Last Updated on June 22, 2022
California lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk which seeks to stop law enforcement from arresting prostitutes on charges of loitering.
The bill, if passed, would allow those already convicted on loitering charges to ask the court system to dismiss their case and be granted a seal of the record of conviction.
Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener, who introduced the bill, believes police officers disproportionately target transgender, Black, and Latino prostitutes.
Critics of the bill believe this will hurt the quality of life in already crime-ridden neighborhoods.
California Family Council spokesman, Greg Burt, believes this could lead to prostitution being decriminalized entirely. “This bill seems to be perfect if you want sex trafficking to even increase in California,” he said. “This bill is really going to affect poor neighborhoods — it’s not going to affect neighborhoods where these legislators live.”
While the bill passed through the California legislature in September of 2021, Senator Wiener, a homosexual, waited to send the bill to Newsom’s desk until Pride Month.
“It is more important than ever to get rid of a law that targets our community,” Wiener said.
“Pride isn’t just about rainbow flags and parades. It’s about protecting the most marginalized in our community,” he added.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department warned of the repercussions of the bill, if it passes. The Sheriff’s Department explained how the current law is “often used to keep prostitutes from hanging around public places, business, and residential communities, which can breed crime and drug use.”
Wiener held a differing narrative, claiming the current law “essentially allows law enforcement to target and arrest people if they are wearing tight clothes or a lot of makeup.”
The Governor has 12 days to sign or veto the measure.
Stay tuned to National File for any updates.