The Trusted Network of Private Investigators
 
Find an Investigator
Find an Investigator

Legislative News

  • December 22, 2010
  • by Bruce Hulme

December Legislative Update from NCISS
As we go to press the 111th Congress is rushing to finish its business and get home for Christmas. The most critical issue to be decided prior to adjournment is enactment of a tax bill in order to assure that taxes will not increase starting January 1. The other must pass legislation is a continuing resolution appropriations bill. Privacy legislation remains alive, but does not appear to be a priority as members of Congress are heading for the exits.

One bill that is on the schedule is the Truth in Caller ID Act, S-30. That bill limits the use of spoofing of the numbers appearing on call recipients telephones. NCISS has supported the version of the bill that has passed the Senate earlier that would only restrict the use of spoofing with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. Earlier this month, Congress passed S-3789, the Social Security Number Protection Act. The bill prevents prisoners from obtaining access to the numbers and prohibits Social Security numbers from being printed on government checks. NCISS
supported the bill. Several other bills of interest to private investigators remain alive, including legislation to prevent data breaches and more restrictive Social Security measures. We will continue to monitor legislative developments to protect the interests of the profession.

Because the Republicans will be in the majority in the new Congress, starting in January, they will chair all the committees and will set the agenda. They have chosen Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) to chair the Ways and Means Committee and Fred Upton (R-MI) to chair the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Those are two committees with jurisdiction over many privacy issues. In addition, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) was selected to chair the Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the important Fair
Credit Reporting Act. Fewer changes are expected in the Senate, as the Democrats have retained control, albeit by a narrower margin.

Information provided by NCISS Legislative Chair Jimmie Mesis.

Submitted by Francie Koehler, NCISS

ISPLA 2010 Legislative Lobbying Wrap-Up

Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action (ISPLA) is pleased to report that none of the bills that might have adversely affected private investigators passed in the 111th Congress. They included numerous security breach, Internet privacy, surreptitious surveillance, and anti-spoofing bills and those which might have conceivably banned the SSN, and thus adversely affected our access to credit headers. Although it is not over until it is over, we doubt that the bills about which we are concerned will pass in the closing weeks of the current lame-duck session. If they do, however, we expect that they will have exception language drafted by ISPLA. Previously this year, we have commented extensively on these bills and our successful lobbying efforts against their passage and thank PInow.com for assisting in getting our messages out to our profession.

This past November, the Congressional election resulted in the greatest change of power in the
House of Representatives in over seven decades, with many new faces elected to positions at both the state and national levels. What does this mean for investigative and security professionals? It is too early to tell, but, fortunately, ISPLA has been working hard to give our federal legislators the information they need when making decisions that may impact our profession. The new members of Congress that come into office in January 2011 are already being identified and contacted by ISPLA so that they receive our message from day one!

According to Federal Election Commission reports, ISPLA was the only investigative and/or security professional association PAC to distribute its funds to candidates in the 2010 general election. ISPLA distributed all of its PAC funds to worthy candidates having a record of supporting our cause.

One hundred percent of the candidates endorsed by and/or receiving PAC contributions from ISPLA were victorious during the November 2 elections. I have been told by lobbyists who also administer PACS that such a record is extremely rare, especially for a political action committee, such as ISPLAs, in operation less than two years. Supported candidates running for re-election included Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX).

We were pleased with the good work of ISPLAs executive committee member Jim Olsen, who also serves as the federal legislative liaison of the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators. He arranged for the appearance of Congressman Sessions at the August TALI conference and also played an integral role in working with Governor Perrys campaign office regarding his endorsement by ISPLA. TALI president and ISPLA member Kelly Riddle represented the investigative profession at Governor Perrys reception as the campaign week drew to a close. TALI recently joined ISPLA, offering us its financial support, thereby joining an ever-growing list of associations supporting the legislative mission of ISPLA

Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke also received the endorsement of ISPLA. In August he defeated seven-term incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the Democratic primary for the 13th Congressional District in Michigan. He went on to win the general election. Our Michigan colleagues have observed the excellent work of the Senator in Michigan over the years. They feel that he knows the problems facing the investigative and security professions and that his legislative experience in Michigan will serve our profession well in Washington starting in 2011.

