Lawmakers Want Bail Bonds Dropped From Budget

Several democratic state lawmakers are asking governor Scott Walker to consider removing a provision that would allow bounty hunters to comeback to Wisconsin. The language that was added to the state budget by the Joint Finance Committee would allow commercial bail bondsmen to start operating in five counties throughout the state again. This would be the first time since 1979. Law enforcement groups, the state’s attorney general, and prosecutors have shared their concerns about the provision. Democratic state lawmakers even sent a letter to the governor on Tuesday which requested that he should drop it from the budget by using his veto authority.

The governor vetoed a similar provision some time ago that was included in the last state budget. Many are hopeful that this will happen again with the current version of the plan that is available. They claim that the supporters of the change should work towards introducing it as a separate legislation because it would give everyone the opportunity to examine the idea in a public hearing process. This would allow for the people in the state to share their opinions and discuss the pros and cons of the issue. The governor claims that he is currently dealing with the budget and that he will announce his veto decisions when he is finished with that responsibility. Ultimately, he has until the end of the month to make an act and decision upon the bill. It is unknown what his opinion about the current provision as it stands may be.

Understanding Bail Bonds

A bail bond, also known as a surety bond, is defined as a “formal, legally enforceable contract between a first party (the principal or obligor), a second party (the customer or obligee), and a third party (the surety, such as a bank, bonding company, or insurance company) whereby the surety guarantees payment of a specified maximum sum, or to otherwise compensate (indemnify), the obligee against damage or loss caused by the actions (or a failure to perform) of the obligor)." Bail bonds guarantee that the defendant will appear in court every time that he or she is ordered to do so based on requests by the court.

If the defendant doesn’t attend court as requested, then the bond will be forfeited and the defendant will be issued an arrest warrant. The statutes for this vary from state to state, although in most cases the defendant will be subject to apprehension and arrest. The cost for bail bonds tend to vary from state to state and may be based on statutory rates or rates that have been filed by the insurance company that has underwritten the bond. Depending on the defendant’s criminal history (if any), collateral may be needed. A collateral receipt should be provided when the bond is written. The return of the collateral is based on statutes in most states; it should be held in trust for the party that is arranging the bail.

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