Uncertain Path for California Bail Reform

With just over a week to go, those opposed to SB10, California’s Bail Reform Law, are busy gathering signatures in the hope to place a stay on the enforcement of the new law.  If successful, the law would go to voters on the 2020 ballot.  Opponents must gather 365,880 signatures by November 26, 2018.  The veto referendum would allow California voters to decide whether the bill should remain law.  If enough signatures are collected, the law would not go into effect October 2019 as originally intended.  A hold would be placed on the enforcement until voters decide November 3, 2020.

It is unclear whether SB10 will remain in effect or be left up to registered voters to decide its fate.  Late changes to the original language of the bill cause great concern to a large number of civil rights and human rights groups who originally supported the bill.  The battle rages on for both sides.  Opponents of SB10 hope that a successful veto referendum will encourage lawmakers to come back to the drawing table and reconsider the language of the bill.

The referendum appears to be just the start of legal troubles for the bill.  Lawsuits have been filed suggesting that last-minute changes to the original language and last-minute amendments adopted were done so in violation of the state constitution.  California requires that bills be in print for at least 72 hours before being passed.  A judge will now decide whether the last-minute amendments were printed in accordance with constitutional requirements.


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