By Paul Simon
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
A bill requiring Colorado private investigators to obtain licenses from the state by July 1, 2015 passed the Senate by a single vote Thursday despite vocal opposition from senators calling it a largely unwanted, unnecessary and costly burden on those in the profession.
The 18-17 vote – on straight party lines with Democrats favoring passage and Republicans opposed – came after sporadic debate over several days. In the process an amendment was attached which would let a debt estimated at $55,000 from the voluntary licensing program that has been in place for two years be paid off over the next six years from fees paid by private investigators, rather than being made up by taxpayers. Program revenue estimates are based on a fiscal analysis projecting 400 investigators paying $300 a year to be licensed.
Bill sponsor Sen. Linda Newell, D-Denver, said licensing would protect Coloradoans from a few “bad apples,” and that Colorado suffers from more of them because it’s one of a handful of state in the country that don’t license investigators. “Colorado is now a hotbed for those who have been denied licenses in other states to come here, put up a shingle without absolutely anything to prove they have the knowledge of relevant Colorado laws,” she said, noting that no one would know if they were previously convicted felons elsewhere.
But Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, countered the bill is a jobs killer. He warned that former law enforcement officers who perform investigative work part-time have said, “If you require us to go through all the hoops of licensing, ‘I’m out of here. It’s not worth the trouble.’”