Apr 25, 2022 By IIDA HQ
After the Bill: North Carolina
North Carolina Advocacy VP Chelsea Harrell shares the work that follows passing stamp and seal legislation and refocusing on interior designer registration
By IIDA HQ Apr 25, 2022
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Signed into law less than one year ago, North Carolina’s watershed interior design legislation has had an impact nationwide, creating precedent and impetus for legislative action. The well-crafted and agreeable language of Senate Bill 188 (SB188) is serving as a model for other states. Recent wins in Wisconsin, with passage of SB 344 this past March, and Illinois, with HB 4715 awaiting signature by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, after a unanimous vote by Congress, are the latest in advancements for the interior design profession.

With the bill came recognition of interior design as a distinct profession within the state, codifying rights and scope of practice for interior designers, as well as establishing a voluntary state registry for qualified interior designers. Most importantly, the law provides interior designers the ability to stamp and seal construction documents.

Signed by Governor Roy Cooper on July 8, 2021, SB 188 was the culmination of years of activism. But this historic signing doesn’t represent the end of the hard work. IIDA Carolinas Advocacy VP Chelsea Harrell, IIDA, describes tasks ahead for North Carolina’s interior design community, both from a legal and membership perspective, specifically a bid for more registered interior designers (RID) in the state

“Getting to 400 is our top priority,” says Harrell, referring to the goal of reaching 400 RIDs by summer. The increase will not only strengthen the RID force within the state, but will serve pragmatic purposes as well, with the fees helping to sustain administering the registrations. “This bill has created a pathway for us,” says Harrell, “and we need to keep educating people on the importance of being a registered interior designer. There’s weight that goes along with that.”

The bill, now law, is headed into the Rules phase, where the newly renamed North Carolina Board of Architecture and Interior Designers will outline a new scope of practice for interior design—the Board consists of three RID, five architects, and two public members. The goal is to have as many registered interior designers as possible in the state to demonstrate both the need and merit for the expanded rights for the profession. Harrell is hopeful about this work, as she reflects on what transpired to make SB 188 a success:

IIDA Carolinas Advocacy VP Chelsea Harrell, IIDA
IIDA Carolinas Advocacy VP Chelsea Harrell, IIDA

“We all came to the table with open hearts and open minds,” says Harrell. “We had the right people at the table to have the right conversations."

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