By Amy Coombs, MSW | Photography by Amy Coombs and Julie McHood
The art of authentic advocacy is not something taught in school. In my experience as a lobbyist and advocate for the interior design profession I am asked a lot of questions, the most common of late always being a variation of, “How did you get the architects
to testify on your behalf?” followed by, “Why is legislation important and why
should I care?”
Many of the great and talented interior designers on the Iowa State
Design Coalition working on legislation and professional advocacy expressed
doubts in their ability to create change, but not without a desire to learn.
Answering the question, “Why?” and discovering the “why” is an individual
process where personal meaning develops from inquiry, investigation (data
collection), action, and reflection (evaluation). The experience of working to
pass Utah’s Commercial Interior Design Certification law earlier this year is
an illustration of why interior designers should care about legislation and
UT SB117 allows interior designers, who were prohibited from independently
practicing above 3,000 square feet in commercial spaces, to do so. It formally
recognizes commercial interior design as a profession. The expanded scope
of practice enables qualified interior designers to practice in Occupancies
B & M, removes prohibitions from bidding on state and government design
work in these spaces, allows designers to claim credit and full liability for
their work, maintain ownership of their designs, provides for a signature and
number for permitting purposes, and designates a minimum standard for
qualification as well as establishes continuing education.
Advocating for the interior design profession means standing up for the right
Lobbying for Utah’s Interior Design Law illustrates the significance
of an industry’s local and widespread support and regulation.
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The Salt Lake City Capitol, where interior
design lobbyists and local legislature meet.