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A Hop, Skip and a Jump to Year End Bail Meetings

I knew when I originally planned this recent trip it would be very taxing on me personally and to my fellow road warriors in the bail bond industry. State bail agent associations typically do not plan their events around events held in other states. So, when I took a look at the week of October 15, I saw trouble ahead, California, South Carolina and Texas would all be holding year end meetings this same week. The challenge was on. The California Bail Agents Association held their 31st Annual Convention at Bally’s Las Vegas, October 17-19. The South Carolina Bail Agents Association held their 2010 Annual Conference in Columbia, October 20, while the Professional Bondsmen of Texas held their Annual Convention at The Menger Hotel in San Antonio, October 20-23. (Photos) My week began…
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What’s not to like about Colorado’s Proposition 102?

It seems like only yesterday I was in Denver attending a very brief, but required hearing to advance a ballot initiative in Colorado. As I reported to my readers at that time, an organization called Safe Streets Colorado was pushing an initiative to limit the use of Pretrial Services to first time criminal offenders and misdemeanants. Getting an initiative on the November ballot, Safe Streets Colorado would require obtaining nearly 75,000 validated signatures on petitions in support of the initiative. A daunting task, but with the help of the Americans for the Preservation of Bail (APOB), Colorado bail agents’ and concerned citizens’; 172,000 signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State on August 2nd.  According to APOB this is the most signatures ever submitted in support of a ballot initiative in Colorado’s…
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Trekking in the Northwest

Another hearing on reinstating commercial bail in Oregon and a WSBAA meeting in Fife, Washington put me in the Upper Northwest last week. The American Bail Coalition is in its third year of an effort to bring commercial bail back to Oregon, after nearly forty years, offering an additional release option to judges interested in guaranteeing a defendant returns for trial. Jerry Watson testified before a joint committee on September 22 at the State Capitol in Salem. As expected, he did an excellent job articulating the merits of commercial bail and its positive impact both from a fiscal and public safety standpoint. The bill draft is currently in the hands of Legislative Counsel and yet to be filed. This being the case, Committee Co-Chairs Barker and Prozanski were taken aback when Sheriff…
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Use of Deposit Bail in Indiana Hurts County Extradition Fund

In late August I was the invited speaker at the Rotary Club in Griffith, Indiana. The engagement was arranged by Luis Rojas, a licensed recovery agent northeastern Indiana.  There were local law enforcement officials, namely the Griffith Police Chief, who were interested in learning more about bail bond insurance impacting the County Extradition Fund. As I’ve written many times, deposit bail is used by a number of Indiana Courts to the detriment of Indiana residents. The extensive use of deposit bail also directly impacts, adversely so, the County Extradition Fund. In most states, revenue generated through the payment of bail bond forfeitures is deposited to the state or county general fund. In Indiana a bail bond forfeiture is comprised of two segments, the first 80% is considered a Late Surrender Fee while the…
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Bail Agents Endure Heat to Raise Cash for Kids

Even the suffocating heat of Texas in August could not wilt the enthusiasm and giving spirit of the golfers and volunteers participating in the 21st Annual Steven G. Whitlock Memorial Golf Tournament. Bondsmen from throughout Texas and across the country converged on Woodhaven Country Club in Fort Worth August 4th to help raise money for Camp Esperanza, a summer camp that hosts 140 kids battling cancer. The cost of sending a kid to Camp Esperanza is approximately $500 and it is the sole focus of SGW to underwrite the cost of sending as many kids as possible to summer camp. These kids, who deal with the difficulties of their struggle with cancer throughout the year, look forward to a week of stress free fun with their fellow soldiers. We are here to help…
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Chicago Venue Not Acceptable for Some PBUS Members

Each year the PBUS Board of Directors has the undeniable challenge of selecting a venue for their Mid-Year meeting (the PBUS winter conference is always in Las Vegas) that will be both accommodating for meetings and attractive to attendees who want something interesting to do in their free time.  All this to entice bail agents into spending a few days of their valuable summer months attending a conference.   Past summer conference locales include West Palm Beach, Seattle, San Antonio and San Diego.  With so many great locations to choose from why select a city in a state that has not allowed commercial bail bonds for more than forty years?   As a travel destination Chicago offers a plethora of things to hold one’s attention.  Downtown is clean and safe. …
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Chicago Venue Not Acceptable to Some PBUS Members

Each year the PBUS Board of Directors has the undeniable challenge of selecting a venue for their Mid-Year meeting (the PBUS winter conference is always in Las Vegas) that will be both accommodating for meetings and attractive to attendees who want something interesting to do in their free time. All this to entice bail agents into spending a few days of their valuable summer months attending a conference. Past summer conference locales include West Palm Beach, Seattle, San Antonio and San Diego. With so many great locations to choose from, why select a city in a state that has not allowed commercial bail bonds for more than forty years?   As a travel destination Chicago offers a plethora of things to hold one’s attention. Downtown is clean and safe. You can take in an…
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Mississippi is Rolling

Governor Barbour was on TV recently touting how clean the beaches are on the Mississippi coast, that the BP Oil Spill had not harmed their shores, so “come on down”.  Well I came on down, not because the Governor asked, but because I was already scheduled to attend the MBAA’s Summer Conference in Biloxi. Unfortunately, while the clean white sandy beaches of Biloxi were spotless, they were also empty.  Everyone must have been at the Treasure Bay Casino because it was packed with gamblers and MBAA members in town for the conference. The conference started with a fete at Thunders in Pascagoula where it was hot and sticky with cold beverages and karaoke.  Everyone seemed to have a good time enjoying some down time. Click to view MBAA 2010 Summer Meeting…
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Bail Bonds in Ohio – Looking Ahead

The Ohio Bail Agents Association held their third quarter meeting in Columbus this past Saturday.  The discussion centered on the upcoming legislative season and the needs of the commercial bail bond industry in Ohio. Similar to Indiana, Ohio courts are moving more and more toward the, revenue inspired, 10% bond option with many courts accepting to accept only 10% deposits; no bail bonds.  This short sighted strategy by some Ohio courts has placed a strain on the criminal justice system through increased failure to appear warrants, reduced conviction rates and the disenfranchisement of victims of crime. The State of Ohio is staring at an ugly $8 billion dollar budget shortfall in 2011 and must find ways to administer huge cuts in overhead.  One of the areas being looked at is…
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Bail Bond Business Never Dull

It was one of those three week stretches that had me in five states, thirteen airplanes, four hotels and four rental cars covering 10,000 nautical miles.  During this period was a combination of meetings with new bail bond agents, visiting with existing American Surety Company (ASC) bail agents and participating in meetings involving the expansion of commercial bail. California and Nevada My first stop was Las Vegas where it was 105 degrees in the shade.  I met with a new bail bonds agent for ASC before making a three hour drive to Riverside, California where I met with ASC agents in that market.  I made it back to Las Vegas that evening.   Fortunately, Nevada’s legislature is in the off season making it one less state to worry about, for…
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