HB 115 - AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 115
SPONSORS: Rep. McGuire, Merr. 29; Rep. Ulery, Hills. 37; Sen. Reagan, Dist 17
COMMITTEE: Executive Departments and Administration
This bill revises the law for the licensure and regulation of private investigative agencies, security guard agencies, or bail recovery agencies and individuals employed as private investigators, security guards, and bail recovery agents.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS, SECURITY GUARDS, AND
BAIL RECOVERY AGENTS
106-F:1 Declaration of Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to:
I. Provide reasonable supervision of private investigative agencies and their employees, security guard services and their employees, and individuals licensed as private investigators, security guards, and bail recovery agents doing business in this state.
II. Ensure the honesty, good character, and integrity of individuals, licensees, and license holders.
106-F:2 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. "Applicant" means any person who makes application to engage in any activity regulated under this chapter.
II. "Armed" security guard, private investigator, or bail recovery agent means a person or entity who offers to perform or performs, in association with the services provided, physical protection to persons or property through the use of firearms. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a licensee from possessing or carrying a firearm for his or her personal protection as otherwise provided by law, except as subject to the provisions of RSA 106-F:8.
III. "Bail recovery agent" shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in RSA 597:7-b, I(b).
IV. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of safety.
V. "Doing business" means advertising in New Hampshire or soliciting work, clients, or customers in or from New Hampshire.
VI. "Employee" means an individual employed by a private investigative agency or an individual employed by a security guard service or bail recovery service performing the duties of a private investigator or a security guard for the said private investigative agency, bail recovery service, or security guard service.
VII. "Full-time" means engaged in the business of security guard or private investigator as the primary occupation.
VIII. "Individual" means an individual licensed as a private investigator or security guard who is not an employee and who has no employees.
IX. "Licensee" means a licensed private investigative agency or security guard service, or an individual licensed as a private investigator or security guard.
X. "License holder" means an employee of a licensee.
XI. "Private investigative agency" means the business, within or from the state of New Hampshire, of offering or providing by legal means, for a fee or other compensation, to other persons or businesses, the service of collecting information on the identity, character and characteristics, reputation, conduct, background history, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, or transactions of any other living person or any business or legal entity or organization, for a fee, hire, or reward information on the identity, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, transactions, reputation, or character of any person, or otherwise making inquiries or collecting evidence, for a private rather than a public interest. This shall not preclude a licensee under this chapter from pursuing investigation of matters arising in this state in another state or political subdivision except as provided by the law of the other state or political subdivision.
XII. "Private investigator" means a person, other than a sworn law enforcement officer, engaged in conducting investigations, including but not limited to:
(a) Unsolved crimes.
(b) Insurance claims or matters for attorneys in anticipation of civil litigation.
(c) Clandestine surveillance.
(d) Locating missing persons.
(e) Locating lost, concealed, or stolen property.
(f) Locating escaped felons or wanted persons subject to reward for capture.
XIII. "Security guard" means any person contracted to any entity for the purpose of providing protection of individuals or their property or assets from injury or theft and includes but is not limited to crowd control, fire watch, access control, the safe transport of money or valuable documents, personal protection, or body guard services. A person engaged in so-called "executive protection" or providing body guard services shall be classified as a security guard.
XIV. "Security guard service" means any business entity, except as provided in RSA 106-F:4, that furnishes or employs security guards or other persons for the protection of individuals or their property from injury or theft and includes, but is not limited to, services providing for the safe transport of money or valuable documents and security patrols of homes, businesses, or industrial plants. Such service may use the terms "security," "safety," "control" or like terms leading the public to look to the individual as a person of authority.
106-F:3 License Required; Registration of Foreign Corporations.
I. No person shall engage in the business of a private investigative agency, security guard agency, or bail recovery agency without obtaining a private investigative, security guard, or bail recovery agency license from the commissioner, and no person shall engage in the business of private investigative service, security guard service, or bail recovery service without obtaining a license from the commissioner.
