Amid pressure, Calif. Dems reverse course, advance human trafficking bill

After days of pressure from both Republicans, the Assembly Public Safety Committee reconsidered Senate Bill 14.

Two days after killing a bill that would classify human trafficking of minors as a serious felony, California Democrats reversed course on Thursday and moved the legislation along through the Assembly Public Safety Committee. 

The change came after the committee members faced backlash from the public and their colleagues over the past couple of days. 


The backstory: Senate Bill 14 was introduced by Senators Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield), Anna Caballero (D–Merced) and Susan Rubio (D–Baldwin Park) and had 30 other Republicans and Democrats sign on as coathors. 

  • SB 14 would classify human trafficking of minors for the purposes of a commercial sex act as a serious felony and also make it a strike under California’s Three Strikes law. 
  • On Tuesday, SB 14 only received one vote in the Assembly Public Safety Committee as every Democrat abstained from voting, effectively killing the legislation. 
  • The bill had already been approved by the Senate with unanimous support in May. 

Driving the news: Thursday, Assembly Republicans tried to force a floor vote on the bill by pulling it out of the committee, yet Democrats instead moved to force the Public Safety Committee to reconsider SB 14. 

  • The committee immediately held a hearing for the bill, which achieved bipartisan support and passed 6-0. Assemblymembers Mia Bonta (D–Alameda) and Isaac Bryan (D–Jefferson Park) did not vote. 
  • SB 14 now heads to the Appropriations Committee before moving to the Assembly floor for a final vote. 
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