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Wis. Dems ask gov to veto bail bondsmen

Published On: Jun 25 2013 04:45:27 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

Wisconsin Democrats, including Representative Steve Doyle, are pressing Republican Gov. Scott Walker to erase language in the state budget that would allow bounty hunters to operate in the state.

Republicans on the Legislature's finance committee inserted a provision into the budget this month that would allow judges in Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties to let defendants hire bail bond agencies. The program would expand statewide after five years.

Assembly and Senate Democrats sent Walker a letter Tuesday urging him to use his partial veto power to wipe out the provision before he signs the budget into law. They argue bail bondsmen target the poor and police and judges oppose the language.

Walker vetoed a similar plan in the 2011 budget. His spokesman said only that Walker is evaluating the current budget.

Representative Steve Doyle signed a letter asking Governor Walker to veto the bounty hunters item on the budget.

"This issue keeps coming back like a bad penny," Representative Doyle said in a statement. "There was an attempt in the last budget cycle to bring back bail bondsmen and it was vetoed by the Governor. I am hopeful the same thing will happen this time to this devastating blow to the criminal justice system in our state."

Representative Doyle says the Wisconsin Sheriff's and Deputy Sheriff's Association is concerned about the use of private bond enforcement agents or "bounty hunters" with no training and little oversight.

"States which have bail bondsmen have experienced recurring corruption due to a bail system based primarily on profit," Doyle said in a statement.

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