II. No person shall become an employee of a private investigative agency, a security guard agency, or a bail recovery agency without first obtaining a license to do so from the commissioner.
III. Any out-of-state applicant incorporated under the laws of any other state, desiring to do business in this state pursuant to this chapter, shall be deemed to be a foreign corporation and shall be required to register under and comply with the provisions of RSA 293-A.
106-F:4 Exclusions. The following are excluded from the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall preclude a person otherwise qualified from licensure under this chapter:
I. Insurance adjusters licensed under RSA 402-B.
II. Consumer reporting agencies and their employees who are engaged solely in the business of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information for a consumer reporting agency as defined in RSA 359-B:3, VI.
III. Police officers or fire investigators of the United States and the state, county, city, or town, while assigned to duty by and performing as officers of their respective law enforcement or fire service agencies.
IV. Any unarmed security employee who is a direct employee of a business which is not a security guard agency and who is employed by that business to secure its premises while so employed, including but not limited to store detective and watchmen.
V. Towing or wrecking companies engaged in the repossession of vehicles.
VI. Firefighters employed by the state or any political subdivision providing fire watch or fire protection services at public events.
VII. Persons engaged solely in collecting or acquiring data for the purpose of motor vehicle or other accident or occurrence reconstruction or scientific analysis.
VIII. Persons engaged in reporting or providing information to an accredited news publication, media, or news outlet.
IX. Persons employed or contracted by a commercial or legal entity to provide, for internal use or dissemination, gross population data or information relating to patterns of general population behavior, criminal or societal activity, or other information that does not include the collection of personally identifiable information, including but not limited to voter preference polls, demographic surveys, or business or academic research.
X. Persons serving subpoenas or summonses for attorneys as provided by statute.
XI. Persons conducting management studies or performance evaluations of municipal, county, or state government agencies or providing recruitment and hiring services for such agencies under contract to governing bodies of those agencies.
XII. Attorneys, and employees of their law firms acting as their agents, exercising legal rights to investigate on behalf of their clients.
XIII. A certified public accountant who holds an active permit issued by any state or a public accounting firm registered in any state, and the employees of such certified public accountant or firm.
XIV. The employees of any nationally or state chartered financial institution, as defined in RSA 161-C:2, VI-b, and any company controlled by, or under common control with, or hired by, the financial institution with respect to the investigation of the identity, identifying information, financial condition, and background of customers, employees, or service providers to comply with, or to audit or evaluate its performance under, the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations.
XV. Any persons from other states accompanying national political candidates on visits to the state or persons providing temporary security to entertainers at live performances.
106-F:5 Application for License; Confidentiality. All information provided by an applicant for an original or renewal license under this chapter, other than the application date and the mailing address of the applicant, shall be kept confidential, unless such information is requested by a law enforcement agent engaged in the performance of his or her authorized duties. An applicant for any license issued under this chapter shall include the following in his or her application:
I. The name and address of the firm or other legal entity applying for a license, and all partners, officers, and major stockholders. If an individual, the name and address and date and place of birth of the applicant, and the name of the intended business.
II. The name, residence, mailing address, and date and place of birth of the person primarily responsible for managing and conducting the business in this state, who shall meet the requirements of paragraph VII.
III. For an original license, the names of at least 3 unrelated persons to whom inquiry can be made concerning the applicant's character as to integrity and reputation for honesty.
IV. For an original or renewal license, the applicant's record of felony convictions and misdemeanor convictions in this or any other state or nation that have not been pardoned or annulled, information as to whether any prior or similar licenses were ever revoked or suspended in this or any other state, Canadian province, or nation, and disclosure of any claim or lawsuit regarding conduct as a licensee, or any domestic violence protective order.
V. In the case of an applicant for an armed security guard or armed private investigator or armed bail recovery agent license, 2 sets of the applicant's fingerprints taken at state police headquarters, and documentation of meeting the requirements of RSA 106-F:8.
