HONOLULU (KHON2) — All four mayors will be asking the governor to veto the bail reform bill. They say the proposal sends the wrong message and will put more Hawaii families and businesses in harm’s way.
The bill is approved by state lawmakers. It is awaiting the governor’s approval which would allow those arrested for non-violent crimes, including Class C felonies, to be released without bail. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has already reached out to the governor asking him to veto it.
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“I don’t care what anybody says, whatever legislation, that is wrong. And I’m really determined to do everything I can as the mayor to make sure the people who live here feel safe and their families feel safe,” said Blangiardi.
The three other mayors have expressed the same sentiment. Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth, a former prosecutor, says it will encourage criminals to commit even more crimes.
“I think people are frustrated with a lot of these low level crimes by people who commit crimes over and over and over again. And so we’re gonna be asking to veto the bill as well,” said Roth.
Those in favor of the bill say it isn’t fair for suspects to remain in jail simply because they can’t afford to pay bail, when they are considered innocent until proven guilty. But the mayors say it will do more harm than good. And it sends the wrong message to those in law enforcement.
“People who risk their lives to protect and serve and they get compromised like this in a situation where there seems to be no consequence. I think for every bad action there has to be a consequence, it’s that simple, I was raised that way,” said Blangiardi.
“We saw this when we started letting people go for COVID a couple of years ago. We predicted that you were going to see the problems that we’ve seen and so this doesn’t make the situation any better, it just makes it worse,” said Roth.
If the governor plans to veto the bill he has to notify the state legislature by June 27. Lawmakers then have a chance to override it with a 2/3 majority in both the House and the Senate.
The governor says all the bills before him are still under review, and he’s willing to listen to what the mayors have to say.
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“I would be talking with the mayors on the bills that they feel most compelled to talk about, so I certainly look forward to having that dialogue,” said Gov. David Ige.