Senate Bill 357 to legalize loitering with intent to engage in prostitution
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – California Senate Democrats passed Senate Bill 357, which prohibits law enforcement from citing loitering as evidence of sex work.
However, the bill’s author actually moved to delay sending the measure to the governor’s desk.
The measure is not yet a law and won’t arrive on Gov. Newsom’s desk until January 2022.
State Sen. Patricia Bates, representing the 36th Senate District, joined KUSI’s Ginger Jeffries on Good Evening San Diego to discuss more details on the measure.
Democrats who supported the bill said that law enforcement too often profiles people, especially Black, brown and transgender people, and gives them a misdemeanor, which keeps them from finding stable housing and employment.
The office of the bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Fransisco, has said that the current law allows police to cite situations such as when a person speaks to pedestrians, wears revealing clothing, or moves in some particular way as clues on whether that person has the intention to engage in sex work.
Republicans and moderate Democrats have argued that the measure mitigates law enforcement’s ability to police human trafficking and protect victims.
New York has already decriminalized their loitering, leading to rampant sex activity on the streets of the Bronx, