Texas Senate approves bail bill that would keep more people in jail if they can’t post cash bonds

Kwik Out Bail Bonds on 18th St. and Nueces in Austin on May 8, 2019.

The Texas Senate approved the chamber’s priority bail legislation on a 23-8 vote.

Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Wednesday approved the chamber’s priority legislation that aims to keep more people accused or previously convicted of violent crimes in jail before trial unless they can post cash bonds.

Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, said her Senate Bill 21 is meant to “address the appalling uptick in violent crimes by defendants out on multiple personal bonds,” which don’t require cash up front.

Many bail reform advocates have criticized the bill, as well as the governor’s priority legislation in the House, for still relying on a money-based system. Across the state and country, federal courts have found cash-bail practices unconstitutional for being overly reliant on predetermined cash amounts and keeping people in jail simply because they’re poor.

The bill passed out of the Senate on a vote of 23-8 and will now head to the House.

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