A bill that would massively overhaul the way California treats people who are accused of a crime and are awaiting trial was easily approved by the state Senate Wednesday, overcoming a huge lobbying push by the bail industry and some law enforcement groups.
Senate Bill 10 by Los Angeles Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg is identical to Assembly Bill 42 by Oakland Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta. SB 10 passed 25-11 on Wednesday; AB 42 is expected to come up for a vote in the Assembly on Thursday. The bills are not likely to receive final votes until later this summer.
The votes come as the bail industry and some law enforcement groups make a huge push to kill the legislation through lobbying lawmakers and launching a public relations campaign.
According to an analysis of state records by KQED, seven organizations -- representing bail agents and the insurance companies that back bail agents -- have spent nearly $170,000 lobbying state lawmakers between October and the end of March. The total amount spent on lobbying is likely much higher, since much of the push has occurred since April. Two other groups, including Tokio Marine, a huge, multinational insurance company, registered lobbyists in Sacramento for the first time ever in recent weeks.
It's not the first time the bail industry has been a player in Sacramento, however: KQED's analysis shows that the industry has spent $2.4 million lobbying state officials and lawmakers since 2000.