PRINTER'S NO. 2174
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
INTRODUCED BY ALLOWAY, STACK, ROBBINS, BLAKE, McILHINNEY, WOZNIAK, FARNESE, SCHWANK, YUDICHAK, EICHELBERGER, BOSCOLA, PILEGGI AND KITCHEN, JUNE 23, 2014
REFERRED TO BANKING AND INSURANCE, JUNE 23, 2014
1Amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the
2Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in bonds and
3recognizances, amending provisions relating to professional
4bondsmen; and providing for authorization to conduct business
5within each county, for forfeited undertaking and for private
6cause of action.
13[PROFESSIONAL] BAIL BONDSMEN
16§ 5741. Definitions.
4"Department." The Insurance Department of the Commonwealth.
8"Office of the clerk." The office of the clerk of the court
9of common pleas of each judicial district in which a
10[professional bondsman] person engages in the business of [a
11professional bondsman] being a bail bondsman.
12["Professional bondsman." Any person, other than a fidelity
13or surety company or any of its officers, agents, attorneys, or
14employees, authorized to execute bail bonds or to solicit
15business on its behalf, who:
19(2) within a period of 30 days has become a surety, or
20has indemnified a surety, for the release on bail of a
21person, with or without a fee or compensation, or promise
22thereof, in three or more matters not arising out of the same
24§ 5742. [Registration and licensure] Licensure required.
25[(a) General rule.--No professional bondsman shall become
26surety on any undertaking, and no person shall engage in or
27continue to engage in business as a professional bondsman,
28unless he has been registered and is currently licensed as a
29professional bondsman by the Insurance Department as provided in
30this subchapter and has filed a copy of his license in the
1office of the clerk in the manner prescribed by general rules.
2(b) Form of application.--Every application for registration
3and licensure as a professional bondsman shall be made in
4writing upon such form as may be prescribed by regulations
5promulgated by the Insurance Department.] No person shall engage
6in, or continue to engage in, business providing bail bonds to
7the general public, unless the person has been licensed by the
8department as an insurance producer under the act of May 17,
91921 (P.L.789, No.285), known as The Insurance Department Act of
11Section 3. Section 5743 of Title 42 is repealed:
12[§ 5743. Issuance of license.
17(2) an annual license fee of $50;
24Section 4. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
25§ 5743.1. Authorization to conduct business within each county.
3(3) A qualifying power of attorney issued by an insurer
4authorizing the bail bondsman as a producer on behalf of the
5insurer. The qualifying power of attorney must set forth, in
6clear and unambiguous terms, the maximum monetary authority
7of the bail bondsman per bond.
10§ 5744. Office.
11No [license shall be issued to, and no] privileges or rights
12conferred by any license issued under the provisions of this
13subchapter shall be exercised by[, any professional] any bail
14bondsman, unless such [professional] bail bondsman has and shall
15thereafter maintain [an] a bona fide office [in the county in
16which he conducts or intends to conduct his business] eligible
17to receive service of legal process in this Commonwealth.
20[The Insurance Department, upon the written request of any
21applicant for a license or for renewal thereof whose application
22therefor has been refused, shall afford such applicant a hearing
23on the question of the grant or renewal of a license.]
24(a) General rule.--Where the court of common pleas for the
25county where the bail bondsman is authorized to conduct business
26has been unable to collect unpaid forfeitures after a period of
27six months, the court, upon petition of the county solicitor,
28shall issue an order directing the department to:
5(1) Prior to the issuance of an order to suspend,
6nonrenew or deny a license, the bail bondsman and insurer who
7issued the qualifying power of attorney shall be given
8advance notice. The notice shall specify all of the
14(iii) That the grounds for contesting the notice
15shall be limited to mistakes of fact. Mistakes of fact
16shall be limited to errors in the amount of forfeitures
17owed or mistaken identity of the bail bondsman as the
18person who was subjected to the criminal conviction or
19civil determination of insolvency.
