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Rhode Island House approves bail bondsmen relief

The Rhode Island State House (WJAR)

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed a bill that would help bail bond agents.

The House voted 60-10 Thursday to approve legislation to limit the amount of bail that can be forfeited by a court if a criminal defendant violates bail conditions. The amount would be limited to 10 percent of the surety deposited with the court.

Republicans voted against it. They sided with Democratic Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, who says the proposal could endanger public safety.

A bill supporter, Democratic House Judiciary Chairman Cale Keable, says bail bondsmen serve an important role in keeping people from being jailed for longer than they need to be. He says they could be put out of business with a few large forfeitures.

The proposal now moves to the Senate.

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