As PPIAC President Steve Davis reported to our membership yesterday, SB14-133 Mandatory Regulation of Private Investigators was again amended in a Senate committee hearing – the second major amendment in as many hearings. However, unlike most amendments that typically change a bill’s direction or intent, the second amendment did just the opposite by returning the bill to (almost) the original language as introduced.
PPIAC applauds the courage of the bill sponsor, Senator Linda Newell, for realizing that the amendment that changed the basic concept of her original bill was not in the best interest of the industry professionals and small businesses that came together in the Stakeholder Meetings that were held before the General Assembly convened in January. The clear consensus of the groups that met prior to the 2014 General Session was that any regulatory measure that would be introduced should protect the general public from harm without creating undue burden on legitimate private investigators or those that wish to enter the profession.
The first amendment to the bill focused on protecting agencies that have multiple investigators on their payroll. While PPIAC agrees with the noble intent to protect employers from regulation that could raise the costs of maintaining a workforce, the unintended consequence of the amendment was a steep increase in license fees for 80% of the private investigators operating in Colorado – while also raising fees for agencies the amendment was intended to protect in the first place. The amendment also contained language that threatened to create a barrier to entry into the profession by requiring owners of an agency to submit proof of an undetermined and subjective amount of experience before they could operate an agency (and therefore hire other investigators). But to the entrepreneur that sought to open their own agency, it sounded the death knell for business opportunity. Finally, it gave the State of Colorado too much control in how an agency owner would or could operate their own business by giving DORA the authority to adopt rules on how agencies must supervise employees. Hopeful entrepreneurs, sole practitioners, agency owners and even opponents of basic licensing had to agree that all of this was dangerous language.
As SB14-133 heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee with its original language, PPIAC hopes that opponents of licensing will realize that it is not our goal to create or support any regulation that could force any legitimate operator out of business (whether it is a part-time practitioner or a new business). We encourage all professional investigators (and their respective organizations) to join us in support of this bill, now that it has been returned to the originally introduced language, concept and intent.
Undergo a background check, pass a jurisprudence exam and maintain some form of liability insurance – while keeping licensing fees to practitioners reasonable. These are all basic concepts that PPIAC supports.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado