Apr 01, 2024 By Jessica Jones
Missouri’s Advocacy Roadmap
A state-wide tour advocating for the rights of Missouri's interior designers
By Jessica Jones Apr 01, 2024
Published in Articles

Dive into the heart of design advocacy with IIDA Gateway Chapter VP of Advocacy, Kelly Kirtland, IIDA, who shares the latest on Missouri's legislative efforts to empower interior designers. The goal? Expanding the Title Act to allow designers to sign and seal their non-structural drawings, recognizing their expertise. Kirtland discusses the statewide tour with the Consortium for Interior Design, highlighting the push for the new legislation and the impact of Senator Tracy McCreery's support in St. Louis. She stresses the importance of education and involvement in the profession's advancement, illustrating the strength of collective advocacy through the Consortium's support and a robust network across Missouri's IIDA and ASID chapters. Looking ahead, she details plans to keep the community engaged and informed, underlining the importance of collaboration in achieving legislative success for interior designers in Missouri. In conversation she discusses the journey, challenges, and future strategies that promise to impact interior design at large.

What is Missouri's current legislative status, and what does the new legislation you're pursuing entail?

Missouri currently holds a Title Act with voluntary registration with the state. We are looking to expand our Title Act to include permitting privileges meaning that registered interior designers in Missouri would have the ability to sign and seal drawings that are non-load bearing, non-seismic, and non-structural as we are qualified and tested to do.

Can you provide an overview of the key objectives and messages you aimed to convey during the tour of Kansas City, St. Louis, and Columbia regarding the new legislation?

We have been working diligently with the Consortium for Interior Design and were so honored to host the Advocacy Directors, Marci Merola (IIDA), Lauren Early (ASID), and Matthew Barusch (CIDQ) in both Kansas City and St. Louis, with a stop in Colombia at Missouri University. As this legislation was introduced to session this year, it was important to ensure that our local interior design communities are informed of our efforts and to explain how this bill will affect and strengthen our profession. Our IIDA and ASID chapters have been working together and this happy hour event was a great way for the two organizations and their members to come together and connect as we advocate for one another.

The Consortium began its Missouri tour in Kansas City and held a roundtable discussion at PURE Workplace, explaining the national efforts of this legislation and what has been accomplished in other states, as well as how this bill will affect our Missouri interior designers. It was a great discussion and well attended as professionals are eager to learn and advocate for this advancement. The group then traveled to St. Louis stopping in Colombia at Missouri University where they met with students and explained the importance of the NCIDQ, getting involved in local professional organizations, and becoming a registered interior designer in Missouri. They then arrived in St. Louis where a similar round table discussion was held at Lamar Johnson Collaborative, and we were privileged to host Senator McCreery who is supporting our bill and introducing it to the Senate. We were able to tour her around the firm showing examples of the work that we do. Senator McCreery’s attendance was so impactful to our interior design community as the group was able to hear her thoughts and motivations to advocate for our profession. She has been instrumental to our efforts and we were so glad to host her and show her a glimpse of the daily life and responsibilities of an interior designer.

What were some of the main concerns or questions from members during the tour, and how were they addressed?

Many members understood that this legislation would strengthen our profession and were interested in how this might affect their careers, and many were curious about how they might get involved. Guests asked questions about how to get registered in Missouri, and how to talk to other professionals in their offices about this effort. Education and communication are important as we work to get this bill passed.

Given the Consortium for Interior Design's commitment to collaborative advocacy, how do you see this effort influencing the push for legal recognition and regulation of the interior design profession in Missouri?

Working with the Consortium has been instrumental in getting this bill drafted and introduced to the Senate. Its continued support and experience watching this become a national effort allows them perspectives from other states which has, in turn, strengthened our conversations at a state level. The partnership between IIDA, ASID, and CIDQ mirrors our own in Missouri as we are working alongside our local chapters IIDA Gateway, IIDA MidAmerica, ASID Missouri East, and ASID Missouri West to advocate for one another.

Looking forward, how does the IIDA Missouri chapter plan to continue engaging with and mobilizing the interior design community to support this legislation?

We have always maintained open communication with professionals about this movement and our goals for this bill and to strengthen the interior design profession in Missouri. The more communication that we have with our members the more involvement we are getting. We have had so many people reach out excited to support. Our first Senate hearing was March 14th and we were overwhelmed with the level of support at the capital and at home. As we develop relationships with senators and house representatives we are traveling to Jefferson City to educate others about our profession and that our education, experience, and examination qualify us to work to the fullest extent of our professional capabilities. We also plan to have our Advocacy Day in April.

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