ISPLA discussed with the senator how we might serve as a resource regarding investigative and security matters in the private sector, including: privacy issues, Social Security Number limitations, indigent defense, identity theft, infrastructure security, and public record access. Although still a young and fast-growing professional association, ISPLAs organizers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, having testified on GLBA implementation, ID theft, and indigent defense issues before the House Finance, Ways and Means, and Judiciary Committees.

We advised Senator Clarke that ISPLA is experienced in working with committee staff and regulatory agencies and providing testimony and public comment. We assured him that if ISPLA can ever lend him support on any public safety issues, he should feel free to call upon us.

Controversial Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) was also the recipient of ISPLAPAC funds. Very few private investigators realize that Barney Frank was perhaps the first member of Congress to recognize the fact that private investigators should have access to DMV records. He went on record, stating such in a letter to a colleague of mine prior to Congressional hearings that led to the enactment of the DPPA of 1994. Also, the House Financial Services Committee, where Representative Frank will return in 2011 as the Democrat Ranking Member, is one of very few committees that play a great role in preserving our profession's access to information such as credit headers that need the SSN to allow the major data providers to aggregate data from a myriad of sources. In 2011 the committee will be chaired by Congressman Spencer Bauchus (R-AL).

In New York, ISPLA supported Republican Lee Zeldin in his successful run for the State Senate. Lee had previously been endorsed by NCISS in his 2008 candidacy for Congress, but failed to win that seat.

In 2011, Congressmen Fred Upton of Michigan, Peter King of New York, and Lamar Smith of Texas will all be chairing committees which have jurisdiction over issues of concern to ISPLA - House Energy and Commerce, Homeland Security, and Judiciary. (Fortunately, we have ISPLA Executive Committee members in the home state of each Republican committee chairman. In fact, we are presently in a much better position than several other organizations in that regard. I expect we will continue to work with NASCO and ASIS in 2011 as we have in 2010.) These are important committees before which House bills affecting investigative and security professionals are often reviewed and hearings held.

In the past we have reported on bills affecting investigators. However, there are some bills that also affect security professionals and have an impact on ISPLAs PAC and lobbying efforts. They may very well be re-introduced next year in the 112th Congress.

S 3806, the SECURE Facilities Act of 2010, had been introduced by Senator Joseph I.
Lieberman (D-I) this past September. Section 244 of the bill concerns oversight of contract guard services. ISPLA favors this bill over the two House versions.

HR 5053, the Federal Protective Service Reform Bill, had been offered by the Republicans.

HR 6122, the Federal Protective Service Improvement and Accountability Act of 2010, had
been offered by the Democrats.

On several occasions this past year ISPLA conferred with attorney Steven Amitay, the federal legislative counsel for the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO), and Lynn Oliver, the security industry board member of International Association Security & Investigative Regulators (IASIR), regarding the above three bills, which are being closely watched by ISPLA. Hearings were held. ISPLA provided a comprehensive confidential report to its membership on various provisions of these bills that, if passed, will impact security firms contracting with the Federal Protection Service.

ISPLA will again be visiting members of the new 112th Congress in 2011 in regard to these specific bills affecting some of our members. ISPLAs contract security company members having Federal Protective Service contracts are not the only firms potentially affected by this proposed legislation. Contract security guards working on posts throughout the federal government are under scrutiny for federalization or in-sourcing by the Obama administration. We envision similar future legislation affecting the Department of Energy, Federal Court security officers, Department of Defense, and Federal Protective Services.

H.R.5175 - DISCLOSE Act Opposed by ISPLA - To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes. This is the Democrats' response to the Supreme Courts' Citizens United v. FEC ruling earlier this year.

It seeks to increase transparency of corporate and special-interest money in national political campaigns. It would require organizations involved in political campaigning to disclose the identity of the large donors, and to reveal their identities in any political ads they fund. It would also bar foreign corporations, government contractors and TARP recipients from making political expenditures. Notably, the bill would exempt all long-standing, non-profit organizations with more than 500,000 members from having to disclose their donor lists.

