Over the last several years the Commercial Bail Industry has applied a forward press against unsecured release options, pretrial release, deposit bail and excessive OR releases by legislatively establishing that offenders charged with certain felony offenses would be ineligible for release on an unsecured bond without direct authorization by an elected judge.
The Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen (GAPB) followed a productive 2009 legislative effort with the passing of ground breaking legislation that requires GPS monitor providers to act as surety and the granting of bond exonerations for defendants who have been deported by passing bail restrictions legislation.
HB 889 received a favorable vote in the House yesterday and will now be sent to the governor to be signed into law. Once signed, HB 889 will severely restrict the ability of offenders charged with a broad range of felony charges from being released through pretrial service programs and on their own recognizance.
HB 889 requires an elected judge to directly approve the release of a defendant charged with certain felonies through a release option other than a secured bail bond. This is great news for the citizens of Georgia who have have been living in an environment where offenders have been regularly released from jail pretrial with little or no supervision and no one guaranteeing their appearance in court.
HB 889 will also have a direct impact on business for bondsmen operating not just in Atlanta where pretrial release has a significant presence, but statewide. Georgians will also see a lot less of their tax dollars going to fund free bail for criminal offenders and instead see it redirected towards law enforcement and education.
The passing of HB 889 is a big win for commercial bail in Georgia and a positive indicator for what can be achieved in the interest of public safety and commercial bail nationally when we work together as a team. GAPB was assisted in their efforts by the American Bail Coalition and the American Legislative Exchange Council and Rep. Len Walker. Well done all!