SB 395 Modifies provisions governing the regulation of the bail bond industry by the Department of Insurance
Sponsor: Goodman
LR Number: 1844S.01I Fiscal Note:
Committee: Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence
Last Action: 3/3/2011 - Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Journal Page: S393
Title: Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2011

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Current Bill Summary


SB 395 - This act modifies provisions governing the regulation of the bail bond industry by the Department of Insurance (department).

SECTION 374.702 - Currently, no judge, attorney, court official, law enforcement officer, or government employee who is elected or appointed can be licensed as any type of bail bond agent. This section prohibits employees, contractors, and volunteers of a court, law enforcement agency, or jail, or anyone who works at the location of a court, law enforcement agency or jail, to be licensed as a bail bond agent or general bail bond agent.

This section provides that the power of attorney shall be in the form and manner prescribed by the director.

SECTION 374.705 - This section increases the maximum amount that can be charged for a bail bond agent license or renewal from $150 to $300. Quarterly financial statement fees cannot exceed $50.

SECTION 374.710 and 374.784 - These sections increase the initial training requirement from twenty-four hours to forty hours. The director is required to adopt rules to prescribe an approval process for instructors, require all instruction to occur in a classroom, and to provide for the monitoring of training and continuing education classes to ensure approved curriculum is being followed.

Current law requires applicants to have a high school diploma or a general education development certificate. This act requires applicants to have a diploma or a high school equivalency certificate issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The fee charged by the director to issue a two-year license shall not exceed $300. The fee currently cannot exceed $150.

SECTION 374.715 - Under this section, applicants for general bail bond agents and bail bond agents cannot be convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude, whether a sentence was imposed or not. Those licensed as of August 28, 2011 shall not be required to meet this provision.

Current law requires applicants to have a high school diploma or a general education development certificate. This act requires applicants to have a diploma or a high school equivalency certificate issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The applicant must also have at least $10,000 of assets in a financial institution of the department's choosing. The assets may be in various forms, rather than as a liquid asset only. Currently, the director may require an additional amount, up to $25,000, to be held by the applicant. Under this section, such amount is increased to $50,000.

SECTION 374.720 - This section specifies what the examination for a license will be testing and provides guidelines for notification of the results and retaking of the test.

SECTION 374.730 - The department shall provide the director of the Department of Revenue with the name and Social Security number of each applicant or licensee renewing his or her license. The Department of Revenue shall verify if the person is delinquent on any state taxes or has failed to file an income tax return during the last three years. If such information is verified, the application shall be denied or the license shall not be renewed within 90 days, unless the situation is remedied.

SECTION 374.740 - This section provides that nonresidential general bail bond agents must deposit $25,000 of assets with the department for the security of its outstanding surety bond obligations. The director may require additional assets to be required, but such amount cannot exceed $50,000. Currently, the money is assigned to the department, and such assignment becomes effective upon a violation by the applicant.

SECTION 374.755 - Currently, the department may file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission regarding a licensee for being convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude within the past fifteen years if it is prior to the issuance of the license. This section would allow such complaint to be made regardless of when the conviction occurred. Under this section, a complaint may also be filed for submitting a fraudulent financial statement or statement of outstanding bonds, or for financial irresponsibility or untrustworthiness.

SECTION 374.760 - This section requires general bail bond agents to file certain information with the department. Certain required financial information, which is described in this section, must be filed with the initial application and then on an annual basis. Transfer of real estate listed as an asset must be provided to the director within 10 days.

Each general bail bond agent must file a quarterly financial statement and a monthly statement of outstanding bonds with the department. Failure to do so will result in removal from the preapproved list of such agents kept by the department and can be the basis to file a complaint against an agent with the Administrative Hearing Commission.

The director shall provide a list of preapproved general bail bond agents to the courts. An agent's inclusion on the list is based on a permitted amount of outstanding bonds that may be written compared to the agent's assets. If the agent's amount of outstanding bonds reaches a certain level compared to its assets, the agent shall be removed from the list until such amount is within permitted limits.

For general bail bond agents acting as property bail bondsmen, the value of any particular bond shall not exceed 50% of the general bail bond agent's secured assets less encumbrances.

Intentionally providing fraudulent or misleading financial statements or statements of outstanding bonds is a class D felony.

SECTION 374.763 - Currently, if a judgement ordering a forfeiture of a defendant's bond is not paid within six months, the court shall extend the judgment date or notify the department, which shall then take appropriate action. Under this section, if a bond is posted and the defendant fails to appear, the court shall immediately issue an arrest warrant and enter a bond forfeiture for the state or municipality and against the general bail bond agent and insurer. The general bail bond agent shall be given 90 days before the forfeiture is considered final, unless the court grants an extension.

This section lists specific circumstances when a forfeiture shall be set aside, including the defendant being incarcerated elsewhere, being deported, dying, and other just causes. Thirty days after the judgment, the court shall distribute the amount tendered and notify the department. If the bond forfeiture is not paid within 30 days, the general bail bond agent's authorization to write bail bonds shall be immediately suspended until the judgment is satisfied.

Thirty days after the final judgement, if an insurer fails to pay a bond forfeiture, its authorization to transact business in the state shall be immediately suspended unless the judgement is satisfied.

SECTION 374.766 - If the director determines a person has violated, or aided in the violation of, the bail bond regulations, he or she may issue administrative orders. The civil penalties and forfeitures for various offenses are categorized under Section 374.049.

SECTION 374.770 - This section repeals the current provision regarding the effect of a defendant's incarceration elsewhere on a bond forfeiture.

SECTION 374.783 - This section increases the maximum amount that can be charged for a surety recovery agent license or renewal from $150 to $300.

This act is similar to SB 892 (2010).

MEGHAN LUECKE