In a party-line 30-9 vote, the California State Senate approved the $0 bail bill, except in serious cases. The bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
The bill moves forward even after California voters rejected Prop 25 in November which would have upheld SB 10 which would have replaced cash Bail with risk assessments for detained suspects awaiting trials. 56% of voters wanted to keep the current system in place.
According to the Bill:
This bill would require bail to be set at $0 for all offenses except, among others, serious or violent felonies, violations of specified protective orders, battery against a spouse, sex offenses, and driving under the influence. The bill would require the Judicial Council to prepare, adopt, and annually revise a bail schedule for the exempt offenses. The bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact further changes to current law to ensure that a defendant is not detained pending trial simply due to an inability to pay for the amount of bail in the statewide schedule. statewide bail schedule. The bill would require bail to be set according to the statewide schedule for any subsequent seperate offense while the defendant is released on bail that was set at $0. The bill would require the court, prior to setting bail, to consider whether nonfinancial conditions will reasonably protect the public and the victim and reasonably assure the arrestee’s presence at trial. The bill would, if the court concludes that money bail is necessary, require the court to consider the arrestee’s ability to pay and to set bail at a level the arrestee can reasonably afford. The bill would prohibit costs relating to conditions of release on bail from being imposed on persons released on bail or on their own recognizance. The bill would require the sheriff, police, and court employees above to approve and accept bail in the amount fixed by the bail schedule.
Here is the official press release from Senator Hertzberg:
Legislation from Senate Leaders Hertzberg and Skinner strengthens commitment to bail reform, and works to eliminate economic discrimination in the justice system.
May 26, 2021
SACRAMENTO – Today, Senate Majority Leader Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) took one step further to reform the predatory money bail system. SB 262, approved with a supermajority vote of the California State Senate, ensures no person is kept behind bars before trial simply because they cannot afford to post bail.
“The current system of money bail is obsolete, it’s unconstitutional and fundamentally broken. It has cost us millions of dollars without keeping us any safer,” says Majority Leader Hertzberg. “SB 262 is fair, it is just, and we must act now to put the blueprint together to eliminate this form of economic discrimination, and stop the predatory practice that the bail industry has used for far too long. I applaud the overwhelming support from the Senate, and look forward to seeing this bill progress in the Assembly.”
“Today our state Senate sent a clear message: It’s time to restore the fundamental right that people are innocent until proven guilty. No one should be held in jail simply because they can’t afford bail,” says Senator Skinner. “SB 262 will restore this basic right for millions of low-income Californians accused of misdemeanor and nonviolent felony crimes.”
SB 262 sets bail at $0 for misdemeanors and low-level felonies in California. It also requires money paid for bail or bond be refunded when the charges are dropped, if a case has been dismissed, or if the person has not missed any required court appearances.
SB 262 was approved by the Senate with an official vote of 30-9. It will now move to the Assembly for further consideration.