The summer issue of the Cato Institute's Regulation magazine has a great article on licensing requirements for interior designers. Turns out that Massachusetts is not among the more regulatory states on this front. "Business-friendly" states including Florida, Nevada, and Texas have laws regulating who can practice the art of "interior design," but the profession is still wide open in the Bay State -- assuming that pending legislation, sponsored in the House by Dorchester's Martin Walsh, doesn't go through.
The Regulation story, by Dick M. Carpenter II and John K. Ross, has a great quote from a George Will column concerning the Nevada law: "In Las Vegas, where almost nothing is illegal, it is illegal -- unless you are licensed, or employed by someone licensed -- to move, in the role of an interior designer, any piece of furniture, such as an armoire, that is more than 69 inches tall." But the American Society of Interior Designers, in a letter to the Washington Post, responded that theirs is a serious business: "If furniture is placed in such a manner that it impedes egress during an emergency, or exit pathways are not appropriately marked or laid out, people will die."
Massachusetts is mentioned in the Regulation story as one state where some designers have organized against regulation,and against the ASID. The Boston Business Journal reported on the issue last year (when there was still a possibility of a bill passing in 2007) and noted licensing requirements could be a way for the state "to generate revenue."
Thanks to Marginal Revolution for the tip.