Coalition Launches Referendum Drive to Protect Public Safety and Ensure Fairness in Bail System by Giving Voters Final Say on the Reckless SB 10 Bail Scheme

 A coalition of public safety leaders, concerned citizens, criminal justice reformers and crime victims’ advocates – Californians Against the Reckless Bail Scheme – announced today that they were filing a referendum against SB 10, signed by Governor Brown yesterday, which would replace California’s current bail system with a dangerous, reckless, and untested scheme that would likely both make California less safe and increase the numbers of those unfairly incarcerated. 

The final bill passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor achieved the rare feat of making no one but the Legislators themselves who supported it happy. Law Enforcement and traditional public safety advocates largely oppose SB 10 because they believe the proposal would continue a recent trend of new laws that jeopardize the safety of the state. Meanwhile, many of the progressive, public safety reformers who originally championed the cause of bail reform have dropped their support and now oppose SB 10 because they believe the new system will be worse than the present system, and likely lead to greater unfair incarceration that is racially biased. 

Jeff Clayton, spokesperson for the Coalition, said, “Senate Bill 10 has brought together scores of individuals and groups from across the political spectrum — conservative to progressive — to agree on one thing: they all hate it and think it’s a terrible law. More than 50 key interest groups of all political stripes joined together to oppose the final version of SB 10. This legislation is a reckless attempt at changing the state’s bail system and is fundamentally bad for California. While we all agree that bail reform is necessary, this costly, reckless plan will use racially-biased computer algorithms to decide who gets stuck in jail and who goes free. That’s not right.” 

With the Legislature seemingly determined to pass any bill they can slap a label on called “bail reform” without regard to the consequences, the new coalition felt the only option was to pursue the peoples’ constitutional right to the referendum process and let the voters have final say on this critical issue. 

The Attorney General has ten days to issue the coalition a Title and Summary to start petition collection, and the coalition has 90 days from the date the Governor signed the bill to collect 365,880 valid signatures from registered voters in California. If successful, the measure would appear before the voters in November 2020, and the new law would be stayed from taking effect until the voters weigh in on it. 

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