VI. Two photographs of the applicant taken at state police headquarters to be used for a photo license card issued by the commissioner identifying the private investigator, bail recovery agent, or security guard and by whom he or she is employed.
VII. In addition to the requirements of paragraphs I-VI, applicants for private investigator or bail recovery agent licenses shall meet the following qualifications:
(a) Be a resident of the United States.
(b) Be at least 18 years of age.
(c) Have no record of felony convictions of any type or conviction of a misdemeanor associated with theft, honesty, fraud, use or sale of controlled substances, misdemeanor crimes of violence that in the judgment of the commissioner of safety would cast doubt on the applicant's future good behavior, domestic violence, or abuse of any type, or an active domestic violence protective order in New Hampshire or any other jurisdiction in the United States, its possessions, or territories.
(d) Except for employees, possess:
(1) A minimum of 4 years' experience as a full-time law enforcement officer with a federal, state, county, college or university, or municipal police department, director of security or senior officer of a company or corporation, or licensed security service, full-time adjuster, risk manager, or claims investigator for an insurance carrier or adjusting company; or
(2) An associate of science degree or bachelor of science degree in criminal justice or fire service from an accredited college or university, certification from the American Society for Industrial Security as a certified professional investigator, or certification from the National Association of Legal Investigators as a certified legal investigator and employment as a full-time investigator for a private investigative agency for at least 2 years; or
(3) A minimum of 4 years' employment as a full-time investigator for a licensed private investigator or private investigative agency; or
(4) A minimum of 4 years' experience as a full-time firefighter and certification by the International Association of Arson Investigators; or
(5) Certification by the American Society for Industrial Security in security operations, and 2 years experience providing such services; or
(6) Certification by the American Society for Industrial Security in executive protection, and 2 years experience providing such services.
(e) Provide verifiable documentation of his or her qualifications at the time of application for a license.
106-F:6 Issuance of License; Identification Card.
I. Following review of the application and the applicant's references, and investigation into the character, competency, and integrity of the applicant, the commissioner shall as soon as practicable issue a license or renewal license in the form prescribed by the commissioner to the applicant, or notify the applicant of denial of the application. Notification of licensure or the denial of a license shall be forwarded to local law enforcement in the community in which the licensee resides.
II. Prior to approval of any armed private investigator, armed bail recovery agent, or armed security guard license issued under this chapter, the applicant shall submit to a fingerprint examination conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the department of safety shall be authorized to use the records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the screening of applicants.
III. All persons licensed under this chapter shall carry identification cards developed under rules adopted by the commissioner pursuant to RSA 541-A.
IV. Applications for license renewals shall be reviewed subject to the provisions of RSA 541-A:30.
V. The commissioner of safety may disapprove the employment of any individual for just cause. Appeal from such decision shall be permitted as set forth in RSA 106-F:13.
VI. The commissioner shall notify an applicant of an application denial in writing, including a complete statement of the reasons for denial. An applicant may request a hearing on such denial within 15 days of receipt of the notice of denial. Not later than 30 days following receipt of a timely request for hearing, the commissioner shall hold a hearing on the denial, and shall notify the applicant of the time, date and place of such hearing in writing. Hearings under this section shall be held pursuant to the contested case provisions of RSA 541-A:31-36.
106-F:7 License Application and Renewal Fees.
I. The fee for a private investigative agency license, a bail recovery service license, or a security guard service license shall be $150 for an agency or service employing one person licensed under this chapter and $350 for an agency or service employing more than one such person. A person may hold one or more types of license at any given time, provided that a separate fee shall be paid for each license so held. Licenses shall be valid for 2 years after the date of issue and shall be renewed every 2 years thereafter, upon application and payment of the fee and submission of certified evidence that the surety bond remains in force. The application for renewal shall be submitted at least 15 days before the expiration of the previously granted license.
