Well, it looks as if the bill to license PIs is back on track after a lot of wrangling in the Senate and is on its way to the House in much the same form as it was introduced in February. The “agency” language was stripped (along with the higher fees, increased oversight by DORA and the language that threatened to keep new PIs out of the profession).
There was a comment on an earlier post of mine (by Rick Johnson) that the agency language was just another example of how PPIAC likes to dangle carrots and then switch. Its my understanding that it was PPIAC took the lead in opposing the agency language and returning the bill to its original form. If that’s the case, I think PPIAC leadership should be congratulated on sticking to their guns and making sure the bill that was introduced into the Senate is what will be sent to the House…and hopefully the Governor. Instead of accusing PPIAC of a bait and switch, there should have been an extreme amount of outcry over how special interest groups and individuals were hijacking this bill to fit their own situation.
Let’s face it – that agency amendment was just a result of someone’s (or a small group’s) personal agenda. But the net result of that amendment was was extremely threatening to not only agencies, but to single operators as well. As I said in an earlier post, it would have given DORA the authority to mandate how you supervised employees and it would have kept a lot of people from being in business, since DORA had the authority to decide who could or couldn’t be “an agency”. Kudos to those that listened to the small operator and returned the bill to its original form.
I watched the debate on the Senate floor online. It absolutely kills me how Senator Balmer and others seem to get their facts wrong. Senator Balmer was going on about how “ten or so” private investigators we re pushing this bill, and that they represent 1% of the total PIs in Colorado. Simple math says that he believes, then, that there are 1,000 PIs is Colorado. And that the VAST MAJORITY of PIs in Colorado are ex-law enforcement and military. But what really got me was the fact that he voted in favor of mandatory licensing last year. Kinda reminds me of someone else that championed mandatory regulation in years past, but suddenly is against.
So I return to a position of support for the bill. I was leaning no with that agency BS. I had even sent an email to my senator expressing concern. But getting back to the original bill is a good thing and I think it returns to addressing the issue of protecting the public without too much regulation. It keeps the criminals out and requires that you pass a test to make sure everyone understands the laws with respect to operating as a PI. There is a lot being said by opponents about how we don’t need regulation to “protect the public”, and opponents say there are criminal laws and civil remedies to answer that issue. But we pass laws all the time to not only address what has happened…but also as to what is possible or probable. Inexperienced PIs that think its a good idea to track their subjects using GPS devices are (I believe) just ignorant to the law. Requiring them to pass a test that demonstrates they know it’s illegal to do so (in most cases) will prevent incidents (like the one in Weld County a couple of years ago) from happening in the first place. Lets assume that the guy that did that just didn’t understand the legalities. Had he been aware, he probably would have avoided the criminal charges that were filed against him. So a bill that requires a test is a good thing, especially for those that are new to the profession.
I don’t know for sure who was leading the fight to get the bill back to what was introduced. I suspect it was probably PPIAC Chairman Chris Bray and President Steve Davis, but I have no direct knowledge. They’re a logical choice since they are at the top of the PPIAC. But regardless of who was responsible, they have my thanks for leading the fight to keep the fees reasonable, championing the little guy, and doing the hard work of bringing mandatory regulation to Colorado.