FILE - Prison, jail, inmates

(The Center Square) – A bill that would restrict charitable bail organizations is headed to the Kentucky Senate after the House passed it.

House Bill 313 passed by a 76-19 vote. The bill would limit the bail amount groups could post for individuals charged with crimes to $5,000. A floor amendment eliminating a provision calling for groups to name contributors ended up pulling in a few Democratic lawmakers.

The legislation, which passed Tuesday in the House, gained momentum in recent weeks after The Louisville Community Bail Fund posted $100,000 to gain the release of Quintez Brown, a Louisville activist and Metro Council candidate accused of attempted murder after shooting at Louisville mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg.

Neither Greenberg nor four of his staffers who were in the campaign office at the time of the alleged attack were injured, but a bullet did graze Greenberg’s clothing.

The bill, however, was named Madelynn’s Law, in honor of Madelynn Troutt, a teenager who died in an automobile crash after her vehicle was hit by Michael DeWitt. DeWitt eventually was charged with killing her, driving while intoxicated and driving a stolen vehicle.

The incident occurred after DeWitt was released from custody, thanks to the fund posting a $5,000 bail for him.

Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of the crash that killed Troutt.

“Unfortunately, some people have been bonded out that should have remained incarcerated,” said state Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, who co-sponsored the bill with state Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville. “And we’ve had citizens, young citizens, teenagers, lose their lives by the individuals that were bonded out.”

Meanwhile, since Brown was released into home incarceration, his attorney has been working on getting the 21-year-old a mental health evaluation and treatment.

The Louisville Urban League issued a statement Tuesday, criticizing the U.S. attorney’s office considering federal charges against Brown, who is a Black man. Group leaders said a move to charge Brown with federal crimes in connection with the shooting incident “could be disastrous” since federal charges may preclude him from getting the mental health services he needs.

“There are many cases in which the federal government waits on the local process to play out before weighing in,” the Urban League said. “This case should be no different. Mr. Brown needs to be able to continue with the treatment he needs.”

The Brown case and the debate about the bill have renewed debate about bail reform in Kentucky. Many see the issue as one of fairness in regards to socioeconomic status. A poor person charged with a misdemeanor may stay behind bars because they cannot afford to pay a $1,000 bail. Meanwhile, a more affluent person charged with a violent felony could be released if they can afford a six-figure sum.

“Don’t fix a broken legal system on the backs of poor people,” state Rep. Pamel Stevenson, D-Louisville, said on the House floor. “It’s consistent that what must happen is that we must fix the system. If we need a constitutional amendment so that we can have a bail not be set, then let’s do that.”