A bill that would have added a $15 fee to each bail bond was held up in the Appropriations Committee yesterday and is now dead for the 2015 session of the California State Legislature.
The California Department of Insurance was behind efforts to pass AB 1406 which, if passed, would have generated millions of dollars for the Bail Investigation and Prosecution Fund. This fund would have underwritten the costs to investigate complaints against California Bail Agents.
Commercial surety companies and bail agents doing business in California already pay millions of dollars annually to the State of California and the California Department of Insurance, in the way of premium taxes, licensing fees and appointment fees, so the addition of a $15 per bond fee seemed excessive.
AB 1406 faced opposition from the California Bail Agents Association, Golden State Bail Agent Association and the American Bail Coalition. This bill received support from a small group of bail agents who believe more investigation of the commercial bail industry is needed.
As with every profession and industry there are going to be bad actors. These bad actors need to be rooted out. It was the opinion of many the State of California already receives sufficient revenue from the commercial bail industry to fund investigations of bail related complaints. Many viewed the proposed $15 fee as a tax on the commercial bail industry and it would have made it more costly for criminal offenders to bail out of jail.
The best thing bail agents can do to reduce the number of complaints filed with the California Department of Insurance is to conduct business professionally and within the confines of the law as the majority of bail agents in California and across the Country do already.