Kansas House bill tightens restrictions on bail bondsmen

2/9/2014

By SARAH KRAMER

By SARAH KRAMER

KU Statehouse Wire Service

A Kansas House bill being debated by the Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee would create tighter restrictions on bail bondsmen to help legitimize the business.

The Kansas Bail Agents Association supported House Bill 2493 on Thursday, which would amend a 2013 Kansas statute and prevent a person convicted of a felony to be a bondsman, as well as requiring out of state bondsmen to sub-contract with a local bonding firm. The bill also seeks to make sexual relations between a surety and the subject of a surety agreement unlawful.

In its simplest terms, a surety bond is a financial guarantee that the subject will complete the work they have committed to. In reference to the bill, a surety is the company, or individual working for the company, that provides this promise.

The KBAA supported the bill as a means of the improving the legitimacy of bondsmen across the state.

"The reality of it is, if you're a bondsman, you probably shouldn't have a felony and bond out other criminals," said Kevin Barone, the legislative representative for the KBAA.

In written testimony, Shane Rolf, a bail bondsman in Olathe and KBAA executive vice president, supported the bill, writing that by outlawing sexual relationships between a surety and the subject of the surety, it would allow for an extra level of protection for the bondsman.

"There is not a bail bondsman I know who has not been offered sexual favors in exchange for posting bond," Rolf wrote. "By making this type of consensual sexual contact illegal, the bail bondsman can easily dispose of these offers."

Opponents of the bill Kevin Moriarty and Daniel Creitz, Chief Judge of the 10th Judicial District and Chief Judge of the 31st Judicial District, respectively, reached an agreement with Rolf and Barone to change the language on certain amendments proposed. After the agreement, Moriarty and Creitz agreed that they, as well as the Kansas District Judges Association, would like to be listed as neutral on the bill.

The Committee will deliberate on the bill over the course of the next week, announcing their decision on Feb. 12.

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