HONOLULU (KHON2) — Retailers and other community members stated the bill passed by lawmakers changing the bail system is a win for criminals. They’re now calling on the governor to veto the proposal.
There’s growing concern that shoplifting and other thefts will spike and that has put retailers on edge.
Lawmakers approved a bill that would allow suspects to be released without having to pay bail if they’re arrested for non-violent crimes, which include Class C felonies. Supporters said it’s unfair to keep someone who is innocent until proven guilty in custody simply because they can’t afford to pay bail.
Those against the bill said to be ready for more thefts if the governor approves the proposal.
“Shoplifting, and your smash and grab from small businesses, and from retailers, and the big malls. And you know — they (criminals) come late at night, smash the window, run in, grab, dig out,” said Robert Cavaco, SHOPO president.
Yamaki said retailers are planning to reach out to the governor and ask him to veto the bill.
The administrator of the Facebook page Stolen Stuff Hawaii also plans to start an online petition. They’re especially concerned that the proposal includes some felony crimes.
“The feeling is that more needs to be done to hold these people accountable and to protect our community and unfortunately this bill does the opposite of that and the general feeling on SSH is where do I sign?” said Michael Kitchens.
The bill also took the mayor by surprise.
“I am actually appalled that — that got approved by such an overwhelming majority, you know, really making it even that much more difficult to enforce,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.
State lawmakers said the bill should also ease the overcrowding in jails and in turn save taxpayers money. And they don’t believe it will lead to more crime.
“If you have a non-violent felon who makes bail, many of them do, they’re just as likely to commit a crime as a non-violent felon who is released on his own recognizance,” said Sen. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A spokeswoman for the governor said he always considers public input, and they’re welcome to submit comments on the governor’s website.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
For the link to the Stolen Stuff Hawaii petition, click here.