-death decisions, and poor design can cause fatal accidents, but the evidence on that is a bit thin.

(From the ASID website: "Every decision an interior designer makes in one way or another affects the health, safety and welfare of the public. Those decisions include specifying furniture, fabrics and carpeting that comply with fire codes and space planning that provides proper means of egress.")

Several states have turned back ASID's efforts to get similar laws passed. Now it's Texas's turn.

Because we really wouldn't want any unlicensed designers wreaking havoc in the houses of Texans rich enough to hire interior designers. Our reputation for stately, understated elegant class might go right out the window. The window that's right next to the stuffed head of the 18-point buck.

-- Richard Connelly

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