Federal "Card Check" Bill - S.560 - Opposed by ISPLA - The Employee Free Choice Act of 2009, would amend the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees have authorized designation of the representative (card-check) and there is no other individual or labor organization currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit. It sets forth special procedural requirements for reaching an initial collective bargaining agreement following certification or recognition. It revises enforcement requirements with respect to unfair labor practices during union organizing drives, particularly a preliminary investigation of an alleged unfair labor practice (ULP) which may lead to proceedings for injunctive relief. It requires that priority be given to a preliminary investigation of any charge that, while employees were seeking representation by a labor organization, or during the period after a labor organization was recognized as a representative until the first collective bargaining contract is entered into, an employer: (1) discharged or otherwise discriminated against an employee to encourage or discourage membership in the labor organization; (2) threatened to discharge or to otherwise discriminate against an employee in order to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of guaranteed self-organization or collective bargaining rights; or (3) engaged in any other related ULP that significantly interferes with, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of such guaranteed rights. And it adds to remedies for such violations: (1) back pay plus liquidated damages; and (2) additional civil penalties.

Secret Ballot Protection Act Bill - S.478 Supported by ISPLA. This Legislation amends the National Labor Relations Act to make it an unfair labor practice for: (1) an employer to recognize or bargain collectively with a labor organization that has not been selected by a majority of the employees in a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board; and (2) a labor organization to cause or attempt to cause an employer to recognize or bargain collectively with a representative that has not been selected in such a manner.

In November I attended the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators (IASIR) on behalf of ISPLA. There, I gave a presentation on Law and Ethics in Investigations and presented updated ISPLA reports on federal legislation during the plenary sessions. Other topics of concern were also discussed - licensing of digital forensic investigators, legal and ethical guidelines for cybervetting, and other policy and regulatory issues.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics outlined their plans to evaluate the strength of the private and public sectors of security, information that currently is widely diverse and somewhat suspect for accuracy as to just how many security officers are in the U.S. Their estimate suggests that employment in the private sector is nearer to three times that of law enforcement. However, some colleagues have indicated such to be as low as two times and as great as ten. Other DOJ agencies have also funded research on the private security industry National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. In October 2009 they awarded a contract to the Research Triangle Institute to prepare what is referred to as the National Private Security (NPSS) Design Project.

I also had the opportunity of hearing the concerns of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, the Electronic Security Association, the National Association of Security Companies and their respective lobbyists with whom ISPLA has and will continue to be working on issues of mutual concern.

Additionally, I have been re-elected to serve a third two-year term as the sole private sector board member representing the licensed private investigative profession on the IASIR Board of Directors. Thus, as the sole representative voicing concerns of private investigators before state regulators, I will also still be able to continue to work with the industry spokespersons for the alarm, contract security, and armored car industries.

In closing, ISPLA wishes to thanks those who have been supporting ISPLAs lobbying efforts in Washington during 2010. In addition to the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators, we also are grateful to the following professional association who have supported us: Associated Licensed Detectives of New York State, Professional Investigators of California, Florida Association of Licensed Investigators, Georgia Association of Professional Private Investigators, Maine Licensed Private Investigators Association, Michigan Contract Security Association, Michigan Council of Private Investigators, New Hampshire League of Investigators, Pennsylvania Association of Licensed Investigators, Licensed Private Detective Association of Rhode Island, Vermont Association of Investigation & Security Services, Pacific Northwest Association of Investigators, National Association of Legal Investigators and Intellenet. Without their support we could not easily continue our work. That said, ISPLA also needs the support of many more of our investigative colleagues to financially support our mission. Although we are all volunteers, our state and federal legislative tracking systems are costly, as are the regulatory, legal and accounting requirements for operating a 506(C) non-profit corporation and a non- partisan federal PAC. We also need to replenish ISPLAPAC funds that we expended during the past two-year election cycle of the 111th Congress.

To join and support the work of ISPLA, go to www.ISPLA.org.

Bruce Hulme
ISPLA Director of Government Affairs


Tell us what you think:

Search Articles


Follow PInow


PI News Round-Up Newsletter

Private investigator news, business tips and events delivered to your inbox.

Newsletter Archive →


Article Categories


Join PInow

Reach more clients and grow your business.

Join Today

  • Nationwide Network
  • Local Search Optimization
  • Website Templates

Read Member Testimonials →

The all-in-one software for process servers, at work or on the road.

Learn More