II. The commissioner shall set a reasonable fee, not exceeding $100, which the commissioner shall adopt by rule under RSA 541-A, to cover the expenses of licensing employees under this chapter, including the cost of any background investigation or criminal records check. Such fee shall be paid by the service or agency employing such employee and shall be paid before the license is issued. Such licenses shall be valid for 2 years after the date of issue and shall be renewed upon the completion and filing of an application for renewal which meets the requirements of this chapter submitted at least 15 days before the expiration of the previously granted license.
III. All fees collected under this chapter shall be paid into the general fund of the state.
106-F:8 Licensee Firearms Proficiency.
I. All armed security guards, armed private investigators, and armed bail recovery agents shall meet the following minimum requirements in the proficiency in the use of firearms upon initial licensure and at least once per year.
(a) The practical pistol or revolver course or the tactical revolver or pistol course, as determined by the commissioner for the weapon being carried, with a minimum qualification score of 75 percent.
(b) Shotgun familiarization course required for all security officers and bail recovery agents whose employers issue, or have as part of their equipment, shotguns, and a rifle qualification course if a rifle is part of their equipment.
(c) Four hours of instruction, to include firearms techniques and safety, laws on the use of deadly force, and the moral and ethical use of force. Only qualified firearms instructors shall be used to certify the successful completion of the requirements.
II. Individuals shall be considered for firearms instructor certification if they successfully complete one of the following courses:
(a) Police standards and training council firearms instructor school or a firearms instructor school accredited by the police officer standards and training agency of another state, the F.B.I. firearms instructor school, the Smith and Wesson, Sig Sauer, or Ruger firearms instructor schools, the National Rifle Association police firearms instructor course; or
(b) An equivalent course as determined by the commissioner of safety on an individual basis.
III. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a licensee from possessing or carrying a firearm for his or her personal protection as otherwise provided by law.
106-F:9 Requirements of Licensees.
I. The surety bond required by this section shall be so conditioned that the person bonded shall conduct his or her business in a lawful and honest manner without committing, compounding, aiding or abetting the commission of any criminal offense. Said bond shall be filed with and kept by the secretary of state and shall be subject to being sued upon by the attorney general of the state in the name of the state or sued upon by any person injured by a breach of any condition of such bond designed to protect such person. The principal sum of the bond shall be no less than $50,000, which shall be increased by $50,000 for each additional type of license held by any person licensed under this chapter.
II. A person licensed under this chapter may employ agents, investigators, or guards as such licensee deems necessary. The licensee shall be responsible for the conduct of any such employees who shall be covered under the licensee's surety bond.
III. A licensee shall notify the commissioner of the discharge or termination of any employee licensed under the provisions of this chapter and also any change in the membership of the firm or in the officers or directors of any association or corporation or any change in the address of any office or the location of such business, within 10 business days after such change. Failure to give such notification shall be sufficient cause for suspension of the licensee's license.
IV. Any license holder who changes her or his place of employment from one agency to another shall within 10 business days notify the commissioner in person as to the identity of her or his new employer, and a new photo license shall be issued at no cost to license holder.
V. Any license holder who is arrested and charged with any felony or misdemeanor or becomes subject to a domestic violence protective order shall notify the commissioner of the charge and the circumstances within one business day of the issuance of the order or the arrest.
VI. All felonies observed or revealed by or to persons licensed under this chapter shall be immediately reported to the New Hampshire state police, the closest law enforcement agency having jurisdiction, or the attorney general's office, except as allowed under paragraph VIII or IX.
VII. A licensee who reports criminal activity to state or local police or a county sheriff shall be immune from civil liability for making a report or information available to law enforcement provided it is made in good faith and with reasonable belief in its veracity and is in compliance with this chapter.
