The Indiana Surety Bail Agents Association held its Spring General Membership meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Indianapolis on Tuesday.
Elections were held in accordance with the By-Laws and Tony Widgery was reelected as President of ISBAA. Gary Logue replaced Linda Stamper as Treasurer while David Akers and Gary Good were elected to replace outgoing Area Directors, Kelly Bertholet and Dale Lanning.
Aaron Weese, a Virginia bondsmen and a representative of Virginians for the Preservation of Bail (now Americans for the Preservation of Bail) was the featured speaker. Mr. Weese informed attendees on recent efforts to limit Pretrial Services of Virginia to only providing free bail to those offenders qualified as being of indigent status. While their legislative effort did not succeed, this organization was successful in reducing the amount of money received from the state’s budget to fund their programs which will severely diminish their ability to continue operating.
ISBAA members were particularly interested in hearing about the successful legislative efforts of their association earlier this year. Although 2010 was a short legislative session, the ISBAA Legislative Committee chaired by Les Sebring, along with a tremendous effort from association lobbyists Jim Purucker and Bart Giesler, were able to pass SB 340. This legislation will improve commercial bail in Indiana in several ways:
1. A bail bond will expire 36 months after execution unless the bond has been forfeited and the court had given the bail and surety written legal notice within thirty days of the defendant’s failure to appear. Indiana courts will no longer be able to forfeit a bond several years after a failure to appear;
2. The court must now give the bail agent and surety 72 hours advance written notice of a trial date or a plea hearing;
3. Authorities refusing to extradite a defendant are now a defense to entry of judgment on forfeiture.
ISBAA has made a consistent effort to pass legislation that would require the use of a bail bond by offenders charged with certain felony offenses. ISBAA members were encouraged by the news that the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen, earlier this year, passed HB 889 which sets bail restrictions on a number of felony offenses. Energized by the efforts of GAPB, the ISBAA Legislative Committee will be meeting soon to discuss a legislative strategy for 2011 in hopes of enjoying similar success next year.
Speaking of GAPB, I will be attending their spring meeting next week on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I hope to see you there.
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