By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In the House Standing Committee on State Government Chairman Jamie Ison (R) from Mobile
announced that the request for a public hearing for Senate Bill 319 is waived. Senate Bill 319 requires
that professional bondsmen complete an initial instructional course and pass an examination prior to serving as a professional bondsman and it require continuing education to keep a bondsman license. It also provides for the suspension of a professional bondsman upon failure to complete the requirements. It provides for fees and provide for disbursement of the fees.
SB 319 sponsored by Senator Tom Whatley (R) from Lee County defines a “professional bondsman” as any individual person or agent who is employed by a professional surety company or professional bail company to solicit and execute appearance bonds or actively seek bail bond business for or in behalf of a professional surety company or a professional bail company. On or before December 31 of each year, a professional bondsman shall submit the certificate of completion of the 12-hour continuing education course to the court clerk, magistrate judge, judicial officer, sheriff, chief of police, individual, department, or any designee thereof, who is responsible for issuing bail bonds for each jurisdiction in which the professional bail bondsman is doing business.
The cost of the 20-hour course and test shall not exceed five hundred dollars and the cost of the
annual 12-hour continuing education course shall not exceed five hundred dollars The money collected by the association for the administration of any course, test, or continuing education course under this section shall be distributed as follows: 85% to the association administering the coursework or test, 5% to the local Judicial Administrative Fund, 5% to the local circuit court clerk’s , and 5% to the Alabama Sheriff’s Association.
Rep. Jim McClendon (R) from Springville said, “I have talked to the people supporting this bill and I have explained to them that they have gone about this in a wrong way. There is a more appropriate approach.” McClendon said that instead of the state bondsman association regulating their own membership setting ups a state agency is the better approach. “Put the teeth of a regulatory authority in a state agency.”
Rep. McClendon said, “I think they (the bondsmen) have come a long way in a short time” and said that he supports their bill which he voted for in the committee.
McClendon said that he is committed to working with the bail bondsmen on a bill for next year setting up a state agency with regulatory authority over the bondsmen and letting the association just represent the members.
The committee referred HB 319 to action by the full House with a favorable report. SB 319 passed out of committee with unanimous support, but there is still a strong possibility that the full house may not have time to handle the legislation before this session expires.