Assemblymember Rob Bonta during a Public
Safety Committee hearing in April.

A legislative analysis of East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s widely-watched bail reform bill estimates its costs will run in the “hundreds of millions of dollars” in state reimbursements for counties to establish and administer the proposed pretrial services agency.

Bonta’s Assembly Bill 42 seeks to reform what he describes as a broken money bail system in California that discriminate against the poor who may be unlikely to afford bail and those with the financial means who can.

The bill also allows defendants to be released while their trial is pending and requires each county to set up a pretrial services agency to help discern whether those arrested are a threat if released on their own reconnaissance.

Additional on-going costs for court-appointed counsel, according to the analysis by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, could be in between “tens to hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The establishment of each county’s agency to comply with risk assessments, monitoring and assistance will add tens of millions to the proposed law’s tab.

Other fiscal effects, including between $200,000 and $300,000 to develop annual reporting requirements and unknown costs to trial courts.

Some of the costs, though, may be offset by “significant savings to counties for reduced incarceration costs,” according to the analysis.

AB 42 was approved, 4-2, by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 18 and is scheduled for the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday morning.