The legislation — SB0587 sponsored by state Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol — is one of two bills pending in the state General Assembly aimed at reducing the burden on local jails to house non-violent offenders who are waiting to be heard in court on a misdemeanor charge. Washington County commissioners will vote on a resolution Monday night endorsing passage of both bills.
Lundberg said his amended legislation would allow law enforcement officers to issue citations instead of arresting defendants charged with specific non-violent crimes. The bill removes what proponents say is a vague and difficult burden on officers to determine if the offender will show up for their court date before issuing a citation.
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