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California Assembly Public Safety committee forced to pass child sex trafficking bill | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


Days after facing political blowback for blocking a bill that would have classified child sex trafficking as a serious felony in California, the state’s Assembly Public Safety Committee was forced on Thursday to hold a special hearing to vote on the bill again and approve it. The measure passed 6-0, with two Democrats, Assemblymembers Mia Bonta and Isaac Bryan, not voting. “Selling our children in the state of California should not be an option, and I’m excited the public safety committee reconsidered the bill,” said State Senator Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, the author of the bill. Grove said on Thursday morning, the measure picked up 18 new coauthors, most of them Democrats. The move comes after the Democratic-led committee and Assembly faced backlash from the public and Democratic state leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, for halting the measure that aims to prevent repeat child sex traffickers from getting released from prison early. The measure is halfway through the legislative process and passed the California Senate unanimously with broad, bipartisan support. | PREVIOUS COVERAGE IN VIDEO ABOVE | Blocked child sex trafficking bill puts key California committee under fireDemocratic Majority Leader Isaac Bryan, who is also one of six Democrats on the committee who refused to vote for the bill on earlier this week, moved to waive rules on the Assembly floor Thursday morning that forced the committee to hear the bill again immediately. Bryan said he didn’t vote on the bill because he has concerns it would criminalize trafficking victims. “The people most vulnerable to being charged with trafficking are the victims of trafficking themselves,” Bryan tweeted. “Charges are used to leverage their cooperation in prosecution and their survivor status is erased with many currently incarcerated in both youth and adult prisons.” Grove responded to the criticism, noting she has changed the bill several times to appease similar concerns held by Democrats in the State Senate, which ultimately approved the bill. “We don’t want anyone who is a victim of violent crime like human trafficking to be charged or put in prison for that, that is not my intent, that is not what the bill says,” Grove said. Democratic Assemblymember Liz Ortega tweeted early Thursday morning that she made a mistake not voting for the bill earlier this week. “I made a bad decision. Voting against legislation targeting really bad people who traffic children was wrong. I regret doing that and I am going to help get this important legislation passed into law,” Ortega wrote. Republican lawmakers in the Assembly attempted to pull the bill out of the committee and force a floor vote on the measure Thursday. Democrats countered, claiming if the bill were to reach the floor and bypass the Appropriations Committee, the measure may not be fully funded. “It should not be this hard to pass good, common-sense policy that protects our children,” said Assembly Republican Minority Leader, James Gallagher. | MORE | Key California Assembly committee blocks bill to make child trafficking a ‘serious felony’The last-minute hearing marks the second time the committee’s chairman, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, has been forced to reverse course on his decision making as the leader of the powerful policy committee. Assembly leadership earlier this year forced the committee to have a hearing on a set of fentanyl-related bills after he initially announced he would not hear them. Despite voting for the child trafficking measure Thursday, Jones-Sawyer said the bill still needs work. “I’m trying to get to a perfect bill so that we’re able to help these young women in a way that’s never been done before,” he said. Child trafficking a growing problem in CaliforniaThe measure is supported by Sacramento County Sheriff and former Democratic Assemblyman Jim Cooper, who has said human trafficking has exploded exponentially in the last three decades that he’s been in law enforcement. Cooper blames laws passed out of the state capitol that don’t hold traffickers accountable. “We’ve had several arrests recently. We had three young girls, two 16-year-olds and a 13 year old who we rescued and we’re right now trying to prosecute their trafficker,” Cooper told KCRA 3 Thursday morning. “The issue with that is, under California law, he’s only going to do half his time for a life sentence, which is mind boggling in itself.” Dominique Brown, a former trafficking victim, was inside the state capitol Thursday when the Assembly Public Safety Committee reversed its decision. She said ten years ago, her trafficker was let out of prison after serving five years and attempted to contact her. Brown, who now works with child trafficking victims in Fresno, said she, too has seen a growing number of those affect by the crime. She said she is currently working with 40 children who are victims of trafficking, the youngest is 11 years old. She applauded the bill’s passage. “The trafficker knows kids are off limits,” she said. “This bill, knowing you can spend the rest of your life in jail if you come for our children, is a game changer.”

