The California legislature has passed SB 14, a bill that would classify child sex trafficking as a serious felony in the state. The measure received unanimous approval in the State Senate, with State Senator Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, who authored the bill, expressing satisfaction with the outcome. The bill is now awaiting Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature, and he has indicated his support for the measure. If signed into law, this would be the first time child sex trafficking is added to California’s three-strikes law, potentially leading to longer prison sentences for repeat offenders and those with prior serious felony convictions.
The purpose of SB 14 is to prevent repeat child sex traffickers from being released early from prison. Previous attempts to pass similar legislation have been unsuccessful. The bill faced initial opposition in the Assembly Public Safety Committee but was later approved after facing public backlash and pressure from Democratic state leaders, including Governor Newsom. The recent unanimous vote in the Senate was to approve minor technical changes made to the bill in the Assembly, ensuring that victims who may have been coerced into assisting traffickers are not wrongfully prosecuted.
The governor has until October 14 to sign or veto proposed laws.