Additional context from IRG’s Director of State Budget and Government Reform, Alex Ignatowski
What happened? Voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that will allow judges to set bail based on prior convictions and risk to the community.
Why is it important? Previously, bail was set as means to ensure that a defendant returns for their next court hearing. After the tragic events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade, there was popular support for stricter bail on individuals charged with a crime. The legislature then approved an amendment to the constitution in two consecutive legislative sessions, leading to its inclusion on the ballot Tuesday.
What’s next? Aside from improving public safety, the amendment shows that good government reforms have popular appeal. Both amendments passed with more than 66% of the vote and now with this reform enshrined in the state constitution, it will be difficult to overturn.