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Nov 24, 2021 By IIDA HQ
Wisconsin Eyes Stamp and Seal
Six years in the making, SB344 in Wisconsin provides registered interior designers in Wisconsin stamp and seal provisions as soon as 2022.
By IIDA HQ Nov 24, 2021
Published in Advocacy

Wisconsin is poised to be the next state to achieve stamp and seal provisions for registered interior designers, a far cry from 2016, when they faced being deregulated, losing their title act status. Just the year before, interior design advocates from IIDA and ASID in Wisconsin dissolved their coalition in order to better support lobbying initiatives through their respective organizations, while still working together.

Facing the possibility of deregulation, they applied for and were awarded IIDA’s Advocacy Grant, which they used to better support their work engaging lobbyists and educating legislators about the scope of the profession. The momentum that advocates and their lobbyists were able to achieve in the state was so successful that they decided to push for stamp and seal provisions.

SB344, Wisconsin’s bill that would give Wisconsin Registered Interior Designers (WRIDs) the right to stamp and seal their own non-structural, non-exterior permitting documents is a huge step forward from the current state as a title act. In the Advocacy Workshop “Building a Better Advocate” session, Melissa Destree, IIDA, AIA, Wisconsin VP of Advocacy discusses how relationship building and education are at the core of their success, and that the best way to reach legislators is where they’re at. By attending fundraisers across the states, members were able to connect personally with lawmakers and discuss high-visibility projects that they are already aware of, that were near their homes, or in their communities.

She gives the example of “Hi I’m Melissa, I just did the airport in LaCrosse county, that’s your county! It just won an award—don’t you love the interior and way-finding of this airport?” You approach them about a project that they know about and the lightbulb turns on. They realize, wow, an interior designer did that, I just thought an engineer did that.

With a team of about 20 IIDA and ASID members working on this, legislators became more aware of what interior designers really do, why it’s important to be recognized, and became enthusiastic about getting on board with the legislation. Even when concerns were raised about life safety, advocates saw it as an opportunity to share the ways that interior designers are educated on and provide for public safety and the safety of those using the spaces, eventually achieving an endorsement from the Milwaukee Fire Association.

Melissa also notes that reaching out to the bill authors after the bill was passed through the State Senate is an important part of relationship maintenance, and helps ensure that you have familiar faces that want to continue working for you.

You can read more about the bills, Senate Bill 344(SB 344), and Assembly Bill 320 (AB 320), and sign up for the Phone2Action campaign and to directly contact legislators to answer any questions and concerns or provide updates.

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