CalWatchdog Morning Read – December 6

  • CalWatchdogLogoNew session brings plan for bail reform
  • Brown, Becerra take measured approach to Trump
  • Report: Trump administration could be good for CA economy
  • New bill would track law enforcement weapons 
  • Former state senator falls up in game of political musical chairs

Good morning! The Legislature was back briefly on Monday – swearing in and talking Trump. Legislators also took little time to start pumping out policy proposals, setting the tone.

At a press conference in the Capitol on Monday morning, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom explained that although he has long championed various reforms to the state’s criminal-justice system, he had in the past rarely even thought about the “money bail” system by which criminal defendants are released from jail after posting a bond.

Indeed, the system is so ubiquitous – bail-bonds offices cluster around courthouses – that it’s just an accepted part of the system. Yet that could all be changing. As Calwatchdog reported last month, reforming the state’s bail system will be a top priority as legislators return to the Capitol. Sure enough, the press conference was held shortly before the new session came to order and included several prominent Democratic legislators.

After an arrest, a judge will typically set a bail amount based on the seriousness of the alleged crime and on the defendant’s perceived flight risk. The defendant can post the full amount or pay a bondsman 10 percent of the bail, which is nonrefundable. The bail company assumes the financial risk if the defendant is a “no show.” The bond is meant to provide a strong financial incentive for the defendant to show up at the appointed court date.

But Newsom and the assembled legislators argued that the current system is antiquated and unfair – the “modern equivalent of debtors’ prison,” as sponsors of a reform bill put it. … And the converse is true, supporters say: Those who are poor but pose little danger or flight risk must stay in jail until the wheels of justice turn.

CalWatchdog has more. 

In other news:

  • “While the state Legislature braced for Donald Trump on Monday, announcing legislation to help undocumented immigrants avoid deportation, Gov. Jerry Brown and Rep. Xavier Becerra, his choice for attorney general, took a more cautious tack toward the incoming administration,” reports Politico

  • “A likely increase in defense spending under a Donald Trump presidency is expected to benefit technology companies that supply the military, spurring Bay Area and California economic growth to a greater degree than previously thought, according to a new UCLA Anderson Forecast report,” reports The San Jose Mercury News

  • “A state bill introduced Monday would require California law enforcement agencies to keep track of their guns and establish a reporting procedure for when police lose them,” reports The Orange County Register

  • “Marty Block, a state senator from San Diego who, under great political pressure, decided not to seek a second term, got a lucrative consolation prize Monday from Gov. Jerry Brown – an $146,609 per year appointment to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.” The Sacramento Bee has more. 


  • Gone till January. 

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced. 

Tips: [email protected]

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  1. fredtyg
    fredtyg 6 December, 2016, 09:52

    Did I miss it? What sort of bail “reforms” are in mind here? You described the problem, but I didn’t see any mention of proposed cures. Maybe I misread?

    Reply this comment
  2. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 7 December, 2016, 09:23

    Taxes on everything we enjoy so the Dumb-O-Crats can fill their money bins to overflowing

    Reply this comment

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