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HB 534 - Bail enforcement agent registration

HB 534 - Bail enforcement agent registration

Phil Haunschild
February 22, 2018

Bill description: HB 534 would establish a state registration and increased government regulation of bail enforcement agents (bounty hunters).

Rating: -3

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

HB 534 would institute mandatory procedures for the bail enforcement profession, taking away from the ability of each bail agent to choose how the enforcement agents perform their work. For example, HB 534 would require that every bail enforcement agent wear a jacket, shirt, or vest with the words “bail enforcement agent” plainly visible when performing their work (with exceptions), notify the county sheriff before an apprehension, and carry a photograph and address for the individual the agent is seeking to apprehend.


Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market? 

HB 534 establishes new standards for the bail enforcement profession. Currently, the profession operates without substantial government regulation; bail agents, such as surety insurance companies, are allowed to choose who to hire as an enforcement agent.

Under HB 534, all bail enforcement agents would be required to:

  • Be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Be of sound mental health
  • Not be a fugitive from justice

These new requirements would restrict who can work in the industry. The 21 years of age requirement, for example, would prohibit individuals who could be qualified and effective currently from performing their work. Even while our nation allows individuals who are younger than 21 to join the military and perform all the work that entails, this bill would not allow those same individuals to work as bail enforcement agents.


Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes? 

If an individual worked as a bail enforcement agent without meeting the new requirements under HB 534, he would be liable for a fine of $1,000 and charged with a misdemeanor. For second and subsequent offenses, an individual would be charged with a misdemeanor, be fined up to $2,000, and sentenced up to six months in jail.


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