Julie Grace Interior Design Testimony

On May 18, 2021, Badger Institute Policy Analyst Julie Grace testified in favor of 2021 AB 320 before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform.

Read a transcript of Julie's testimony below.

Read more about 2021 AB 320 here.

Representative Sortwell and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for allowing me to testify today in support of Assembly Bill 320, which would streamline the regulatory structure of Wisconsin’s interior design profession. The bill makes two important changes: it removes education and experience requirements from state statute, and it allows registered interior designers to “stamp” their own plans, removing an unnecessary and costly step in the current process.

Based on our prior research on occupational licensing and regulation, we believe this legislation is a step in the right direction and a good model for future reforms to the many other regulated professions in Wisconsin.

First, it removes unnecessary and repetitive requirements from state statute and instead requires that applicants for an interior design registration complete a national exam. The conditions needed to take the exam would no longer be set by the state and would therefore no longer be evaluated and approved by the Department of Safety and Professional Services, freeing up the agency to process other licenses, registrations or certifications.

This bill also eliminates the requirement that architects approve the work that registered interior designers are already trained and qualified to complete. This requirement not only adds to the total cost and time of a project, but undermines the expertise and experience of interior designers who choose to complete the optional registration. Eliminating the duplication of efforts will streamline the process of finalizing design plans and save many interior design small businesses – and their clients – both money and time.

This profession is a good example of the proper level of regulation – an optional registration – corresponding to the risk to public health and safety. As we’ve found through our research, over-regulating professions (often in the form of an occupational license) raises costs for consumers, increases barriers to entry, stifles innovation – often with little to no benefit to public health and safety.

The Badger Institute supports this legislation and sees it as a model for future reform. We urge the Legislature to continue looking for ways to reduce barriers to entry, safely expand scope of practice and align other state requirements for other regulated professions with national standards.

Thank you for hearing my testimony. I’m available to take any questions.