Iowa Interior Designers Celebrate Practice Rights Legislation Bill

May 10, 2023
New bill shows collaborative industry efforts to provide registered interior designers with independent practice rights.

Efforts from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), national and Great Plains regional chapters of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), as well as support from the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ), have led to the unanimous passing of Senate File 135 (SF 135): a practice rights bill signed into law on April 27, 2023, by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Passage of this bill confirms the key role interior design plays in the built environment and reinforces the critical role of interior designers as stewards of health, safety, and well-being.

SF 135 was introduced and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Chris Cournoyer (R) and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Cindy Golding (R). Local IIDA-IA chapter members, in conjunction with ASID, CIDQ, and IIDA, held several meetings with the American Institute of Architects-IA component to draft language for the bill. SF 135 was voted unanimously out of every subcommittee, committee, and floor vote, demonstrating the power of collaboration.

“Advocacy by interior designers, instructors and students on this issue was an important part of why this bill was able to pass through the Iowa legislature. It was an honor to work on a bill that will help business owners in Iowa take ownership of their work and grow their businesses. I look forward to seeing how this bill will help keep interior design students in Iowa where they can do what they do best!” said bill sponsor, Iowa Senator Chris Cournoyer.

The legislation refines the scope of interior design practice and provides permitting privileges to allow registered interior designers to stamp and seal interior construction plans, confirming interior designers’ role as qualified professionals whose work protects and advances occupant health safety and well-being. The modernized legislation recognizes the extensive education and knowledge of interior designers concerning safety solutions in the built environment, including ADA-friendly features and safety codes.

“This legislation is yet another example of a state confirming the impressive qualifications and extensive expertise of interior designers,” said ASID CEO Khoi Vo. “ASID is grateful to the legislators, organizational partners, and advocates that have allowed Iowa to become the latest jurisdiction to recognize the interior design profession’s value and important role in protecting the public. ASID is committed to advocating for our members, the profession, and the public as we continue to utilize the national momentum around practice rights.”

“This collaborative effort and modernizing legislation recognize that NCIDQ-Certified interior designers are qualified to protect the public in independent practice," said CIDQ CEO Thom Banks. “We thank Senator Cournoyer and Representative Golding for their support of this legislation and commend the efforts of advocates for reasonable regulation on their collaboration towards the shared goal of protecting public safety.”

“We’re proud to have been a part of bringing the profession of interior design and its far-reaching impact into focus in Iowa,” said IIDA EVP and CEO Cheryl S. Durst. “With our chapters, partners and allies, IIDA will continue to advocate for recognition that significantly empowers designers and firms, including many small business owners, but also impacts all our daily lives. When the places we frequent are safe, healthy and welcoming to all, we all benefit — and it is designers who ensure that those standards are upheld.”

Capitalizing on recent momentum recognizing the importance of the interior design profession, this legislation follows the passage of similar bills in 2022 (Illinois, Wisconsin) and 2021 (North Carolina) that accurately and comprehensively reflect the education, experience, and examination-based knowledge of the modern-day interior design profession.

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