Pa. House approves privatization and regulation for bondsman industry

State Rep. Bryan Cutler
State Rep. Bryan Cutler | The Office of State Rep. Bryan Cutler
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Monday creating more consistency in the bail bonds industry.

Introduced by Rep. Bryan Cutler, House Bill 367 would require professional bondsmen to be licensed as insurance producers by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) and provide for authorization to conduct business within each county. Bail bondsmen would be obligated to acquire a third-party insurer as a guarantee of their financial ability to cover the assumed liability for each case.

“By requiring that all bail bondsmen play by the same rules, we can improve the industry," Cutler said. "When the bill passes, those awaiting trial will enjoy an improved experience that only greater accountability, professionalism and transparency can provide."

Amending provisions for forfeited undertaking and for private cause of action, the law would also enable county officials to petition the court in order to suspend or revoke a bail bondsman’s authority in a particular jurisdiction or even statewide when necessary.

“It has been a privilege to work with Sen. Richard Alloway to resolve the inconsistencies within the rules of the bail bondsman industry," Cutler said.

Alloway drafted the companion bill, Senate Bill 397.

The House bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.