The historic bail reform legislation passed in California last year, described in a blog post here in August 2018, is being challenged by the bail bond industry. As described by the LA Times, a national coalition of bail agency groups has collected enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot in 2020 that would overturn the reform legislation and restore the money bail system.
Bail bonds are a $2-billion national industry, and there are 3,200 bail agents registered in California.
Pending the referendum, bail reform based on the new law – SB 10 – continues. At least 11 counties are employing roughly 40 different pilot pretrial programs to reduce the number of people cycling in and out of jail, and as many as 49 California counties are using risk assessment tools, or tech analyses that help courts determine which defendants are fit for release and which pose a risk to public safety or of not coming back to court. California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who helped craft the state’s bail law, has assembled a working group to evaluate pretrial programs and make recommendations on next steps now that the law is on hold, and Gov. Gavin Newsom earmarked $75 million in his budget proposal last week for counties over the next two years to implement and evaluate pretrial efforts in up to 10 courts.