Young Harris, GA – In North Georgia, just a few miles south of the North Carolina line sits the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa, site of the 2013 Spring Meeting of the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen, Inc. The spring meeting is typically held on St. Simon’s Island or in Savannah. New GAPB President Scott Echols wanted to mix it up a bit and opted for the mountains of North Georgia for the first meeting of 2013.
I had accepted an invitation to speak on legislative matters impacting other states around the country. Though I was able to cover a lot of ground, an hour was not enough time to get to every issue. Being aware of trends affecting bail in other states can help state associations plan their legislative strategies to protect or improve their state’s bail market.
Those in attendance really wanted to learn more about favorable legislation that recently passed in their own state of Georgia. Senate Bill 225, which provides latitude to the surety to obtain exoneration of the bond when a defendant was found to be in custody in another jurisdiction, was sent to the governor April 6 for signature. The measure also provides for a remission period of 120 days after payment of the bond forfeiture judgment, to return the defendant to custody and receive a refund equal to 95 percent of the bond, less cost for extradition, if necessary. Click here to view SB 225.
Prior GAPB administrations had set the bar high with a rich history of GAPB achieving its legislative goals. In recent years the Georgia association was successful in increasing the gross bond premium to 12-15 percent, requiring a bail bond whenever an ankle monitor is set as a condition of release, requiring a defendant charged with certain felony offenses to post a bail bond and establishing a time certain to send notice of forfeiture to the surety.
GAPB President Scott Echols and his newly elected Board of Directors had their work cut out for them coming into their first legislative session. The GAPB legislative team worked tirelessly at the statehouse and brought in additional resources to help press their agenda. The end result was an impressive piece of legislation which, upon signing by Governor Nathan Deal, will create the incentive for bail agents to continue looking for fugitives even after a judgment has been paid and, in return, create the potential for Georgia bail agents to save thousands of dollars in losses every year.
I continue to be impressed with this association. Other state associations could learn from GAPB and their record of success.