Days after facing political blowback for blocking a bill that would have classified child sex trafficking as a serious felony in California, the state’s Assembly Public Safety Committee was forced on Thursday to hold a special hearing to vote on the bill again and approve it.

The measure passed 6-0, with two Democrats, Assemblymembers Mia Bonta and Isaac Bryan, not voting.

“Selling our children in the state of California should not be an option, and I’m excited the public safety committee reconsidered the bill,” said State Senator Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, the author of the bill. Grove said on Thursday morning, the measure picked up 18 new coauthors, most of them Democrats.

The move comes after the Democratic-led committee and Assembly faced backlash from the public and Democratic state leaders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, for halting the measure that aims to prevent repeat child sex traffickers from getting released from prison early. The measure is halfway through the legislative process and passed the California Senate unanimously with broad, bipartisan support.

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| PREVIOUS COVERAGE IN VIDEO ABOVE | Blocked child sex trafficking bill puts key California committee under fire


Democratic Majority Leader Isaac Bryan, who is also one of six Democrats on the committee who refused to vote for the bill on earlier this week, moved to waive rules on the Assembly floor Thursday morning that forced the committee to hear the bill again immediately.

Bryan said he didn’t vote on the bill because he has concerns it would criminalize trafficking victims.

“The people most vulnerable to being charged with trafficking are the victims of trafficking themselves,” Bryan tweeted. “Charges are used to leverage their cooperation in prosecution and their survivor status is erased with many currently incarcerated in both youth and adult prisons.”

Grove responded to the criticism, noting she has changed the bill several times to appease similar concerns held by Democrats in the State Senate, which ultimately approved the bill.

“We don’t want anyone who is a victim of violent crime like human trafficking to be charged or put in prison for that, that is not my intent, that is not what the bill says,” Grove said.

Democratic Assemblymember Liz Ortega tweeted early Thursday morning that she made a mistake not voting for the bill earlier this week.

“I made a bad decision. Voting against legislation targeting really bad people who traffic children was wrong. I regret doing that and I am going to help get this important legislation passed into law,” Ortega wrote.

Republican lawmakers in the Assembly attempted to pull the bill out of the committee and force a floor vote on the measure Thursday. Democrats countered, claiming if the bill were to reach the floor and bypass the Appropriations Committee, the measure may not be fully funded.

“It should not be this hard to pass good, common-sense policy that protects our children,” said Assembly Republican Minority Leader, James Gallagher.

| MORE | Key California Assembly committee blocks bill to make child trafficking a ‘serious felony’


The last-minute hearing marks the second time the committee’s chairman, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, has been forced to reverse course on his decision making as the leader of the powerful policy committee. Assembly leadership earlier this year forced the committee to have a hearing on a set of fentanyl-related bills after he initially announced he would not hear them.

Despite voting for the child trafficking measure Thursday, Jones-Sawyer said the bill still needs work.

“I’m trying to get to a perfect bill so that we’re able to help these young women in a way that’s never been done before,” he said.

Child trafficking a growing problem in California

The measure is supported by Sacramento County Sheriff and former Democratic Assemblyman Jim Cooper, who has said human trafficking has exploded exponentially in the last three decades that he’s been in law enforcement.

Cooper blames laws passed out of the state capitol that don’t hold traffickers accountable.

“We’ve had several arrests recently. We had three young girls, two 16-year-olds and a 13 year old who we rescued and we’re right now trying to prosecute their trafficker,” Cooper told KCRA 3 Thursday morning. “The issue with that is, under California law, he’s only going to do half his time for a life sentence, which is mind boggling in itself.”

Dominique Brown, a former trafficking victim, was inside the state capitol Thursday when the Assembly Public Safety Committee reversed its decision. She said ten years ago, her trafficker was let out of prison after serving five years and attempted to contact her.

Brown, who now works with child trafficking victims in Fresno, said she, too has seen a growing number of those affect by the crime. She said she is currently working with 40 children who are victims of trafficking, the youngest is 11 years old. She applauded the bill’s passage.

“The trafficker knows kids are off limits,” she said. “This bill, knowing you can spend the rest of your life in jail if you come for our children, is a game changer.”

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