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updated: 6/6/2013 6:56 AM

Bail bondsmen would be allowed in 5 Wisconsin counties

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Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- The Legislature's budget committee has approved creating a private, commercial bail bond system in five counties in Wisconsin before it would expand statewide after five years.

The provision was one of the last items added to the state budget by the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday morning following an all-night session.

Whether to participate in the program would be up to judges.

Two years ago Gov. Scott Walker vetoed creating a bail bond system in the state. The idea then was opposed by a bipartisan group including judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys as ineffective and a threat to public safety.

The new provision would allow private bail bonds initially in Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties before it would go statewide.

Wisconsin eliminated private bail bonds in 1979.

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