We have been keeping you informed, through our American Surety Company Legislative Update, about the ongoing efforts of Virginians for the Preservation of Bail (VPOB) to bring about reform of taxpayer funded Pretrial Services in the Commonwealth. VPOB introduced H.B. 728 which would require an offender to be brought before a judge and determined to be indigent before they can be released through a pretrial service agency.
I traveled to Richmond, Virginia this past Tuesday to attend the first hearing on H.B. 728. A number of bail agents, both surety and property writers, met outside the General Assembly Building adjacent to the Capitol Building to show their support for H.B. 728.
Supporters waited several hours before H.B. 728 was finally brought before the House of Delegates Subcommittee for Courts of Justice. Delegate Dave Albo, the Committee Chair is the sponsor of H.B. 728. After hearing testimony from supporters and opponents of the bill, H.B. 728 was passed out of committee on a 5-2 vote. A second bill, H.B. 1255, would allow a licensed bail bondsman to purchase a copy of criminal history records, was also passed out of subcommittee.
Both H.B. 728 and H.B. 1255 will now be brought before the Full Committee for Courts of Justice today, Wednesday, January 27, in the General Assembly Building in Richmond. A large number of bondsmen will be on hand to support this critical legislation. Thank you to all the Virginia bondsmen and the VPOB, in particular, for their efforts in working to correct the overfunded and ineffective pretrial release services in Virginia.