20(iv) That an order to the licensing authority to
21automatically suspend, nonrenew or deny the license will
22occur in all cases 60 days after issuance of the notice
23unless the amount of forfeitures is paid, a periodic
24payment schedule is approved by the court or the
25individual is excused from payment due to a mistake of
27(c) Order.--The following shall apply:
1department to suspend or deny the issuance or renewal of a
2license. Upon receipt, the department shall immediately
3comply with the order or directive. The department shall have
4no authority to stay implementation of the order or to hold a
5hearing except in cases of mistaken identity. A copy of the
6order issued by the court shall be served upon the bail
7bondsman and insurer by certified mail, return receipt
9(2) To contest any order, the bail bondsman or surety
10must appear before the court no later than ten days after
11issuance of the order. The grounds for contesting shall be
12limited to mistakes of fact. If it is determined, after a
13hearing by the court, that a mistake of fact has occurred,
14the action shall be modified accordingly within ten days.
25(f) Immunity.--The court, the department or any employee of
26any of these entities, or any person appointed by these
27entities, shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability
28for carrying out its duties under this section.
1(a) General rule.--Upon petition of the district attorney or
2by any interested person to suspend or revoke the [license
3issued to any licensee] authority to conduct business in a
4county of any bail bondsman granted under this subchapter, a
5rule shall issue out of the court of common pleas, returnable
6not less than ten days after the issuance thereof. It shall be
7sufficient service of the said rule upon any [licensee to leave
8a copy thereof at] bail bondsman to send by certified mail,
9return receipt requested, to the address filed by the [licensee]
10bail bondsman with the clerk pursuant to this subchapter.
11(b) Grounds for suspension or revocation.--Any [license
12issued] authority granted under the provisions of this
13subchapter may be suspended, by any court of common pleas for a
14period less than the unexpired portion of the period for which
15such license shall have been issued, or may be revoked for good
16cause, or for any one or more of the following causes:
24(4) Upon being adjudged a bankrupt or insolvent.
29Section 6. Section 5747 of Title 42 is repealed:
30[§ 5747. Statements by fidelity or surety companies.
1Any fidelity or surety company, authorized to act as surety
2within this Commonwealth, may execute an undertaking as surety
3by the hand of an officer, employee, agent, or attorney,
4authorized thereto by a resolution of its board of directors, a
5certified copy of which, under its corporate seal, shall be
6filed with the undertaking. Fidelity or surety companies engaged
7in the business of entering bail shall file, with the clerk of
8the court of common pleas and with the district attorney of each
9county in which bail is entered, a statement, quarterly on which
10shall appear a summary of all bail entered by such company
11during the previous quarter, together with the compensation
13Section 7. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
14§ 5747.1. Forfeited undertaking.
15(a) General rule.--If a defendant in a criminal prosecution
16fails to appear for any scheduled court proceeding, the
17defendant's bail may be revoked and notice of revocation shall
18serve as notice of intent to forfeit the bail of the defendant.
19Such notice or order of revocation shall be sent by the clerk of
20court to the defendant, bail bondsman and insurer who has issued
21the qualifying power of attorney for the bail bondsman.
