By Simon Crittle
After clearing both houses of the state legislature, the controversial private investigator (PI) licensing bill was this week sent to the governor for signature.
But it’s unclear if Governor Jared Polis will in fact sign or veto the bill, which would renew Colorado’s PI licensing regime for another five years.
The governor vetoed three other licensing bills last year and his own agency, the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is strongly opposed to the PI bill.
At the time the governor vetoed the other bills he also called on the General Assembly to remove other “existing outdated or counterproductive licenses,” pointing to the potential for cost savings for consumers.
Ross Investigators has ask put a list of questions (see below) to the governor's office about the PI licensing bill. At the time of publication, answers had not been received.
HB20-1207 – Sunset Regulation of Private Investigators – this week passed both the General Assembly and the Senate after clearing the House Appropriation Committee unamended.
However, the bill was amended in the General Assembly with a “safety clause” added by bill sponsor Democratic Rep. Jovan Melton which said: “The General Assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety."
Under the private eye law, since 2015, 77 complaint files were opened and only eight disciplinary actions taken.
Of those, six were conditional licenses, issued to individuals because of behaviour prior to being licensed, not after.
Of the remaining actions, two were dispensed to one individual who was issued a letter of admonition as well as a practice stipulation for harassment against another private investigator.
No private investigator licenses have been revoked under the current law.
Private investigators have been regulated by DORA since 2011. Requirements to obtain a private investigator’s license include being at least 21 years old, submitting an application, passing a background check, passing a jurisprudence exam, posting a surety bond and paying fees.
The bills Governor Polis vetoed last year were supposed to regulate managers of homeowner associations, genetic counselors and sports agents.
In vetoing the bills, Governor Polis last year wrote: “Our hope is that this will allow more people to work, to access various services and to make sure that licenses protect consumers from harm — not industry insiders from competition.”
Ross Investigators has put the following questions to the governor's office:
1) Is Governor Polis going to sign or veto the bill? Either way, why is going to do what he is going to do?
2) If he is in fact going to sign it, does he not agree with the findings of DORA’s review of the law and recommendations it be scraped. Or if he is going to veto the bill, does he in fact agree with what DORA says?
3) Last year Governor Polis vetoed several other licensing bills and called on lawmakers to reconsider sponsoring licensing bills. Does the governor still feel the same way about licensing regimes?
4) Does the governor feel that private investigators play an important role in Colorado gathering information, generally on behalf of law firms, for the purpose of preparing legal cases?
Sign-up for email alerts to follow the latest developments in the world of private investigators.