HONOLULU (KHON2) — There’s more pressure for the governor to veto the bail reform bill. Hawaii’s four county mayors will hold a rally that will include the police officers union as well as unions from other cities where bail reform laws have passed.
Gov. David Ige has until June 27 to announce which bills he intends to veto. Hawaii’s mayors have already reached out to Ige asking him to veto the bail reform bill, which allows those arrested for non-violent crimes, including Class C felonies, to be released without having to pay bail.
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SHOPO will join the mayors on Wednesday for a rally calling for the veto, and has invited the presidents of police unions in Seattle and San Jose, where a similar law has been passed.
“And it’s been a hamper on law enforcement ever since,” said Robert Cavaco, SHOPO president. “Teally it has increased crime in their communities, and it’s just something that they wish that their legislators in their towns didn’t pass.”
Cavaco added that the bill gives criminals a free pass and will lead to even more burglaries, thefts, and other non-violent crimes. He said officers are already dreading the outcome if the bill passes.
“They’re always going to try to do their best to keep the community safe, but it’s frustrating coming to work every day knowing that this is kind of looming in the background,” said Cavaco.
The push for a veto is also coming from an unlikely source, Rep. Scot Matayoshi, who introduced the bill. He has sent Ige a letter saying, “I want to request a veto at this time, given the issues that have arisen after the bill’s passage and the entities that have now come forward to oppose it.”
But other lawmakers like Sen. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the bill should become law. He says it’s unfair that people who are arrested and can’t afford to pay their bail remain in custody when they’re innocent until proven guilty.
“It comes back to the fundamental point of if you are picked up by the police, and you are immediately punished for that, that is so un-American,” said Rhoads. “You have to be convicted of something before you are punished.”
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Rhoads added that the proposal would also relieve the overcrowding in jails and ultimately save the state a lot of money. The governor has no comment as he reviews the bill.