Fighting the Florida interior designer cartel


Author: Timothy Sandefur

If you want to be an interior designer in Florida, you have to have six years of higher education–just to take the licensing examination. On top of the expense of that schooling, it can cost as much as $2,000 to take the exam, if you count study materials, exam fees, and travel and lodging costs. And what public good is accomplished by imposing all these costs on would-be entrepreneurs? None. Nothing. Nada. Some ten states have issued reports agreeing that there is no evidence that the public is in any danger from people practicing interior design without a license.

No, the real purpose of such laws is to create a cartel, protected against fair competition by government. If you're in Florida, and you have an eye for making people's homes or offices look nice, watch out! Advising people how to decorate an office building can be a crime.

But every American has a right to earn a living without unreasonable interference by the government. That was a cherished common law right as early as 1602, when England's highest court invalidated government-created monopolies. And it's one of tge rights protected against state interference by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Unreasonable licensing laws restrict the economic opportunity that hardworking people need–especially the poor and members of minority groups, who can't afford all these expensive education and testing requirements. And such laws strangle the creative forces of entrepreneurs who have new ideas and deserve the freedom to try them in the marketplace.

That's why PLF's Economic Liberty Project has joined forces with the National Kitchen & Bath Association and our friends at the Institute for Justice in challenging the constitutionality of Florida's unreasonable licensing law. You can read our brief here, and read more about the case here.