VIII. No person licensed under this chapter shall be required to reveal other than by judicial order information on the subject, nature, or substance of an investigation or work product to any other person if by doing this he or she would violate the rights and interests of a person engaging the services of the licensee, except to the limited extent that may be needed to dispel the suspicions of a law enforcement officer investigating a report of loitering, prowling, or other suspicious activity pursuant to RSA 644:6, and except to the commissioner of safety or authorized agent when required in an investigation of improper or illegal conduct by the licensee.
IX. A licensee who is employed or contracted and supervised by an attorney shall not be required to report any of his or her work product which would violate the privilege of confidentiality between the attorney and his or her client.
X. The commissioner may adopt, pursuant to RSA 541-A, certain initial and continuing education requirements, not to exceed 10 hours per license period, for licensed security guards, private investigators, and bail recovery agents, including but not limited to the statutory and case laws on the use of force, ethics, privacy, trespass, fair debt collection practices, wiretap and surveillance, general business practices, and other issues relative to their respective occupations, after consultation with the advisory board.
I. Any licensee who is not licensed for firearms proficiency under RSA 106-F:8 shall not openly carry or display any weapon, nor publish or advertise in any way that he or she is carrying a weapon for personal protection. This prohibition shall not be construed to prohibit a person otherwise qualified from carrying a concealed weapon.
II. No trade name or designation shall be used which implies any association with any municipal, county, state, or federal government or agency thereof. No licensee shall use a badge of any kind for identification purposes, except a security guard, who, if he or she wears any type of badge, shall wear one badge on the left breast of his or her uniform and one on his or her cap while on duty as a security guard. The word "police" shall not be used in any way, on any seal, card, badge, or advertisement by the licensee.
III. No person shall:
(a) Provide any service requiring licensure under this chapter who is not licensed under this chapter.
(b) Falsely represent that a person holds a valid license issued under this chapter.
(c) Possess a license or identification card issued to another person under this chapter.
(d) Engage in advertising or the use of any seal or card which, in the opinion of the commissioner, may tend to mislead the public.
IV. No person who is a sworn law enforcement officer employed by the state of New Hampshire, any of its political subdivisions, any other state or its political subdivisions, or the federal government, shall be issued or hold a private investigator license or agency license under this chapter.
V. Except as permitted under RSA 173-B:5-a and RSA 633:3-a, III-d, no licensee or license holder shall engage in activity or stand in the stead or as agent or representative of a person or legal entity that is judicially or statutorily prohibited from making inquiry or having contact, or otherwise legally barred from the activity requested of or performed by the licensee or license holder. A representation made by the engaging person or legal entity, taken in good faith, that no such prohibition exists shall be an affirmative defense regarding a violation of this section. A licensee who becomes aware of a prohibition shall immediately desist from further prohibited activity; shall not provide information gained through the prohibited activity to another person; and, if such information has been provided, shall have a duty to notify any aggrieved person.
106-F:11 Rulemaking; Enforcement.
I. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the:
(a) Form of original and renewal licenses and applications therefor;
(b) Examination procedures for license applications;
(c) Requisite standards of applicant and licensee integrity and reputation for honesty;
(d) Continuing education requirements for licensees, including certifying individuals or entities including professional associations and employees of agencies as qualified to provide such training or education to licensees.
(e) Use of funds for administration and enforcement of this chapter;
(f) Revocation of licenses; and
(g) Creation of an advisory board to review complaints and licensing issues.
II. The commissioner of the department of safety shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter, which authority shall not be restricted by RSA 106-B:15.
106-F:12 Suspension or Revocation; Cessation of Operation.
I. The commissioner may revoke or suspend a license issued under this chapter, after a hearing, if the licensee:
(a) Violates any provision of this chapter or any rules adopted under this chapter.
(b) Is convicted of fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, or a felony of any type, or a misdemeanor associated with theft, dishonesty, physical assault, violation of a protective order, abuse of any type, or use of or sale of illegal drugs in New Hampshire or any other jurisdiction in the United States, its possessions, or territories.
