SB 14 was introduced by Shannon Grove and passed the California Senate unanimously. That makes sense, as the common sense bill makes trafficking children a “serious felony” under state law, mainly so that the crime counts toward the Three Strikes law. Democrats in the State Assembly, however, blocked the bill. That prompted Gov. Newsom to intervene and the bill was later advanced.
Describing why the change would be important, The bill notes that “Existing law defines the term “serious felony” for various purposes, including, among others, enhancing the punishment for felonies pursuant to existing sentencing provisions commonly known as the Three Strikes Law.”
Continuing, it describes what would change, saying, “This bill would include human trafficking of a minor within the definition of a serious felony for all purposes, including for purposes of the Three Strikes Law. By expanding the scope of an enhancement, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”
Unfortunately, the bill was blocked by the state’s public Safety Committee, which is led by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles). Jones-Sayer is the author of a California bill that would allow judges in the state to “rectify racial bias” in the criminal justice system with sentencing.
Sen. Sawyer took to Twitter to call out the Assembly’s horrendous decision, saying, “SB 14 Update—After passing the Senate with a unanimous, bipartisan vote, I had hoped Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, led by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, would agree to make sex trafficking of a minor a serious felony. I am profoundly disappointed that committee Democrats couldn’t bring themselves to support the bill, with their stubborn and misguided objection to any penalty increase regardless of how heinous the crime.”
Continuing, she said, “Human trafficking of children is a growing tragedy that disproportionately targets minority girls, and California is a hotbed because of our lenient penalties. The sad reality is that trafficked children on Figueroa Street and across California will continue to be raped and victimized until Assembly Democrats take action. Since the bill was granted reconsideration, I will continue to work with the committee and fight for Californians who are outraged by their decision.”
SB 14 Update—After passing the Senate with a unanimous, bipartisan vote, I had hoped Democrats on the Assembly Public Safety Committee, led by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, would agree to make sex trafficking of a minor a serious felony. I am profoundly disappointed that… pic.twitter.com/al3KoD1qw6
— Senator Shannon Grove (@ShannonGroveCA) July 11, 2023
But then even Newsom was upset by what Jones-Sawyer did and, as the Sacramento Bee reports, intervened. That outlet said, “But Republican protest and intervention from Newsom and Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, prompted a last-minute committee meeting that allowed the bill to move forward.” The bill has now moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which will be its last stop before the Assembly body will consider it.
The original decision to block the ant-trafficking bill comes alongside attempts from the media to smear “Sound of Freedom,” a movie exposing child trafficking, as a conspiracy film.
Appearing on CNN, for example, Mike Rothschild said, “And you have a lot of people who are in this world of Q anon who say, ‘Oh, they don’t know what that is. I’ve never heard of it. They’re just asking questions with somebody like Jim Caviezel.’ He is openly embracing it. He’s openly using its catchphrases and its concepts. He’s speaking at Q anon conventions, and this film is being marketed to either specific Q anon believers or to people who believe all of the same tenets is queuing on, but claim they don’t know what it is.”
Rothschild also said, “But these films are created out of moral panics. They’re created out of bogus statistics. They’re created out of fear. And it was something like Sound of Freedom. It specifically is looking at…concepts of these child trafficking rings that are run by the high-level elites. And only people like Tim Ballard and only people like Jim Caviezel, and by extension, only people like the ticket buyer can help bring these trafficking rings down. So there’s a very participatory elements. You’re not just going to see a movie you’re just killing two hours on a hot day. You are helping bring down these these pedophile rings and save children.”
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