Ky. representatives introduce bill to make charitable bail organizations illegal
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - State representatives have introduced a bill into the House seeking to make charitable or crowdfunded bail organizations illegal in Kentucky.
House Bill 313, sponsored by Rep. John Blanton (R-District 92) and Rep. Jason Nemes (R-District 33), seeks to amend Kentucky Revised Statute 431.510, which prohibits the act of business as a bail bondsman.
HB 313 is also known as Madelynn’s Bill in honor of Madelynn Troutt, a 17-year-old Butler High School senior. On March 1, 2021, Madelyn was driving along Dixie Highway when her car was hit head-on by a stolen pickup truck being driven by Michael Jacob Dewitt, 28.
Less than two weeks before the deadly crash, Dewitt had been released from jail on other charges after his bond was posted by The Bail Project. The organization uses donations to bail people out of jail.
The new bill would make it a violation of the law for non-profit or charitable bail organizations to operate, furnish bail or funds to serve as bail, or make bail bonds.
Several non-profit bail organizations in Louisville, whose work was highlighted in the wake of COVID-19 and protests, such as the Louisville Community Bail Fund, stated their mission was to end mass incarceration and bring reform to criminal justice.
Other local groups, like the Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice organization, argued the cash bail system in itself is unfair and negatively impacts people who would be unable to pay, causing overcrowding in jails.
The bill will be sent to the Committee of Committees for review.
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