A new law that would create a monopoly on training bail bondsmen in North Carolina is now the subject of a court challenge. The North Carolina Bail Agents Association would be the only group in North Carolina allowed to train bail bondsmen under the law, which is set to take effect October 1. The association’s sole competitor, the North Carolina Bail Academy, has filed a lawsuit to block the law.
Tim Mathis is an instructor at the Academy and a bondsman in Monroe. He says he’s not upset that he would lose his teaching job as much as he’s frustrated about having no choice but to go to the Bail Agents Association for state-required continuing education classes. “They’ve just kept raising their fees over the years for all us bondsmen to take their class,” Mathis says.
Right now that fee is $220 for members. That’s the same amount it costs to take the class at the Bail Academy, but Mathis suspects the association’s fee will go up if the law takes effect since it would be the only group authorized to teach the class.
Mathis is also upset that the Academy was not made aware that lawmakers were considering the legislation. He says the group was holding a class when an attorney who just found out about the vote called. “He said ‘Man they’re fixin’ to pass a bill that’s going to eliminate you as a provider,” Mathis says.
The group argues in court that lawmakers should have notified it about the bill. It’s asked a Wake County judge for an injunction. A ruling is expected next week. The North Carolina Bail Agents Association and the lawmaker that sponsored the bill – Republican Thom Goolbsy of New Hanover County – did not return our calls.