Three months after Governor Jared Polis vetoed a bill designed to continue the licensing regime for Colorado private investigators, effectively killing off licensing, the state government is still asking PIs to renew their licenses.
According to a document released by the Department of Regulator Agencies (DORA), PIs who didn’t renew their licenses at the appropriate time in May – before the governor issued his veto – are required to renew their licenses now.
“A private investigator who let his or her license lapse during the last renewal period is required to apply for reinstatement if they wish to continue practicing as a private investigator,” says DORA’s “FAQ” document about the windup of the regime.
The mixed messages are a result of the fact the governor’s veto didn’t immediately end PI licensing, which will potentially remain in place for another 11 months.
The FAQ says if a new license applicant meets all requirements, a reinstatement will run through May 31, 2021 but potentially could be extended by the division through the expiration of the windup period on August 31, 2021.
It is unclear if a private investigator who only entered the industry in recent months is now supposed to apply for a license, or not.
The delay in ending the licensing regime means Colorado PIs need to maintain their licenses, continue to possess surety bonds and potentially face disciplinary action for breaching licensing regulations under the old licensing rules.
“Complaints (against PIs) will continue to be accepted and processed through the end of the windup period on August 31, 2021,” says the FAQ. “Private investigators are still a regulated entity through that date.
The questions and answers provided by DORA are listed below:
Why will Private Investigators licensing no longer be under the regulatory authority of the Division of Professions and Occupations?
On July 11, 2020, Governor Jared Polis vetoed House Bill 20-1207: Concerning the Continuation of the Regulation of Private Investigators. In his veto letter, he cited the Colorado Office of Policy Research and Regulatory Reform (COPRRR) Sunset Review of this regulatory program and other factors leading to his action. The effect of the veto is that - after a one-year windup period extending through August 31, 2021 - private investigators will no longer be under the regulatory authority of the Division of Professions and Occupations and the Colorado Office of Private Investigator Licensure.
What is a Sunset review?
The Colorado General Assembly sets specific dates that a particular agency, board, or function of government will terminate unless the legislature passes new legislation to continue and the governor signs the legislation into law. So, the “sun sets” on the regulatory program if it is not reauthorized. In Colorado, a sunset review generally questions the need for regulation to protect the public. If regulation is determined to be necessary, the sunset review will look to maintain or establish the least restrictive level of regulation consistent with the public interest.
How long are licenses currently valid?
Licenses currently are valid through May 31, 2021, but could be extended in the future to reflect the expiration of the one-year windup period on August 31, 2021. More information will be sent to licensees closer to the May 31, 2021 expiration date on whether or not licenses will be extended throughout the entirety of the windup period.
Are all licenses invalid effective September 1, 2020?
No, licenses currently are valid through May 31, 2021 but may be extended in the future to reflect the expiration of the windup period. In order to practice, all private investigators must maintain an active license through the one-year wind up period, or up until August 31, 2021.
Will refunds be offered for partial licensure?
Licensure refunds may be issued on a prorated case-by-case basis. More information on how to request a licensure refund will be sent to licensees in the near future.
How long do private investigators need to carry surety bonds?
Surety bonds are required through the entirety of the windup period, or until August 31, 2021.
Will DPO still process new applications for private investigators, and if so, for how long?
Applications are still being accepted and processed through the conclusion of the windup period. Normal application fees will apply, and a person must possess a private investigator license if they wish to practice through the remainder of the wind-up period.
What if I didn’t renew my license in May 2020 but need to reinstate my license?
A private investigator who lets his or her license lapse during the last renewal period is required to apply for reinstatement if they wish to continue practicing as a private investigator. If the applicant meets all requirements, a reinstatement, will run through May 31, 2021 but potentially could be extended by the Division through the expiration of the windup period on August 31, 2021.
How will complaints be handled now that the profession is under a windup period?
Complaints will continue to be accepted and processed through the end of the windup period on August 31, 2021. Private investigators are still a regulated entity through that date.
Can I still be disciplined as a private investigator licensee during the windup period?
Yes, since the program is still in operation until August 31, 2021, the Division has jurisdiction and authority to regulate and discipline licensees.
What happens if I didn’t renew my license?
Private Investigators who did not renew their licenses cannot legally practice as a private investigator in Colorado without a valid license. Private investigators who did not renew during the May renewal period may apply to reinstate their license, and if the application is approved, may practice until May 31, 2021, unless extended due to the windup period.
Who should I contact if I have questions about my license?
Please send an email to DORA_DPO_Licensing@state.co.us for any specific questions you may have regarding your private investigator license.
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