STAND. COM. REP. NO. 436
RE: S.B. No. 1538
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 1538 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO BAIL,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to require monetary bail to be set in reasonable amounts based upon all available information, including the defendant's ability to afford bail.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Judiciary, Department of Public Safety, Office of the Public Defender, Community Alliance on Prisons, IMUAlliance, O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Ho‘omanapono Political Action Committee, and four individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Honolulu Police Department. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawaii Disability Rights Center.
Your Committee finds that state and county law enforcement officers have discretion to set the amount of bail, and the State does not require that the bail amount be set based on the person's ability to afford bail. Your Committee further finds that the Department of Public Safety's pretrial service officers do not have access to other states' data on the accused person's wages and tax information and, thus, it is difficult for pretrial officers to set bail based on the person's financial circumstances and ability to afford bail.
Your Committee finds that existing law should make clear that information regarding a defendant's financial circumstances and ability to afford bail should be considered when setting bail to help ensure a fair process that allows for consideration of a person's financial circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Authorizing pretrial service officers to access other state agencies' wages and tax information of accused persons for the limited purpose of setting an appropriate bail amount; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1538, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1538, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,
CLARENCE K. NISHIHARA, Chair