California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) made an unusual intervention on Wednesday to save a Republican-authored bill that Democrats had blocked in the State Assembly that would make trafficking a minor a “serious felony.”
As Breitbart News reported Wednesday, Democrats blocked the bill, which had already passed the State Senate unanimously:
Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced the bill, SB 14, which also notes that California leads the nation in reported cases of human trafficking of minors. The inclusion of trafficking a minor as a “serious felony” would make that crime ineligible for plea bargaining in most circumstances and would require that the crime be included under the state’s 1990s-era “Three Strikes” law, allowing for life imprisonment after three felonies.
However, Grove noted Tuesday, the Public Safety Committee, led by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), declined to advance the bill.
The scourge of human trafficking is dramatized in the surprise independent box office hit Sound of Freedom, which has drawn audiences across the nation, surpassing recent mainstream Hollywood studio releases.
Now, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Newsom is intervening with legislators to help save the bill:
In an unusual move, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the leader of the California Assembly say they are working with a conservative lawmaker on her bill to increase criminal consequences for child sex trafficking after progressive Democrats shot the bill down in committee.
The move comes as Newsom and other state leaders are under increasing pressure to not be seen as soft on crime. While the state’s violent and property crime rates are at relative lows compared to recent decades, Californians’ concerns about crime are rising, according to polling by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Newsom said he was surprised to see the measure die, and said he called Grove on Wednesday morning to discuss it.
Newsom is at pains to appear tougher on crime, despite endorsing radical left-wing prosecutors like George Gascón, who have led criminals out on the streets in the name of “criminal justice reform” in California cities.
The governor has said that he is not running for president in 2024, but is widely seen as preparing for a future presidential run, and has challenged Republican governors in “red” states on a variety of social issues.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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