2011 - 2012 LEGISLATURE
February 15, 2012 - Introduced by Representatives Krug and Jacque. Referred to
Committee on Homeland Security and State Affairs.
1An Act to repeal
969.12 (1); to amend
subchapter II (title) of chapter 440 2
[precedes 440.26] and 969.12 (2); and to create
20.165 (1) (gk), 440.03 (13) (b) 3
12g., 440.03 (13) (b) 12r., 440.08 (2) (a) 15e., 440.08 (2) (a) 15m., 440.08 (2) (a) 4
15s., 440.28, 440.281, 440.282, 440.283, 440.284, 440.286, 440.287, 440.288, 5
440.289 and 628.02 (1) (b) 9. of the statutes; relating to: licensure of
6commercial bail bond agents and bail bond agencies and certification of
7commercial bail recovery agents, providing an exemption from emergency rule
8procedures, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, a defendant who has been arrested for a criminal offense or
a defendant who has been convicted of a crime and is awaiting sentencing may be
released with bail as a condition of release. Bail may be satisfied by the execution
of a bail bond with sufficient sureties. Most such sureties must be natural persons
who are Wisconsin residents. No surety may be compensated for acting as a surety
on a bail bond.
This bill authorizes the compensation of a surety on a bail bond if the surety is
a bail bond agent or a bail bond agency licensed by the Department of Safety and
Professional Services (DSPS) and the bail bond is underwritten by an insurance
company authorized to do a surety business in this state. A licensed bail bond agent
or agency must be compensated at a rate of 10 percent of the amount of the bond set.
Under the bill, DSPS must grant a license to act as a bail bond agent to an
individual who applies for licensure if DSPS determines that the individual satisfies
any education, training, and examination requirements established by DSPS by
rule, does not have a relevant arrest or conviction record, has paid an initial licensure
fee of $1,000, and satisfies any other requirements DSPS establishes by rule.
Similarly, the bill requires DSPS to grant a license to act as a bail bond agency
to a business if, after receiving an application for licensure, DSPS determines that
at least one owner, officer, director, member, or partner of the business is a bail bond
agent licensed by DSPS, that the business has paid an initial licensure fee of $1,000,
and that the business satisfies any other requirements imposed by DSPS.
The bill also establishes certification requirements for bail recovery agents. A
bail recovery agent is an individual who is compensated to locate, apprehend,
transport, or surrender a principal on a bail bond. Under the bill, only an individual
who is already licensed by DSPS as a private investigator may be certified as a bail
recovery agent in Wisconsin.
Under the bill, DSPS is required to keep a register of the names and addresses
of all licensed bail bond agents and agencies and all certified bail recovery agents.
DSPS must make that register available to the public. Additionally, on an annual
basis, DSPS must provide a complete list to the clerk of circuit court in each county
that includes the names and addresses of all licensed bail bond agents and agencies
and all certified bail recovery agents, and DSPS is required to promptly notify the
clerk of circuit court in each county concerning any disciplinary action DSPS takes
against a licensed bail bond agent or agency or a certified bail recovery agent.
The bill requires that a licensed bail bond agency file a bond or liability policy
with DSPS in an amount determined by DSPS by rule and that a licensed bail bond
agent who is not covered under an agency's bond or liability policy file a bond or
liability policy with DSPS in an amount determined by DSPS by rule.
The bill establishes specific restrictions concerning business referrals. No bail
bond agent or agency or bail recovery agent, and no agent or employee of a bail bond
agent or agency or bail recovery agent, may in the course of its business suggest that
a principal on a bail bond or prospective principal on a bail bond contact or engage
the services of a specific attorney or law firm. Also under the bill, no law enforcement
officer or other employee of the state or of a city, village, town, or county may suggest
that a defendant contact or engage the services of a specific bail bond agent or agency.
The bill directs DSPS to promulgate rules to administer licensure of bail bond
agents and agencies and certification of bail recovery agents. The rules promulgated
by DSPS must do at least all of the following:
1. Establish photograph identification requirements for bail bond agents and
bail recovery agents.
