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Summary: The Occupations Code sets up the rules for how certain professions or groups of like-professions are to establish their processes for applications, permits, renewals and fees. HB 1717 would change the code for the board of Architectural Examiners and Interior Designers by making it harder to apply for a license as well as increasing the fees and penalties.
Analysis: We recommend that house members vote against this legislation. HB 1717 would require citizens to submit to a fingerprint background check in order to even apply for a license to be an architect. It would also require current architects to undergo these background checks in order to renew their license as well. Criminal background checks for this profession are excessive. The Sunset Review Commission recommended the Board add background checks only because other agencies use them, not because of any empirical evidence that they are necessary. This represents an unnecessary barrier to entry that has no legitimate basis in public safety and serves no public purpose.
Additionally, the Sunset Review Commission has stated that the board does not need to continue to regulate the interior design profession. HB 1717 would require all interior designers to pass an exam before 2016 in order to renew their license.
Requiring background checks for architectural examiners and extending the regulation of interior design are classic protectionist measures which increase barriers to entry and reduce competition for currently practicing professionals. This legislation expands the scope of government, limits individual liberty for people who wish to pursue careers in these fields, and infringes on free markets. We recommend that legislators oppose HB 1717.