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Apr 25, 2022 By IIDA HQ
Wisconsin Passes Historic Legislation
Wisconsin Senate Bill 344 was signed into law on March 18, 2022 providing stamp and seal provisions for interior designers
By IIDA HQ Apr 25, 2022
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Wisconsin’s Senate Bill 344 (SB 344) was passed March 18, 2022, providing interior designers in Wisconsin with stamp and seal provisions, widening the scope of interior design, and removing several barriers from voluntary interior designer registration. SB344 gives Wisconsin Registered Interior Designers (WRIDs) the right to stamp and seal their own non-structural, non-exterior permitting documents and construction documents.

IIDA, ASID, and CIDQ advocates in Wisconsin supported lobbying initiatives through their respective organizations and connected with lawmakers to discuss what interior designers actually do, and the importance of recognition in this profession. The bill reinforces the critical role of WRIDS who protect occupant health and safety in their work through robust practice rights and a strong scope of practice. This legislation represents a major step in recognition for interior designers making important progress for this profession. We asked IIDA-WI Advocacy VP Laura Schade Stroik, IIDA, WRID who is at the forefront of advocacy at our Wisconsin Chapter during the passing of this legislation.

Tell us a little bit about your history – what got you interested in interior design, IIDA, and ultimately how you became interested in being involved in advocacy work?

I came to interior design as a non-traditional student who wanted to impact how people occupied their spaces. Over the course of my education, I heard about potential changes to stamp and seal rights, but did not know how or when they might happen. Once I moved to Wisconsin, the idea became more concrete in my mind. It became especially important as I graduated from a student into an emerging professional, and now as a professional.

My role in advocacy was accidental. I wanted to help the Wisconsin Chapter, however I reside in Central Wisconsin, and could not always drive to meetings in Milwaukee or Madison. I sent a request to become a volunteer and ended up on the Advocacy Committee. Shortly after that, I became the chair and it snowballed from there. While I chaired the committee, I also studied and passed the NCIDQ, and became a Wisconsin Registered Interior Designer (WRID). It is exciting to be part of something incredibly impactful to the profession.

IIDA-WI Advocacy VP Laura Schade Stroik, IIDA, WRID
IIDA-WI Advocacy VP Laura Schade Stroik, IIDA, WRID

What does the team look like that worked to achieve Senate Bill 344, and how did you get here?

Since Governor Tony Evers signed, it is now the 2021 Wisconsin Act 195! Our IIDA team consists of former VP of Advocacy, Melissa Destree, IIDA, AIA, and three other professional members. We are a small, yet mighty group. We worked with the Wisconsin ASID chapter to host a joint Capitol Day and CEU, social media outreach, and more. This created a consistent message to all interior designers throughout the state. Truthfully, both organizations and our lobbyists worked hard to drive Phone2Action letters and inform interior designers how legislation can impact their profession, and how to connect with legislators. This legislation would not have passed without a cohesive team.

This bill broadly achieves voluntary professional registration, stamp and seal, and establishes the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) – is there anything else we should know about?

Yes! Part of the legislation includes adding seats to the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Examining Board for Architects, Landscape Architects, Professional Engineers, Designers, and Professional Land Surveyors, which provides and creates the oversight for the legislation. Once the rules are in place, then registered interior designers can start applying for their stamps. Sadly, it does not happen overnight and it can take quite a while depending on the State and how soon the appointments are made. The applicants being considered for these seats include ASID members, IIDA members, and educators—people who we feel represent the profession well.

What advice do you have for other advocacy chapters—in terms of participation, collaboration, relationship building, or anything else you see as important?

Here is my advice. Be open to any and all ideas. Over the past year, I’ve heard great suggestions in advocacy webinars, from legislators, lobbyists, and more. QR Codes can be great, especially when asking friends and colleagues to sign up for Phone2Action or events. Site visits are key! Invite legislators to visit colleges, firms, and more.

Be consistent in your messaging to legislators. My legislators only heard from me regarding interior design legislation. It is important to inform them since legislators do not always have the time to do the research. I called and spoke to staffers, emailed, and wrote thank-you notes. And get students involved! They are next in line and the best people to get parents and family excited about this kind of legislation. Additional Phone2Action touchpoints or emails are always a good thing for grassroots efforts.

What’s next? Now that you’ve achieved this bill, where do you go from here, what’s the next goal post?

The next big goal is registering more NCIDQ-certified designers as WRIDS. Without the legislation, many feel that registration is an unnecessary cost. The legislation is a game-changer, and it is important to put some meaningful numbers behind it. Additionally, I would like to add a bit of student outreach and host a CEU regarding the stamp and seal process.

Read more about Wisconsin’s historic bill here, and learn more about getting involved in your IIDA Chapter’s Advocacy efforts.

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