PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 2174
PRINTER'S NO. 2334
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
INTRODUCED BY ALLOWAY, STACK, ROBBINS, BLAKE, McILHINNEY, WOZNIAK, FARNESE, SCHWANK, YUDICHAK, EICHELBERGER, BOSCOLA, PILEGGI, KITCHEN, RAFFERTY, BREWSTER, SOLOBAY, KASUNIC AND BAKER, JUNE 23, 2014
SENATOR WHITE, BANKING AND INSURANCE, AS AMENDED, SEPTEMBER 24, 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.
1meanings given to them in this section:
5"Department." The Insurance Department of the Commonwealth.
6"Insurer." <-A surety, insurance or fidelity company
7authorized to conduct business by the department and approved to
8underwrite bail bonds. <-As defined in section 601-A of the act of
9May 17, 1921 (P.L.789, No.285), known as The Insurance
10Department Act of 1921.
11"Office of the clerk." The office of the clerk of the court
12of common pleas of each judicial district in which a
13[professional bondsman] person engages in the business of [a
14professional bondsman] <-being a bail bondsman.
15["Professional bondsman." Any person, other than a fidelity
16or surety company or any of its officers, agents, attorneys, or
17employees, authorized to execute bail bonds or to solicit
18business on its behalf, who:
22(2) within a period of 30 days has become a surety, or
23has indemnified a surety, for the release on bail of a
24person, with or without a fee or compensation, or promise
25thereof, in three or more matters not arising out of the same
30§ 5742. [Registration and licensure] Licensure required.
1[(a) General rule.--No professional bondsman shall become
2surety on any undertaking, and no person shall engage in or
3continue to engage in business as a professional bondsman,
4unless he has been registered and is currently licensed as a
5professional bondsman by the Insurance Department as provided in
6this subchapter and has filed a copy of his license in the
7office of the clerk in the manner prescribed by general rules.
8(b) Form of application.--Every application for registration
9and licensure as a professional bondsman shall be made in
10writing upon such form as may be prescribed by regulations
11promulgated by the Insurance Department.] No person shall engage
12in, or continue to engage in, the business <-providing bail bonds
13to the general public <-of a bail bondsman, unless the person has
14been licensed by the department as an insurance producer under
<-15Article VI-A of the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L.789, No.285), known
16as The Insurance Department Act of 1921<-, and possesses a
17casualty line of authority.
18Section 3. Section 5743 of Title 42 is repealed:
19[§ 5743. Issuance of license.
24(2) an annual license fee of $50;
1Section 4. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
2§ 5743.1. Authorization to conduct business within each county.
10(3) A qualifying power of attorney issued by an insurer
11authorizing the bail bondsman as a producer on behalf of the
12insurer. The qualifying power of attorney must set forth, in
13clear and unambiguous terms, the maximum monetary authority
14of the bail bondsman per bond.
17§ 5744. Office.
18No [license shall be issued to, and no] privileges or rights
19conferred by any license issued under the provisions of this
20subchapter shall be exercised by[, any professional] any bail
21bondsman, unless such [professional] bail bondsman has and shall
22thereafter maintain [an<-] a bona fide office [in the county in
23which he conducts or intends to conduct his business] <-that is
24geographically located in this Commonwealth and eligible to
25receive service of legal process in this Commonwealth. <-original
26process and other legal papers as set forth by the Pennsylvania
27Rules of Civil Procedure or other applicable court rule.
2[The Insurance Department, upon the written request of any
3applicant for a license or for renewal thereof whose application
4therefor has been refused, shall afford such applicant a hearing
5on the question of the grant or renewal of a license.]
6(a) General rule.--Where the court of common pleas for the
7county where the bail bondsman is authorized to conduct business
8has been unable to collect unpaid forfeitures after a period of
9six months, the court, upon petition of the county solicitor <-or
10district attorney, shall issue an order directing the department
18(1) Prior to the issuance of an order to suspend<-, or
19nonrenew <-or deny a license, the bail bondsman and insurer who
20issued the qualifying power of attorney shall <-both be given
21advance notice <-by certified mail, return receipt requested.
