An effort to end cash bail in the state has cleared a major hurdle in the state legislature. It calls for changing the way defendants are released before trial.
The proposed legislation would eliminate the payment of money as a condition for release from jail and allow counties to establish their own pretrial service agencies.
Supporters say that it helps fix a broken system that often benefits the wealthy and ensnares poor families in legal debt.
Critics say that the bill is too generalized and will not allow judges or prosecutors to decide on a case by case basis who should be held without bail and who should be granted bail.
Assemblyman Vince Fong opposes the bill accused Democrats of trying to jam the bill through the legislature before it could be properly vetted.
"Eliminating our bail system will have real consequences in all of our communities. Yet this is another example of how Sacramento is making public safety worse with the policies they continue to pass," Fong said. "We are seeing crime rates increasing throughout the state, yet Sacramento is making this problem worse. We need to stop these tone-deaf proposals now.”
Assemblyman Rob Bonta applauded the bill saying that it is a clear victory for justice, fairness and safety.
"We are now a giant step closer to becoming the first state in the nation to abolish the fundamentally broken for-profit, predatory money bail system," Bonta said. "SB 10 says justice should not favor the wealthy and punish the poor and that one should be evaluated on their individual conduct, facts and circumstances."
The bill must now clear the Senate.