A bipartisan effort to classify human trafficking of minors for the purposes of a commercial sex act as a serious felony was killed by Democrats in the California Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.
This is the second year in a row where Sen. Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield) leaves empty handed in her attempt to clamp down on human trafficking in California.
The backstory: Last year, Grove introduced a similar bill that would have classified human trafficking of all ages to the list of serious and violent felonies but was halted by the Senate Public Safety Committee.
- Grove introduced her modified bill this year along with Sen. Anna Caballero (D–Merced) and Sen. Susan Rubio (D–Baldwin Park).
- Along with her two Democratic colleagues, Grove also had 30 other Republicans and Democrats in both houses sign on as coauthors to Senate Bill 14 – a rare coalition of bipartisan support in the California Legislature.
Driving the news: While human trafficking of a minor for purposes of commercial sex is already punishable by up to 12 years in prison – and 15 years if the crime involves force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or the threat of injury – SB 14 would have also made the crime a strike under the Three Strikes law.
The big picture: The Senate had already passed SB 14 in May with unanimous support, yet the Assembly Public Safety Committee only produced one yes vote from Asm. Tom Lackey (R – Palmdale). Asm. Juan Alanis (R–Modesto), the only other Republican on the committee, was not present for the vote.
- The six Democrats on the committee abstained from voting.