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Message from the President Beth Chapman

from PBUS

Dear members and colleagues:

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time with my health. By the time you read this, I will be back home and recovering from surgery. This has been a trying time for my family and me, but God has strengthened us, and our friends have blessed us tremendously. Our work, however, has not slacked one bit, and the enemies of bail are still pushing, so we must continue to be vigilant.

Toward the end of last week, the Utah legislature narrowly voted to hold the implementation of bail reform until the issue could be properly vetted by the legislature next year. Because of the work, public attention and education we have been engaged in on this issue, many legislators are starting to realize that pre-trial programs and the risk assessments may not be what they are all cracked up to be.

Despite the vote by the legislature, however, the courts have committed to implementing the risk assessmment this year anyway. To say this is improper would be a huge understatement. The legislature is directly chosen by the people to represent their interests, and none is more important than public safety. One of the core functions of government is to protect its citizens, and the legislature voted, saying that they needed more time. We all know that more time will result in the policy being tossed because it has shown over and over that the risk assessment is flawed and ineffective.

The courts have chosen to ignore the will of the people and the safety of the public in Utah. This story only highlights the fact that I have been talking about since being elected that we must be prepared for the legal battle as much as the legislative and public battle. If our enemies, who prefer the comfort of the criminal over the safety of the public, cannot win this fight through public opinion and proper legislative channels, then they will do it through illegal and unconstitutional means. This move in Utah is proof of that.

Utah Rep. Paul Ray was the one leading the charge to hold off implementation, and I think it would behoove all of us to reach out to him through phone call, letter or email and thank him for his courage and desire to fully vet this proposal. He will need our support, and the industry in Utah will now have to make appropriate moves to keep this from being implemented this year. We will also need to be ready to come to their aid as the legislature considers reform next year.

Every week, there is more disastrous news to report concerning bail reform. If you did not already believe it, then you should by now that this is an issue that will not go away, and no one is safe from its reach. Our association is here, and the leadership is ready "for such a time as this ..."

That leads me to a final point I would like to make as we close out another week. The PBUS has always boasted that it's the largest association representing the professional bail agent in the United States. We do not represent the surety companies, and although at times our interests align, our mission is to represent the individual agent. The American Bail Coalition does not exist for the professional agent; they represent the surety companies, and their mission is to represent those entities.

Unfortunately, the ABC has chosen to directly solicit membership from our association and has also taken the step of creating a competing "bail" conference in Vegas to rival ours. They can do whatever they feel necessary to support their association, but there should be no mistaking the fact that they do not exist for the professional agent, and any "associate membership" or whatever they offer will ultimately benefit the surety companies, not the individual agent. We all know and understand the earning opportunity of surety companies, and more

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