California lawmakers advance bill to reform bail system - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

California lawmakers advance bill to reform bail system

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By SOPHIA BOLLAG
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California lawmakers have advanced a bill to dramatically change the state's bail and pretrial release policies.

The state Senate voted 25-11 Wednesday for a measure to end money bail for most defendants. It now goes to the Assembly.

Judges could still impose bail for defendants accused of serious crimes but would have to take income into account.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg says current policies disproportionately hurt poor defendants. The Van Nuys Democrat says his bill will alter the system so pretrial release is determined by a person's risk to society, not their ability to pay.

Sen. Jim Nielsen says bail is an important tool to pressure people to show up for court and help keep criminals out of society.

The Gerber Republican also says the bill would ruin the bail industry.

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