Sen. Grove‘s measure to make purchasing a child for sex a felony passes off Senate Floor, critical amendments left out

Senator Shannon Grove’s Senate Bill 1414 (SB 1414) passed off the Senate Floor with a vote of 36-0. SB 1414 addresses the lucrative crime of sex trafficking and aims to increase penalties for those who purchase children for sex. 

Prior to the floor vote, the Senate Public Safety Committee forced amendments into the bill that weakened protections for children ages 16 and 17. The Senate Appropriations Committee had the opportunity to strengthen the bill language, but failed to do so. 

SB 1414 is a bipartisan measure, joint authored by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced) and Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), and co-sponsored by Love Never Fails and 3Strands Global Foundation. 

“The crime of purchasing a child, of any age, for sex in the state of California should be a prison felony. I am incredibly disappointed in the Senate Pro Tem and Senate leadership for, once again, passing on an opportunity to restore amendments to the bill and stand up for all of California’s children. This outcome is a failure on the part of legislative leadership who caved to political pressure and did not prioritize the safety our children. We must restore this bill in the Assembly to protect every child in the state of California from the horrific crime of sex trafficking,” said Senator Shannon Grove.       

Forced Committee Amendments:

  • Soliciting or buying children 15 and under for sex can only be charged as a wobbler: either a misdemeanor (punishable by a minimum of 2 days in jail OR a fine or both) or a felony. Buying 16 and 17 year old children only punishable as a misdemeanor. 
  • Felony charge only carries possible jail time, not prison eligible.
  • Only perpetrators with a previous conviction of purchasing sex from a child 15 or under, on the second offense and with over a 10-year age gap to the victim must register as a tier one sex offender.

Senator Grove’s proposed amendments would have made it a prison felony for solicitation or purchasing sex from a child of any age and remove the 10-year age gap requirement for sex offender registry. 

Senator Grove will continue fighting on behalf of every child who is being bought and sold in the state of California. 

SB 1414 will have a hearing in the Assembly Public Safety Committee in either June or early July.