22(b) Payment.--The following shall apply:
23(1) Ninety days from the date of the notice of
24revocation or order of revocation, the revocation shall
25become a judgment of forfeiture, payment of which shall be
26immediately required by the defendant or surety. Failure of a
27bail bondsman to make a timely payment of a forfeiture
28judgment shall result in the clerk of court's commencing
29suspension or revocation of license proceedings with the
30department as set forth under section 5746 (relating to
3(2) Payment of any forfeited undertaking shall be made
4directly to the clerk of courts not later than the close of
5business on the 91st day following the issuance of the notice
6of revocation. If the defendant has been recovered and placed
7into custody through the efforts of the bail bondsman or
8discovered to be in custody by the bail bondsman prior to the
991st day, no payment of the forfeited undertaking shall be
10required. If the defendant is placed into custody, the court
11shall determine whether the bail revocation shall be set
12aside with the reinstitution of bail pursuant to the rules of
13criminal procedure. The bail bondsman shall not continue as
14surety on reinstated bail unless a written consent is signed
15by the bail bondsman agreeing to such extension of
21(4) The clerk of courts shall provide a summary
22quarterly statement of all overdue forfeited undertakings
23which have not been paid by each bail bondsman and corporate
24surety insurer. The bail bondsman or corporate surety insurer
25shall be afforded 30 days from the date of the statement to
26render payment of the forfeited undertakings. Failure to
27render payment by close of business on the 31st day shall
28result in suspension of the ability to conduct business of
29both the bail bondsman and the corporate surety insurer in
30that judicial district until such time as payment is rendered
1in full. Both the bail bondsman and the corporate surety
2insurer may be subject to formal suspension or termination
3proceedings pursuant to section 5746. In addition, the surety
4may be subjected to further administrative penalties, to be
5determined by the department, consistent with the act of July
622, 1974 (P.L.589, No.205), known as the Unfair Insurance
8(5) If the defendant is recovered after the 91st day
9following the forfeiture, a surety may petition the court in
10which the revocation and forfeiture occurred to remit all or
11a portion of the funds collected in exchange for the absence
12of the defendant. The court shall remit payment as follows:
13(i) If the defendant is recovered between the 91st
14day and six months after the order of revocation or
15forfeiture, the surety shall recover the full value of
16the forfeited amount of the bond, less an administrative
17fee in the amount of $250.
26(6) No third-party surety shall be responsible to render
27payment on a forfeited undertaking if the revocation of bail
28is sought for failure of the defendant to comply with the
29conditions of the defendant's release other than appearance.
30Any violation of performance conditions by a defendant shall
4Section 8. Section 5748 of Title 42 is repealed:
5[§ 5748. Maximum premiums.
6(a) General rule.--No professional bondsman shall charge a
7premium or compensation for acting as surety on any undertaking
8in excess of 10% for the first $100, and 5% for each additional
9$100 of such undertaking.
10(b) Civil penalty.--In any action brought to recover an
11overcharge by a professional bondsman, where such overcharge is
12proved, the professional bondsman shall be liable to pay treble
13damages therefor and reasonable counsel fees.]
14Section 9. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
15§ 5748.1. Private cause of action.
16(a) Self-policing.--Any bail bondsman or surety who
17determines that a competitor has engaged in an activity that is
18in violation of any provision of this chapter may commence a
19cause of action seeking monetary damages, declaratory judgment
20or injunctive relief from the court of common pleas of the
21county in which the violation occurred. The violation must be
22proven by clear and convincing evidence.
23(b) Frivolous actions.--Any bail bondsman or surety who
24wrongfully commences a baseless action, knowingly without any
25merit or evidence, shall be subject to actual damages in the
26amount of the costs of the defense of the suit and punitive
27damages of an equal amount to those costs that constitute actual
29Section 10. Section 5749 of Title 42 is amended to read:
30§ 5749. Prohibitions and penalties.
1(a) Licensing.--Any person who engages in business as a
2[professional] bail bondsman without being registered and
3licensed in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter,
4or who engages in such business while his license is suspended
5or revoked, commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.
6(b) Overcharging.--Any person charging or receiving directly
7or indirectly any greater compensation for acting as a
8[professional] bail bondsman than is provided by this subchapter
9commits a summary offense.
17(e) Public officials.--The following shall apply:
18(1) Any law enforcement officer, any employee of a penal
19institution, or any other system or related personnel, who
20has, directly or indirectly, any pecuniary interest in or
21derives any profit from the bonding business or activity of a
22[professional] bail bondsman commits a summary offense.
23(2) (i) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), it shall not be
24unlawful for a person who serves as a law enforcement
25officer, employee of a penal institution or any other
26system or related personnel to engage in the service of
27aiding a bail bondsman in fugitive recovery so long as
28all of the following apply:
3(B) The person is compensated separately.
4(ii) Any person who engages in fugitive recovery
5while in the service of the city, county or State or
6engages in fugitive recovery in uniform or under badge of
7the person's office commits a misdemeanor of the second
9(f) Public solicitation.--Any [professional] bail bondsman
10who solicits business in any of the courts or on the premises of
11any tribunal of this Commonwealth, including any tribunal
12conducted by a magisterial district judge, commits a summary
14Section 11. This act shall take effect in 90 days.