Governor Barbour was on TV recently touting how clean the beaches are on the Mississippi coast, that the BP Oil Spill had not harmed their shores, so “come on down”. Well I came on down, not because the Governor asked, but because I was already scheduled to attend the MBAA’s Summer Conference in Biloxi.
Unfortunately, while the clean white sandy beaches of Biloxi were spotless, they were also empty. Everyone must have been at the Treasure Bay Casino because it was packed with gamblers and MBAA members in town for the conference.
The conference started with a fete at Thunders in Pascagoula where it was hot and sticky with cold beverages and karaoke. Everyone seemed to have a good time enjoying some down time.
Patty Hodges is the current president of the MBAA and was re-elected to another term at this meeting. The MBAA is a well run organization and each meeting I’ve attended has well over 75 agents in attendance. They always make it fun by providing T-shirts to each attendee along with their conference packet. This year the T-shirt had a caricature of someone getting arrested over a slogan of “Support your local bondsmen, get arrested”.
House Bill 900 was passed earlier this year and soon becomes effective. Robert L. Perkins, Director of Licensing at the Mississippi Insurance Department, was on hand to discuss that portion of HB 900 that prohibits a bondsman from writing bail in a county where they are related to someone who comes in contact with bailable inmates. To demonstrate the breadth of the definition of relation, you would be in violation of this section of law if you are writing bail in a county where you are related to the coroner or someone who held a seat on the County Board of Supervisors. Furthermore, if you are related to a circuit court judge you are prohibited from writing bail bonds in any county located within that circuit.
The meeting also had a pleasant diversion with non-bail speaker Marshall Ramsey, a political cartoonist with The Clarion-Ledger who narrated a slide show presentation of his cartoons from the last ten years which included Hurricane Katrina. I was fortunate to win a signed copy of his collection of cartoons, 10! Marshall Ramsey’s Ten-Year Celebration.
MBAA Scholarships were awarded to three college students who met the character and academic requirements.
American Surety Company contributed to the MBAA’s already healthy bank account as one of the sponsors of 2010 Summer Conference. MBAA doesn’t get as much notice for their strong organization, as do some of the larger states, but they’re no less effective. Nice job MBAA, I can’t wait to return for your next big meeting.