22The notice shall specify all of the following:
27(iii) That the grounds for contesting the notice
28shall be limited to mistakes of fact. Mistakes of fact
29shall be limited to errors in the amount of forfeitures
30owed or mistaken identity of the bail bondsman as the
3(iv) That an order to the <-licensing authority
4department to automatically suspend<-, nonrenew or deny the
5license will occur in all cases 60 30 days after <-issuance
6delivery of the notice <-by certified mail, return receipt
7requested, unless the amount of forfeitures is paid, a
8periodic payment schedule is approved by the court or the
9individual is excused from payment due to a mistake of
11(c) Order.--The following shall apply:
12(1) Thirty days after the issuance of the notice, if the
13bail bondsman has not paid the amount of forfeitures due, the
14court shall direct or cause an order to be issued to the
15department to suspend or deny <-the issuance or renewal of a
16license. Upon receipt, the department shall immediately
17comply with the order or directive. The department shall have
18no authority to stay implementation of the order or to hold a
19hearing except in cases of mistaken identity. A copy of the
20order issued by the court shall be served upon the bail
21bondsman and insurer by certified mail, return receipt
23(2) To contest any order, the bail bondsman or <-surety
<-24insurer must appear before the court no later than ten days
25after issuance of the order. The grounds for contesting shall
26be limited to mistakes of fact. If it is determined, after a
27hearing by the court, that a mistake of fact has occurred,
28the action shall be modified accordingly within ten days.
1the bail bondsman conducts business.
<-2(3) A person whose license has been suspended or
3nonrenewed by the department pursuant to this section is
4prohibited from engaging in the business of a bail bondsman
5in any county of this Commonwealth.
<-13(f) Immunity.--The court, the department or any employee of
14any of these entities, or any person appointed by these
15entities, shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability
16for carrying out its duties under this section.
<-17(f) Immunity.--The court, the department, the county
18solicitor and the district attorney, and any employee or
19appointee of these entities, shall not be subject to civil or
20criminal liability for carrying out the entity's duties under
21this section. Nothing in this section is intended to limit the
22civil or criminal liability of a bail bondsman or an employee or
26(a) General rule.--Upon petition of the district attorney or
27[by any interested person<-] county solicitor to suspend or revoke
28the [license issued to any licensee] authority <-of a bail
29bondsman to conduct business in a county <-of any bail bondsman
<-30that has been granted under this subchapter, a rule shall issue
1out of the court of common pleas, returnable not less than ten
2days after the issuance thereof. It shall be sufficient service
3of the said rule upon any [licensee to leave a copy thereof at]
4bail bondsman to send by certified mail, return receipt
5requested, to the address filed by the [licensee] bail bondsman
6with the <-office of the clerk pursuant to this subchapter.
7(b) Grounds for suspension or revocation.--Any [license
8issued] authority granted under the provisions of this
9subchapter may be suspended, by any court of common pleas for a
10period less than the unexpired portion of the period for which
11such license shall have been issued, or may be revoked for good
12cause, or for any one or more of the following causes:
20(4) Upon being adjudged [a<-] bankrupt or insolvent.
25Section 6. Section 5747 of Title 42 is repealed:
26[§ 5747. Statements by fidelity or surety companies.
27Any fidelity or surety company, authorized to act as surety
28within this Commonwealth, may execute an undertaking as surety
29by the hand of an officer, employee, agent, or attorney,
30authorized thereto by a resolution of its board of directors, a
1certified copy of which, under its corporate seal, shall be
2filed with the undertaking. Fidelity or surety companies engaged
3in the business of entering bail shall file, with the clerk of
4the court of common pleas and with the district attorney of each
5county in which bail is entered, a statement, quarterly on which
6shall appear a summary of all bail entered by such company
7during the previous quarter, together with the compensation
9Section 7. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
10§ 5747.1. Forfeited undertaking.
11(a) General rule.--If a defendant in a criminal prosecution
12fails to appear for any scheduled court proceeding, the
13defendant's bail may be revoked and notice of revocation shall
14serve as notice of intent to forfeit the bail of the defendant.
15Such notice or order of revocation shall be sent by the <-office
16of the clerk of court to the defendant, <-surety or bail bondsman
17and insurer who has issued the qualifying power of attorney for
18the bail bondsman<-, by certified mail, return receipt requested.
19(b) Payment.--The following shall apply:
20(1) Ninety days from the date of <-delivery of the notice
21of revocation or order of revocation, the revocation shall
22become a judgment of forfeiture, payment of which shall be
23immediately required by the defendant or surety. Failure of a
24bail bondsman to make a timely payment of a forfeiture
25judgment shall result in the <-clerk of court's commencing
26suspension or revocation of license proceedings with the
27department as set forth under <-district attorney or county
28solicitor commencing proceedings to suspend or revoke the
29authority of the bail bondsman otherwise consistent with
30section 5746 (relating to suspension or revocation of
1authority to conduct business in a county).