2. Establish rules of conduct for bail bond agents and agencies and bail recovery
agents, including rules that prohibit the use or display of badges, shields, or other
similar images or items normally associated with law enforcement; rules that
require contact with local law enforcement before an attempt is made to apprehend
a principal on a bail bond; and rules that establish other requirements concerning
the location, apprehension, transportation, and surrender of principals.
3. Establish procedures for the temporary certification of bail recovery agents
from other states. Under the bill, DSPS may also enter into reciprocal agreements
with other states concerning the activities of bail bond agents and agencies and bail
recovery agents in the respective states.
4. Establish appropriate education, training, examination, and other
requirements for the initial licensure of bail bond agents and the initial certification
of bail recovery agents and establish appropriate continuing education, training, and
other requirements for the renewal of those licenses and certifications.
In promulgating its rules, the bill requires DSPS to consult the laws of other
states and federal law regarding bail bond agents, bail bond agencies, and bail
recovery agents, and the bill requires DSPS to attempt to make its rules consistent
with those laws. The bill authorizes DSPS to issue emergency rules.
The bill further authorizes DSPS to take disciplinary action, including
imposing forfeitures established by DSPS by rule, but not exceeding $5,000, against
a bail bond agent or agency or a bail recovery agent that does any of the following:
1. Intentionally makes a material misstatement in an application for a license
or license renewal or a certification or certification renewal.
2. Advertises in a manner that is false or misleading.
3. Obtains or attempts to obtain compensation through fraud or deceit.
4. Violates the law, including rules promulgated by DSPS, regarding bail bond
agents and agencies and bail recovery agents or violates any other Wisconsin law,
any law of another state, or any federal law that substantially relates to the activity
of a bail bond agent or agency or a bail recovery agent.
5. Engages in unprofessional conduct.
Finally, the bill requires DSPS to establish an advisory committee to advise
DSPS on matters relating to the regulation of bail bond agents and agencies and bail
recovery agents. Under the bill, the committee must consist of six members
appointed by DSPS and one member appointed by the governor. The members of the
committee serve three-year terms and may not serve more than two consecutive
terms. The committee must consist of the following members:
1. One private criminal defense attorney admitted to practice law in Wisconsin.
2. One current or former law enforcement officer in Wisconsin.
3. One current or former Wisconsin circuit court judge.
4. One member of the public who is a Wisconsin citizen and who is not a current
or former law enforcement officer.
5. One member of the legislature, who is nominated by the governor and
appointed with the advice and consent of the senate.
6. Two representatives of the bail bond industry in Wisconsin.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB567, s. 1
20.005 (3) (schedule) of the statutes: at the appropriate place, insert 2
the following amounts for the purposes indicated:
- See PDF for table
AB567, s. 2
20.165 (1) (gk) of the statutes is created to read:
(gk) Bail bond agents.
The amounts in the schedule for the 5
administration of bail bond agent licenses, bail bond agency licenses, and bail 6
recovery agent certifications under ss. 440.28 to 440.289. All moneys received from 7
fees collected under s. 440.282 (1) (d), (2) (c), and (4) (b) shall be credited to this 8
AB567, s. 3
440.03 (13) (b) 12g. of the statutes is created to read:
(b) 12g. Bail bond agent.
AB567, s. 4
440.03 (13) (b) 12r. of the statutes is created to read:
(b) 12r. Bail recovery agent.
AB567, s. 5
440.08 (2) (a) 15e. of the statutes is created to read:
(a) 15e. Bail bond agency: December 1 of each odd-numbered year.
AB567, s. 6
440.08 (2) (a) 15m. of the statutes is created to read:
(a) 15m. Bail bond agent: December 1 of each even-numbered year.
AB567, s. 7
440.08 (2) (a) 15s. of the statutes is created to read:
(a) 15s. Bail recovery agent: September 1 of each even-numbered 5