The bill would make a number of amendments to statutes under which private detectives and firearm trainers are licensed and regulated. The major amendments are discussed below.
The bill would authorize the Attorney General to establish fees in rules and regulations and specify in statute the maximum allowable biennial fee for each type authorized. Fees would have to generate revenue sufficient to administer the laws governing the licensure and regulation of private detectives and detective agencies. All fees collected would be deposited in the Private Detective Fee Fund which would be created by the bill. Moneys in that fund could only be used by the Attorney General to administer the private detectives laws. The maximum biennial fees specified in the bill for licenses and permits effective January 1, 1999, are displayed below.
Type of Fee
|Agency/independent detective license||$250|
|Renewal of agency/detective license||$100|
|Principals of agencies||$100|
|Detectives employed by agencies||$250|
|Firearm Trainer permit||$100|
|Initial application (credited toward application fee)||$15|
Access to Records, Confidentiality,
and Licensee Responsibility
The bill would limit the Attorney General's access to licensees' records by requiring either a subpoena or court order based on a complaint. The same limitations on the Attorney General's access to records would be extended to investigations undertaken to enforce the Act.
The bill would authorize private detectives who have firearms permits to have badges. Under existing law, private detectives cannot use a badge in connection with the private detective business.
The bill would repeal the prohibition against licensees providing services on a contingent or percentage basis or being compensated based on the value of money or property recovered or the results of the service provided.
The bill also would repeal the provision that makes licensees legally responsible for employees' or agents' good behavior while they are engaged in detective business and as well as for the employees' or agents' violations of the Act.
The bill would allow licensees to use an alias for covert or undercover investigative activities. That practice is prohibited under current law.
The bill would allow licensees to enter private buildings that are normally accessible to the public without specific permission. Under existing law, licensees can only enter private buildings with the permission of the owner or person who has possession of the property.
Qualifications and Persons Subject to the Act
The bill would require persons preparing investigative consumer reports as defined in the Kansas Fair Credit Reporting Act to obtain a detective license, but retain the existing exemption from the licensure requirement for persons engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and furnishing information about the financial ratings of others. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, an investigative consumer report is a credit report or the portion of a credit report in which information on a consumer's character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or others with whom the consumer is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning such items of information.
The bill also would specify that persons employed exclusively and regularly by an attorney or law firm performing duties exclusively on behalf of the attorney or law firm would be exempt from licensure under the Act. Finally, the bill would specify that persons conducting market research would not have to be licensed under the Act.
In regard to qualifications for licensure, the bill would amend existing law to authorize the Attorney General to refuse licensure of anyone who had ever been convicted of a felony or convicted for specified misdemeanors within ten years immediately prior to application. Those misdemeanors are: vehicular homicide, assault, battery, assault of a law enforcement officer, misdemeanor battery against a law enforcement officer, criminal restraint, sexual battery, endangering a child, or intimidation of a witness or victim. Existing provisions regarding licensure of persons convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, and illegally using, carrying, or possessing a dangerous weapon would be retained. Under existing law, conviction of a felony; a crime involving moral turpitude or dishonesty; or illegally using, carrying, or possessing a dangerous weapon within ten years immediately prior to applying for a license is grounds for license denial or disciplinary action. In addition, the bill would authorize denial of a license if an applicant's detective license had been censured, limited, or conditioned two or more times in Kansas or another jurisdiction. Under existing law, only revocation or suspension of a prior license disqualifies an applicant.
The amount of the required corporate surety bond, cash deposit, or liability insurance that must be filed or deposited by an applicant in order to obtain a license would be set at a minimum of $100,000. Under existing law the amount of the bond or cash deposit is $10,000 and no amount is specified for liability insurance coverage. In addition, the bill would repeal a provision that requires that the insurance cover intentional acts and personal injury caused by libel slander, false arrest, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, wrongful entry, wrongful eviction, or malicious prosecution.
The bill would add to the existing qualifications for firearm trainers a provision prohibiting certification of anyone who had ever been convicted of a felony or, within the ten preceding years, of a misdemeanor. Finally, in addition to knowledge of the private detective business, firearm trainers would have to be knowledgeable of firearm training and the lawful use of force.
Distinction Between Resident and
The bill would eliminate the distinction between resident and nonresident applicants and the requirement that references submitted with the license application be from the community where the licensee will be in business. Instead, all applications would have to be submitted with notarized references by five or more "reputable persons" who have known the applicant for at least five years. However, the bill would continue to require that licensees' business vehicles used in Kansas be registered in the state.
The bill would add censure and limitation or conditioning a license to the disciplinary actions available to the Attorney General. Under existing law, the only options for disciplining a licensee are suspension and revocation of the license. The provision that could trigger a disciplinary action if a licensee commits a crime would be amended to be the same as the requirement for initial licensure. In addition, the bill would add as grounds for disciplinary action: using any false, misleading, or deceptive information in any advertisement, solicitation, or contract for business; and producing false evidence.
The bill would require revocation of a licensee's firearm permit if the private detective license is suspended or revoked. New grounds for suspension or revocation of the permit would be added. Those new grounds would include use of a firearm in a manner inconsistent with the lawful use of force or inability of the licensee to demonstrate a continued need to carry a firearm.
The bill was requested for introduction by the Attorney General. At the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs hearing on the bill, proponents included a representative of the Attorney General and private investigators from Lecompton, Kansas City, and Leawood. Opponents included representatives of the Association of Private Investigators and a private detective from Wichita.
The Senate Committee introduced the substitute bill which differs from the introduced version in regard to fees, the Attorney General's access to detectives' records, and numerous technical and conforming amendments.
The Senate Committee of the Whole amendment would clarify the effective date of new fees.
The House Committee amended the bill to authorize private detectives to use firearm permit badges and to lower the license renewal fee for agencies and detectives other than agency principals to $100 from $250. The Committee also deleted a provision that would have prohibited private detectives from disclosing information about criminal offenses of clients.
The Division of the Budget's fiscal note on the bill was based on the set fees in the introduced version and therefore is no longer relevant. The substitute bill sets maximum fees and would require the Attorney General to set fees in rules and regulations that would defray the cost of administering the private detective licensure and regulation laws.
1. *Supplemental notes are prepared by the Legislative Research Department and do not express legislative intent. The supplemental note and fiscal note for this bill may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.ink.org/public/legislative/fulltext-bill.html.