By Simon Crittle
A decision by Governor Jared Polis to veto a bill, which would have continued the requirement that private investigators in Colorado be licensed, has been met with anger by the bill’s proponents.
Issuing his veto, effectively killing off PI licensing, Governor Polis said "licensing rarely serves to protect the public from harm, and instead usually served incumbent license-holders as a barrier for entry for new competition including many retired officers of the peace.”
But under the headline, “Consumer BEWARE! Colorado now one of only 5 states that DO NOT require a PI to be licensed!” Andrea Orozco, president of the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado wrote, “Governor Polis with the swipe of a pen repealed licensing in Colorado.”
“Background checks, surety bonds and demonstrating a knowledge of the laws are no longer in place to protect the public, consumers and subjects of investigations.”
Rep. Jovan Melton, an Aurora Democrat and main sponsor of House Bill 1207 – Sunset Regulation of Private Investigators – said he thought the governor’s veto would hurt the state’s private investigator industry.
“I don’t think the governor made a good decision on this,” Melton told the Colorado Sun. “I think he chose to protect his staff over the people of Colorado.”
Melton was referring to staff working at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), which administers PI licensing and vehemently opposed the bill. Last year DORA issued a scathing report which said licensing in Colorado was unnecessary as complaints against PIs were “virtually non-existent.”
“That to me shows the program is working the way it should be,” Melton said.
Melton said not having a licensing regime in Colorado meant private investigators could find it difficult to get insured.
The governor’s veto ends Colorado’s 9-year-old PI licensing regime as his signature was needed to extend existing regulations for another five years.
In vetoing the bill, Governor Polis, who last year vetoed three other unrelated licensing bills, said “licensing is often not superior to other forms of consumer protection.”
“Too often it is used to protect existing professionals within an occupation against competition from newcomers entering that occupation,” said the governor in a letter explaining his reasoning.
"Licensing in the United States has at times prevented traditionally economically disadvantaged people from having the ability to access occupations."
Governor Polis noted that the PI licensing regime didn’t require continuing education or any “real test” of competency and instead required only an “open-book” jurisprudence exam.
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