State Watch

Texas governor signs bill requiring cash bail for suspects in violent crimes

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill on Monday that prohibits the release of people accused of violent crimes on personal bonds, instead requiring that suspects pay a cash bail to be let free.

The Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 6, dubbed the Damon Allen Act, last month, after Abbott declared in January that making changes to the state’s bail system was an emergency, according to the Texas Tribune.

The legislation — which is named after a state trooper who was killed at a traffic stop in 2017 by someone who was out on a $15,500 bond — does not allow people accused to violent crimes to be released on personal bonds, which don’t require a defendant to pay money but often require measures such as GPS monitoring.

Instead, suspects will be required to post cash bail that is set by the court, or pay a percentage to a bail bonds company, according to the Tribune.

Additionally, the legislation mandates that defendants are granted or denied bail within 48 hours of their arrest, according to KXAN.

The bill also bars individuals arrested on felony charges from a cashless release if they were already out of jail on bond for a previous violent criminal case.

The new regulations are set to take effect on Dec. 2, according to the Tribune.

The legislation will also establish a new system for court officers to examine the criminal history of suspects before their bail is set. That policy will take effect in January.

Abbott, in a statement following the signing of the bill, said the legislation “ensures Texas communities are safe and secure by making it harder for dangerous criminals to be released on bail.”

He also knocked three cities run by Democratic mayors — Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis — writing that Texas will not follow their lead.

“Texas will remain a law-and-order state and continue using every tool available to preserve the safety that Texans deserve. That is why I am proud to sign the Damon Allen Act into law, which will reform our broken bail system in the Lone Star State,” he added.

Before signing the bill at a ceremony, Abbott said Texas needs “better parenting” and needs to “restore God in our communities.”

“If we do that, we will be able to reduce crime in this region,” he added.

Some Democrats are against the bill, arguing that excluding cashless bond will worsen wealth-based detention disparities and lead to jails becoming overcrowded, the Tribune noted.

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