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Wisconsin Bail Bonds

Republican lawmakers may try to resurrect bail bonding

By Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
May 18, 2013

Madison – Two years after lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to enlarge the state budget by creating a privately run bail bonds system in Wisconsin, the controversial idea could be returning.

Last time, the bipartisan group of opponents included the state’s judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, sheriffs and clerks of court – virtually the entire legal system. Gov. Scott Walker ultimately killed the idea by vetoing it in June 2011.

Today, the same groups seem poised to fight the plan, with a few exceptions such as Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.

Nevertheless, powerful Republican lawmakers in the state Assembly are determined to give it another hearing.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said allowing bail bondsmen would increase the number of people who show up at their court date and reduce costs for the court system, making it a good proposal to put back into the state budget.

“Why wouldn’t we?” he said. “I think if (46) other states have a (bail bonds) system with a higher show rate, that’s something we should emulate, not run away from.”

Supporters of the proposal, led by the American Bail Coalition, said that bondsmen would make government more efficient by ensuring more defendants make their court date. They say that’s why nearly every state has some form of bail bondsmen.

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