(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) California Democrats have again refused to advance legislation that would have strengthened the state’s child-trafficking laws, backtracking on their assurances that it would be approved after a titanic backlash when they originally blocked its enactment.
The bill would classify “trafficking of children and teenagers younger than 18 years old as a serious felony on par with murder, arson, and rape.” Under the state’s three-strikes law, anyone convicted of at least three serious felonies faces a prison sentence of between 25 years to life in prison.
The state’s Democrat-led General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee on Wednesday shuttled the bill to “the suspense file,” which one legislator described as “”legislative purgatory,” where bills are sent to die on the vine.
To the surprise of no one, SB 14, the bill to make child sex trafficking a serious felony, was placed in legislative purgatory today. The final hearing for the bill will be September 1st. Let the hand wringing begin. https://t.co/EIHS2ctJbZ
— Senator Melissa Melendez (@senatormelendez) August 16, 2023
The suspense file is stuffed with targeted bills that have a fiscal impact of more than $150,000, and are held by the committee chair, in this case a leftist Democrat, while its fate is decided based on the cost.
Public backlash was fast and ferocious, with critics noting the Democrats’ actions sending it to the appropriations committee were tantamount to putting a price tag on children.
“As the Appropriations Committee is evaluating the cost of incarcerating traffickers, I hope they will also take into account the basic services associated with the life-long rehabilitation of victims and survivors of this brutal crime,” said Republican Sen. Shannon Grove, who sponsored the bill.
“There is no price tag that can be placed on a victim of human trafficking, especially a child. Selling a child to be raped over and over again is a crime so grotesque, immoral and barbaric it should be prevented and stopped at any cost.”
Not according to the radical leftists controlling the state’s General Assembly.
“The notion that it isn’t a serious crime to traffic children for sex or labor is so absurd as to be laughable if it weren’t for the gravity of the situation,” Emily Hoeven wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“This reasoning — child trafficking should only be considered “serious” if the victim endures additional horrifying circumstances on top of being trafficked — illuminates how far some Democrats are willing to go to uphold ideological principles that, when carried to their logical extreme, are no longer morally defensible,” Hoeven wrote.
BREAKING: @shannongrove's #SB14, to classify child trafficking as a "serious" felony, has been placed on the Appropriations Suspense File — where, in a few weeks, the bill will either be passed and/or amended, or killed, without a peep.
Context on bill: https://t.co/AeCzBeSyqQ
— Emily Hoeven (@emily_hoeven) August 16, 2023