Bill description: SB 1110 would establish standards of behavior for bail enforcement agents (bounty hunters) and would eliminate vague language which could lead to bail agents losing their license.

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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?

SB 1110 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 set their own standards for employees.

Under SB 1110, all bail enforcement agents would be required to:

  • Be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Be free of severe mental disability.
  • Not be a fugitive from justice.

Agents would have to take particular actions, as SB 1110 would institute mandatory procedures for the bail enforcement profession, taking away from each bail agent the power to choose how the enforcement agents perform their work. For example, SB 1110 would require that every bail enforcement wear an identifying badge, notify the county sheriff when making an arrest and carry “(a) an affidavit in a form approved by the Idaho Supreme Court extending  the authority to arrest the defendant; (b) The name, last known address, and photograph of the defendant; (c) The name and principal address of the surety insurance company, its bail agent, or the person posting a property bond or cash deposit that is empowering the bail enforcement agent to arrest the defendant; and (d) A valid driver’s license or other photographic identifying document or information.

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Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

SB 1110 would eliminate language from the bail agent licensing statute which requires the director of the Department of Insurance to revoke the license of any bail agent that “has been convicted or has entered a guilty plea to any felony or to a misdemeanor which evidences bad moral character, dishonesty, a lack of integrity and financial responsibility, or an unfitness and inability to provide acceptable service to the consuming public.” Bail agents are individuals or businesses which are licensed to offer surety insurance and offer, sell, or provide services for bail contracts. For clarification, bail enforcement agents (bounty hunters) work for bail agents to recover the money bail agents lose when individuals skip town or do not show up for the court dates.

By eliminating this vague language regarding bad moral character, dishonesty, and unfitness, SB 1110 would protect bail agents from losing their license for reasons separate from their ability to perform their work effectively. SB 1110 would change the language about revocation to include a felony conviction or a misdemeanor evidencing theft, dishonesty, intimidation, threats, or violence.

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