Florida’s Senate and Federal Appellate Court Maintain State’s Interior Design Act
Hopes for deregulation of Florida’s interior design act and enforcement regime were dashed late last week when the State Senate voted down a House-sponsored deregulation bill (HB 5005) and the U.S. Court of Appeals in Tallahassee rejected a proposed full-court review of a case challenging the federal constitutionality of Florida’s interior design act. With assistance from the Institute for Justice, NOPA’s sister association, the Office Furniture Dealers Alliance (OFDA) filed amicus briefs in support of the original court appeal and the just-rejected follow-up petition for full-court review of that negative decision.
In recent weeks, HB 5005, a bill to repeal Florida's anti-competitive interior design practice act along with several other professional regulation acts, was passed out of conference committee in agreement by both House and Senate leaders. HB 5005 then became a "conforming bill" to the annual budget, not subject to further amendment, and was returned to the House for approval by a wide margin (80-37). The Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC) notes that no conforming bill in recent Florida history has ever been voted down after the leadership of both chambers had approved it.
Nonetheless, when the bill was then brought to the Senate floor, it hit a brick wall, reportedly due to concerns that the bill had not been previously considered by Senate committees and therefore should be voted down. Lobbying by opponents of deregulation was intense in recent weeks. On the Senate floor, a series of prominent senators spoke against the deregulation bill, which then failed on a final vote of 32-6.
OFDA is now assessing next steps with respect to Florida’s excessive regulation of the practice of interior design. NOPA members with specific concerns or questions are encouraged to contact Chris Bates via email or at 703.549.9040, x 100.