MADISON, Wis. — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly gave a final, bipartisan push to a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder for violent criminals to get out of jail on bail.
The measure will now go before voters to be ratified in the statewide April 4 election. Its passage in the Assembly by a 74-23 vote marks the culmination of a push by Republican lawmakers to speed the amendment before voters.
“It is a huge step in the right direction for holding violent, career criminals accountable,” Republican Rep. William Penterman said.
The amendment would require a judge to consider a defendant’s potential risk to public safety, including his or her criminal history, when setting bail. Currently, cash bail is set only as a means to ensure the person appears in court. Democrats have argued the amendment could create further inequity in the criminal justice system by allowing wealthy defendants to more easily get out of jail.