(c) Suffers from any diagnosable mental illness to an extent that would cast doubt on the licensee's ability to carry out his or her essential job functions in a manner not dangerous to himself or herself or the public, or to faithfully comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(d) Makes a material misstatement in a license application or application for license renewal.
II. Unless a license revocation or suspension issued under this section is appealed, the licensee shall immediately cease operations for the time period ordered in the suspension notice, or permanently if her or his license has been revoked. The licensee shall immediately notify all its clients of such revocation or suspension. The licensee shall forward a copy of each such notification to the commissioner, and keep a copy of each such notification in its business records.
III. Any license suspended or revoked under this section shall be surrendered to the commissioner within 72 hours of receipt of the notice of suspension or revocation by the licensee, subject to the provisions of RSA 106-F:13.
106-F:13 Appeal. All decisions by the commissioner affecting licensing shall be mailed by certified mail to the applicant's last known address. Appeals from such decisions to the superior court shall be permitted as a matter of right, if taken within 30 days after the date received. In any such appeal the right to trial by jury shall be obtained, if requested in advance. No appeal taken from a decision of the commissioner shall suspend the operation or effect of such decision unless so ordered by a justice of the superior court.
106-F:14 Penalty. Any person who engages in business as a private investigative agency, bail recovery agency, or security guard service without first having obtained a license therefor or who violates any other provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for a natural person and a felony for any other person.
106-F:15 Advisory Board.
I. There is hereby established an advisory board to review complaints and licensing issues relative to private investigative agencies, bail recovery agent services, and security guards and security services. Each appointed member shall be appointed by the governor and approved by the council. A member shall continue to serve until a successor is appointed by the governor and council. Members of the board shall serve without compensation. Appointed members shall each serve a term of 3 years. No appointed member shall be eligible to serve more than 3 full consecutive terms, provided that for this purpose only a period actually served which exceeds 1/2 of the 3-year term shall be deemed a full term. Initial appointments made by the governor shall be staggered for terms of one, 2, or 3 years.
II. The board shall consist of:
(a) Three members licensed in New Hampshire as private investigators and who have been so licensed for the last 5 years.
(b) Two members of the general public who are not and have never been licensed in New Hampshire or another jurisdiction as private investigators, security guards, or bail recovery agents and who are not the spouse of any such person and who do not have and never have had a material interest in either the provision of private investigation services, private security services, or bail recovery services, or an activity directly related to private investigation, private security services, or bail recovery services, including representation of the board or profession for a fee at any time during the 5 years preceding their appointments.
(c) One member of the law enforcement community.
(d) One member licensed in New Hampshire as a security guard or bail recovery agent and who has been so licensed for the last 3 years.
(e) The commissioner of the department of safety, or designee.
III. The board shall elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson from its members.
2 Rules; Licenses. The rules adopted for RSA 106-F by the commissioner of the department of safety in effect on the effective day of this act shall continue and be effective until they expire or are amended or repealed. Licenses of agencies and employees under RSA 106-F shall continue to be valid until they expire or are revoked or suspended as provided in RSA 106-F as amended by this act.
|Jan. 2, 2019||Introduced 01/02/2019 and referred to Executive Departments and Administration HJ 2 P. 38|
|Jan. 24, 2019||Public Hearing: 01/24/2019 10:00 am LOB 306|
|Feb. 5, 2019||Executive Session: 02/05/2019 10:00 am LOB 306|
|Committee Report: Ought to Pass (Vote 20-0; CC)|
|Feb. 14, 2019||Committee Report: Ought to Pass for 02/14/2019 (Vote 20-0; CC) HC 11 P. 5|
|Feb. 14, 2019||Ought to Pass: MA VV 02/14/2019|
|March 7, 2019||Introduced 03/07/2019 and Referred to Executive Departments and Administration; SJ 8|
|Jan. 24, 2019||House||Hearing|
|Feb. 5, 2019||House||Exec Session|
|Feb. 14, 2019||House||Floor Vote|