Statewide licensing for private investigators is proposed
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Statewide licensing for private investigators is proposed

Date: February 5, 2007
By: Matt Tilden
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Private investigators could be subjected to statewide scrutiny if a bill proposed by Sen. Harry Kennedy, D-St. Louis County, passes.

On Monday, the Senate Financial Committee heard Kennedy's bill, which would create a statewide board to license and regulate private investigators throughout the state. 

Kennedy's bill would allow current private investigators to become certified if they have been in good standing as a business for two years and provide proof of liability and workers' compensation insurance.  It would also require continuing educational requirements for all licensees. 

Kennedy, who has proposed identical legislation the past three years, said that Missouri was one of only six states in the country to not have statewide licensure and cited the need for oversight of private instigators as his reason for sponsoring the legislation.

Kevin Burgdorf, treasurer of the Missouri Association of Private Investigators, testified in favor of the proposal and said that the intent of the legislation was not to destroy competition from other private investigators, but rather to protect customers from private investigators with insufficient credentials.

"Our only request, at the passing of this bill, is simply to regulate, dictate a standard of operating procedures.  We're not trying to put people out of business."

Tim Oliver, a private investigator in Boone County for 25 years, has been involved in lobbying against similar private investigator regulation bills.  He has also lobbied in favor of License-To-Carry legislation in the past.  Oliver believes that the proposal is an unnecessary intrusion by the government into private investigator profession.

"I can tell you, I don't want more government intervention and involvement in my personal life or in my business life as a private investigator.  There has been absolutely no public or press outcry for this legislation to pass. I mean, nobody wants it except Missouri Association of Private Investigators."

He also said he believes that the licensing fees that would be created by the legislation would create an unfair burden on private investigators.