Plan Would Bring Bail Bondsmen Back To Wisconsin


Republican lawmakers added a provision to the budget early this morning that legalizes commercial bail bondsmen in five Wisconsin counties.

The plan would credential bail bondsmen in five counties, to start: Milwaukee, Dane, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha. It couldn’t expand statewide for five years. Milwaukee Rep. Jon Richards, a Democrat who opposed this move, said it would bring the profit motive into what should be public safety decisions.

“Who benefits from that? Someone trying to make a quick buck off the criminal justice system. I cannot believe that we’re going down this road again.”

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Wisconsin hasn’t had bail bondsmen since 1979, though they exist in most other states. Two years ago Governor Scott Walker vetoed an attempt by GOP lawmakers to add bail bondsmen to the budget, suggesting lawmakers take it up as a standalone bill instead.