Senate Bill 11-186 was scheduled to be heard today in the Senate Appropriations Committee when Senator Morse, the bill’s sponsor, didn’t show. The bill was ordered held over by Senator Steadman and is expected to be heard next week.
It’s very likely Senator Morse has seen the writing on the wall and believes his bill is fated to fail. SB 11-186, should it pass, would run bail agents out of business once the courts began releasing criminal defendants from jail on unsecured bail. Such a move would not only place Colorado bail bond agents on the unemployment scrolls, it would cost the state millions of dollars in lost revenue generated annually from the payment of premium taxes, licensing fees, court costs and bond forfeitures.
The negative fiscal impact SB 11-186 would create for the state is what has given pause to those legislators considering this measure. Like every other state in the country Colorado is looking for ways to increase revenues, not do away with a steady flow of income as is provided by the commercial bail bonds industry.
Of course, there is also the issue of bail bond agents providing a critical role in the criminal justice system by getting defendants to court and recovering those who fail to appear at no expense to taxpayers, but these days it’s all about the Benjamins.