If you want to get a glimpse of just how crazy and extreme things are getting at the General Assembly during the session’s hectic waning days, check out the debate surrounding this bill from the bail bonds industry that has been sliding through under the radar. It is premised on the truly cockamamie notion that publicly-supported pretrial release programs somehow constitute “unfair competition” for bail bondsmen. We are not making this up.
Over the weekend, the Wilmington Star News had a solid editorial on the topic that ought to be a “must read” for anyone following the subject.
North Carolina taxpayers don’t owe bail bondsmen a living, but a bill that’s making its way through the General Assembly would fatten their wallets at the expense of a pretrial release program that is well regarded by judges and court officials. The Honorables should lock up this legislation in a safe place and throw away the key.
Senate Bill 756 is a reworking of a bill introduced last year on behalf of the bail bonds industry that would have eliminated unsecured bond altogether. This bill is bad in its own right.
Some of its many opponents have dubbed it the “Liberty for Sale bill” because it virtually guarantees higher incomes for bondsmen by making candidates for pretrial release sit in jail for at least 48 hours before they can speak with a representative from the county-funded pretrial release programs.
In voting to advance the bill, a House judiciary subcommittee ignored testimony from judges, court and law enforcement officials, and others who say the bill would result in higher costs for taxpayers and add to jail overcrowding.
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