Legislation & PI Licensing Law

1977

PPIAC has a long history of legislative advocacy. In 1977, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the oldest PI licensing law in the country was unconstitutional (see “People v. Ro’Mar” below). PPIAC was formed the following year with the goal of restoring mandatory licensing as one of its main objectives. Over several decades, PPIAC has brought forth multiple efforts to restore licensing.

People v. Ro’Mar

Several early attempts to restore licensing ended in disappointment in the years and decades following the repeal. PPIAC needed to do something different. Ironically, a bill introduced in 2010 which would have put many investigators out of business provided the catalyst to begin the needed relationships with legislators. HB10-1012, known as the anti-surveillance bill, would have severely limited the ability for private investigators to conduct surveillance for insurance purposes. The profession, along with the assistance of several key allies, was able to successfully kill the bill. PPIAC’s newly formed relationship with Senator Linda Newell would prove to be invaluable to the association’s future legislative endeavors.

The following year, PPIAC used this momentum to convince legislators to pass the voluntary PI license bill (HB11-1195) into law. Because of the voluntary nature of this bill and inability to assure both consumer and PI title protection, it was met with uncertainty and was ultimately repealed. PPIAC continued to push for mandatory licensing.

In 2012, PPIAC supported HB12-1231. This bill brought Colorado’s Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) in line with the Federal DPPA and recognized licensed private investigators when requesting DMV records. This bill passed and was signed into law.

In 2013, PPIAC introduced a mandatory PI license bill. Unfortunately, SB13-259 did not pass. The profession was beginning to feel there was no end in sight to the licensing drought. Thankfully, PPIAC’s allies encouraged the association to press forward with licensing.

The very next year, SB14-133 was introduced and passed through the Colorado legislature, finally putting in place a viable and stable PI licensing program. There were concerns of the success of this program after the financial deficit created from the voluntary program was rolled into the mandatory program. However, that deficit was repaid very quickly. Mandatory licensing in Colorado was fully restored in 2015 with the bill and subsequent law that cured the 1977 unconstitutional ruling.

After a successful five year run, the PI law underwent a mandatory sunset review. To the dismay of PPIAC, the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) recommended the sunset of the PI law. According to DORA’s report, “…because the public interest is not protected from clear, understandable harm by the licensing of PIs, the General Assembly should sunset the act.” DORA issued this recommendation despite the copious documentation PPIAC presented, as well as DORA’s own data gathered during their 5-year administration of the program.

2019 Sunset Review

2020-2021

In 2020, PPIAC moved forward with HB20-1207 which would have continued the PI license law for another 5-year period. The bill was overwhelmingly passed at the Capitol with a 48-15 vote with 2 excused in the House, and 28-7 with 1 excused in the Senate. Even with the approval at the Capitol, Governor Jared Polis vetoed the bill on July 11, 2020. The Governor’s veto letter echoed the inaccuracies and contradicting information from DORA’s 2019 Sunset Review.

DORA provided a one year “windup” period and the PI law was fully sunset on August 31, 2021. Despite this latest setback, PPIAC remains committed to bringing Colorado back in line with 44 other states that have a PI licensing law in place. PPIAC’s legislative representation as the voice of the profession in Colorado thus continues to date.

Veto Letter Embargoed

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