Texas House bail bill targets charities

On Monday, the Texas House of Representatives’ constitutional rights and remedies committee voted to pass SB 6, a bail reform bill, which would change the bail system following the arrest of ‘one person.

SB 6 states that nonprofits would not be able to post bail for misdemeanors or felons who are accused or have already been convicted of certain violent offenses.

The bill was passed without the nonprofit provision, after House officials criticized the bill for targeting charities.

This means that many defendants would have to use a bail bondsman, a million dollar privatized industry to post bail instead of nonprofits or charities.

The bill also states that the president of an administrative judicial region would be able to suspend an organization’s ability to post bonds if the organization violates a reporting requirement or other mandate of the bill.

In June, Republicans at Texas House, the Texas Senate and Governor Greg Abbott all voted to block nonprofits, even with the Democratic opposition.

But during a hearing on the bill on Saturday, many state officials had problems with the provisions of the cash bond.

Author of the bill, Rep. Reggie Smith (R, TX-62) defended the bill and said it was important to regulate organizations that help defendants post bail.

“SB 6 is not a way to jail low-level or outraged offenders,” Smith said. “Instead, this legislation focuses on a meaningful reform of the bail system to ensure a balanced and individual process.”

However, even some Texas Republicans oppose the provision of the bill.

“If this is just a way to pay the serf, let’s say it,” said Rep. Charlie Geren (R, TX-99). “I have a problem with the different standards of for-profit surety and charities. “

Rep. Travis Clardy (R, TX-11) also said that, if passed, this provision could be the subject of legal action in court.

“This continues to trouble me deeply, not only because there is a blatant injustice, but I think it also pulls us into a possible constitutional challenge under an argument of equal protection,” Clardy said. “Why is this charity and its money treated any differently from anyone on the planet? ”

Many Texas Democrats are back on Capitol Hill after breaking the quorum in June to prevent Republicans from passing SB 1, a voter suppression bill that would ban 24-hour voting, drive-thru voting and limit postal ballots.

In addition to Republicans, Rep. Ann Johnson (D, TX-134) said the provision would disproportionately affect communities of color and could lead to mass detentions.

“This is a bill that will push a massive group of people back into the bail system,” Johnson said. “There is no correlation between public safety and cash obligations. ”

Gov. Greg Abbott has made bail reform one of his top priorities during this second special session, which is due to end on September 7.

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