Reporting from Sacramento —
A landmark bill to end money bail in California passed out of the state Assembly on Monday, clearing a major legislative hurdle despite mounting opposition to last-minute changes that gave judges greater power to decide who should remain incarcerated ahead of trial.
In a heated debate on the Assembly floor, both Republicans and Democrats expressed grave concerns over the late amendments and the push to rush the legislation to a vote. But supporters called the proposal a solid first step — one not likely to come again soon — toward overturning the status quo and helping thousands of families ensnared by what they described as a predatory bail system.
The legislation would virtually eliminate the payment of money as a condition for release from jail. Counties would have to establish their own pretrial services agencies, which would use a “risk-assessment tool,” or analysis, to evaluate people booked into jail to determine whether, and under what conditions, they should be released.