The PBT second quarter meeting was held April 15-16, 2010 in Houston, Texas. The two day event kicked off with a golf tournament at the Jersey Meadows Golf Club sponsored by the Professional Bail Agents of Harris County.
Speaking at the board meeting following the golf tournament was Mark Holtschneider from the American Bail Coalition. Holtschneider spoke on the coalition’s mission, purpose and goals for their work on behalf of the bail industry. He then led a discussion with the assistance of Texas attorney Mark Monks on bail kiosks that are beginning to be placed in the jails across the country. Some counties in Texas are beginning to also utilize and promote the use of these kiosks. The kiosks allow an indemnitor or loved one to post a bond for a defendant, using cash or their credit/debit card. What they are not telling these people, however, is that if they use their credit card to obtain a cash advance, the interest rate they will be charged by their credit card company is very high. They are also not telling people before using the “electronic bail” machine that once the defendant’s case is disposed and the bail amount is returned, it will be returned to the defendant, not the person who posted it. Moreover, the website shown on the kiosk, www.ezmidlandbail.com, may be interpreted as a bail bond company rather than the Midland County Sheriff’s website. Additional issues raised by the use of these kiosks is Sheriff’s receiving kickbacks and the kiosks only being open during lobby hours, which means the service is not available after hours. Keep an eye on this one; this issue may be coming to your neighborhood.
During the welcome reception, Texas Senator Whitmire and Texas State Representative Allen Fletcher mingled with agents in attendance. While their attendance did not have a specific message, they took time from their schedules to come to the reception and show their appreciation to the bail agents for the work they do each and every day. On the second day of the meeting, speakers included the current representative and candidate for the Texas State House of Representatives, Honorable Dwayne Bohac and Honorable Jim Murphy, respectively. Both talked about the Legislative perspective of the local economy and the outlook for the 2011 legislative session. Rep. Bohac thanked the PBT and its members for bringing their membership meeting to the Westchase District. They know PBT could have taken that business to any district in Texas, and the fact that Westchase was chosen, made the Representative very grateful. To learn more, visit www.PBTX.com.