State Recommends Stricter Licensing of Bail Bondsmen
Nobody covers the bail bond industry like we do here at the Show-Me Institute. Combest has linked to an AP story in the Springfield News-Leader that details how a state agency is recommending that Missouri tighten its requirements to become a bail bondsmen. Now, I loathe most occupational licensing, but these recommendations (as reported by the article) don’t seem that bad.
I understand the reasoning behind not letting convicted felons serve as bail bondsmen, and that strikes me as a reasonable change. I say this as someone who is very sympathetic to the plight of former convicts getting jobs after serving their time, and I think we have gone too far in limiting the ability of felons to work after their sentences are complete. However, jobs that deal with the court system, like bail bondsmen, seem a reasonable restriction in my opinion.
The other changes, according to the article, are:
The report also recommends larger fines for violations and requiring that applicants have high school diplomas.
Restricting entry requirements through rules or costs are the biggest economic problem with occupational licensing. Fines levied by regulatory agencies to punish misconduct by those who have done something wrong — after they’ve been licensed — are less of an issue, so I don’t greatly object if such fines are raised for current practitioners.
However, the last rule proposal is just stupid. I realize that getting a high school diploma or GED is very simple and has a low cost, but the main question should be whether performing the job competently requires a high school diploma. I fail to see why the job of bail bondsmen should require a high school diploma. The customers who need you don’t care whether you have a diploma on the wall. They care that you have the money to put up, and they need to know that you are going to find them and harm them (I don’t necessarily mean physical harm; returning them to jail is “harming” them) if they skip out on you and the court. The diploma requirement and the requisite job skills just don’t connect.
This is not in any way an attack on the intelligence of bail bondsman. I don’t think being a policy analyst at a think tank should require any type of diploma if you can do the job without it. (But, yes, the author does have a high school and college diploma, just like I am certain that most bail bondsmen have diplomas.)