2(2) Payment of any forfeited undertaking shall be made
3directly to the office of the clerk <-of courts not later than
4the close of business on the 91st day following the issuance
5of the notice of revocation. If the defendant has been
6recovered and placed into custody through the efforts of the
7bail bondsman or <-discovered to be in custody proof has been
8provided to the court that the defendant has been discovered
9to be in custody in another jurisdiction by the bail bondsman
10prior to the 91st day, no payment of the forfeited
11undertaking shall be required. If the defendant is placed
12into custody, the court shall <-determine whether the bail
13revocation shall be set aside <-the bail revocation and may
14release the defendant with the reinstitution of bail pursuant
15to the rules of criminal procedure <-Pennsylvania Rules of
16Criminal Procedure. The bail bondsman shall not <-continue be
17continued by the court as surety on reinstated bail unless a
18written consent is signed by the bail bondsman agreeing to
19such extension of suretyship.
24(4) The office of the clerk <-of courts shall provide a
25summary quarterly statement of all overdue forfeited
26undertakings which have not been paid by each bail bondsman
27and corporate surety insurer. The bail bondsman or <-corporate
28surety insurer shall be afforded 30 days from the date of the
29statement to render payment of the forfeited undertakings.
30Failure to render payment by close of business on the 31st
1day shall result in suspension of the ability to conduct
2business of both the bail bondsman and the <-corporate surety
3insurer in that judicial district until such time as payment
4is rendered in full. Both the The bail bondsman <-and the
5corporate surety insurer may be subject to formal suspension
6or termination <-nonrenewal proceedings pursuant to section
75746. In addition, the surety <-insurer may be subjected to
8further administrative penalties, to be determined by the
9department, consistent with the act of July 22, 1974
10(P.L.589, No.205), known as the Unfair Insurance Practices
11Act<-, or other applicable law.
12(5) If the defendant is recovered after the 91st day
13following the forfeiture, a surety may petition the court in
14which the revocation and forfeiture occurred to remit all or
15a portion of the funds collected in exchange for the absence
16of the defendant. The court shall remit payment as follows:
17(i) If the defendant is recovered between the 91st
18day and six months after the order of revocation or
19forfeiture, the surety shall recover the full value of
20the forfeited amount of the bond, less an administrative
21fee in the amount of $250.
30(6) No third-party surety shall be responsible to render
1payment on a forfeited undertaking if the revocation of bail
2is sought for failure of the defendant to comply with the
3conditions of the defendant's release other than appearance.
4Any violation of performance conditions by a defendant shall
5be deemed as a violation of a court order, subject to a
6conviction for indirect contempt of court <-for violating a
7court order instituting terms and conditions of release of
8the defendant and all associated penalties.
9Section 8. Section 5748 of Title 42 is repealed:
10[§ 5748. Maximum premiums.
11(a) General rule.--No professional bondsman shall charge a
12premium or compensation for acting as surety on any undertaking
13in excess of 10% for the first $100, and 5% for each additional
14$100 of such undertaking.
15(b) Civil penalty.--In any action brought to recover an
16overcharge by a professional bondsman, where such overcharge is
17proved, the professional bondsman shall be liable to pay treble
18damages therefor and reasonable counsel fees.]
19Section 9. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:
20§ 5748.1. Private cause of action.
21(a) Self-policing.--Any bail bondsman or <-surety insurer who
22determines that a competitor has engaged in an activity that is
23in violation of any provision of this chapter may commence a
24cause of action seeking monetary damages, declaratory judgment
25or injunctive relief from the court of common pleas of the
26county in which the violation occurred. The violation must be
27proven by clear and convincing evidence.
4Section 10. Section 5749 of Title 42 is amended to read:
5§ 5749. Prohibitions and penalties.
6(a) Licensing.--Any person who engages in the business [as<-]
7of a [professional] bail bondsman without being registered and
8licensed in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter,
9or who engages in such business while his license is suspended
10or revoked, commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.
11(b) Overcharging.--Any person charging or receiving directly
12or indirectly any greater compensation for acting as a
13[professional] bail bondsman than is provided by this subchapter
14commits a summary offense.
22(e) Public officials.--The following shall apply:
23(1) Any law enforcement officer, any employee of a penal
24institution, or any other system or related personnel, who
25has, directly or indirectly, any pecuniary interest in or
26derives any profit from the bonding business or activity of a
27[professional] bail bondsman commits a summary offense.
8(B) The person is compensated separately.
9(ii) Any person who engages in fugitive recovery
10while in the service of the city, county or State or
11engages in fugitive recovery in uniform or under badge of
12the person's office commits a misdemeanor of the second
14(f) Public solicitation.--Any [professional] bail bondsman
15who solicits business in any of the courts or on the premises of
16any tribunal of this Commonwealth, including any tribunal
17conducted by a magisterial district judge, commits a summary
<-19Section 11. A person licensed as a professional bondsman
20prior to the effective date of this act shall be licensed as an
21insurance producer in accordance with Article VI-A of the act of
22May 17, 1921 (P.L.789, No.285), known as The Insurance
23Department Act of 1921.
24Section 11 12. This act shall take effect in <-90 120 days.