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Private Investigator Legislation Updates

  • September 01, 2010
  • by PInow Staff

Nationwide News from NCISS
2010 is an election year, so Congress is expected to be in recess for most of August and not return to Washington until September 13 in order to provide time to go back home to campaign. Given the public's anti-incumbent attitude this year, it is even more likely that Congress will attempt to adjourn for the year in early October as many members of Congress are worried about the election. Major issues are expected to be pushed back until what promises to be a very active "lame duck" session after the election.

HR 5777 - "Best Practices Act". Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced a massive privacy bill in late July that would require notice and consent for the collection and use of some personal information. Congressman Rush chairs the powerful Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade & Consumer Protection. He held a hearing on his bill as well as a draft proposal by Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA). These measures are largely a response to privacy concerns about the collection of information about Internet users and some practices at Google and Facebook. But NCISS is very concerned that these bills are overbroad and could have a severe impact on private investigators. Two other subcommittees also scheduled hearings on online privacy issues prior to the August recess. NCISS is actively communicating with the relevant Members of Congress in order to protect the interests of its members.

S-30/HR 1258 - "Truth in Caller ID Act".
These bills prohibits telephone "spoofing" of caller ID's. These bills have passed both houses of congress. NCISS prefers the specific language of S-30, which makes clear that only those uses of spoofing that cause harm should be limited. NCISS has met with both committee staff and the counsel to Senate sponsor Bill Nelson (D-FL). Senator Nelson is urging that the bill only apply to harmful uses of spoofing. As we go to press, the bills have not been reconciled.

S-3214 - The "Surreptitious Video Surveillance Act". Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) introduced this bill following a Pennsylvania school district's alleged access of video images from webcams on laptop computers in students' homes. The legislation would prohibit video surveillance in homes where there is an expectation of privacy. NCISS Legislative Chair Jimmie Mesis suggested to Senator Specter's staff that the bill be modified to specifically limit the scope of the legislation. His suggestion to limit coverage of the bill has been accepted. NCISS member Stuart Drobny was instrumental in obtaining Senator Specter's agreement.

The bill has yet to be considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HR-3149 - "Equal Employment for All Act". This bill would prevent employers from using credit reports for employment purposes. A hearing was held recently in the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. NCISS advocate Larry Sabbath provided material and discussed the issue with several staff members prior to the hearing. We remain very concerned about the legislation. It is very popular among some members of congress because many of their constituents have fallen behind in paying bills due to the recession.

NCISS has joined with a group of leading business members to oppose the bill. This coalition has asked the House Financial Services Committee not to consider the bill.

HR-4173 - the ''Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act''. This major financial reform bill has been signed into law by President Obama. NCISS opposed a provision in the House version of the bill which would have provided the Federal Trade Commission with an enhanced ability to issue rules and regulations. It was dropped by the conference committee that met to reconcile different versions of the bill passed by the House and Senate.

However, the bill does establish a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. This new Bureau could issue rules that would affect NCISS members. These rules will be largely enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, but in some instances enforcement will be done by the new agency. After the bill is finally adopted, the FTC and new Bureau will determine how enforcement will proceed.

HR 5300 - ''Fairness and Accuracy in Employment Background Checks Act of 2010''. This legislation is intended to provide more accurate information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's criminal history database. It requires the US Attorney General to attempt to assure that records are up to date. SCOLA Chairman Vince Ruffolo is concerned about a provision which would drop arrest records after 12 months when no disposition of the arrest can be determined. This is problematic for state regulators who issue guard, private investigator and weapons permits. Unless amended, a great deal of information may be dropped from the database because many arrests aren't resolved prior to 12 months. The International Association of Investigative and Security Regulators (IASIR) adopted a resolution expressing its concern with the bill. The resolution was presented by the security industry representative on the Board. It was suggested by Legislative Advocate Larry Sabbath, working through the SCOLA coalition.

Jimmie Mesis
NCISS Legislative Chairman

New Hampshire News

New Hampshire has passed and the Governor has signed the PI Licensing bill, HB 651,
which is an enormous move on the part of the New Hampshire League of Investigators. It provides for more professional licensing, education/experience requirements and an advisory board to work with the licensing agency, Department Of Safety. The law is the efforts of the NHLI, the Legislature and the Dept of Safety and comes after years of hard work. It also was a
first in which the Licensing Agency worked side by side with the NHLI to make this bill a reality. NHLI is extremely happy and proud to have played a part in this bill being written and becoming law.

Q.R.Estey, Jr.
New Hampshire League of Investigators President

Have news from your state? Send it to [email protected] and we will include it in a future edition of the PI News Round-Up. You can also request to receive our monthly e-mail reminder asking for your private investigator news.

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