Newsom signs new California crime and school laws | News | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Gov. Gavin Newsom has decided the fate of two more high-profile bills — one on criminal justice and the other on public schools.

File photo of Gov. Gavin Newsom

On Monday, Sept. 25, the governor signed Senate Bill 14 into law, reclassifying child sex trafficking into a serious felony that increases prison sentences, saying that “California is going further to protect kids.” Sen. Shannon Grove, a Republican from Bakersfield and author of the bill, said in a statement that the measure is a “huge victory for California’s children and the survivors of sex trafficking.”

Grove said, “I want to thank the thousands of Californians who called or visited legislative offices, signed petitions, and spoke out on social media. We are here today because of the overwhelming public outrage that propelled this bill through the legislature and ultimately helped protect our children from predators.”

During an online press conference after the signing, Grove said “it should have never been this hard” to get the bill through, referring to the political fireworks as the measure journeyed to Newsom’s desk. In July, the Assembly public safety committee, led by Democratic Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles, initially stalled the bill in part due to criticisms from civil rights and progressive criminal justice groups. They argued that harsher sentences do not deter crime; that there are already laws that sufficiently punish traffickers; and that those at the lowest rungs, who may be trafficked themselves, will bear the brunt of legal punishments.

The blocking of the bill led to an uproar from Assembly Republicans; new Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas and Newsom also got involved. During a debate to send the bill back to the committee (which reversed course and passed the measure), Assemblymember Heath Flora, a Republican from Ripon, urged his fellow lawmakers to “choose your team — pick pedophiles or children.” Jones-Sawyer reported that women on the committee received death threats as well.

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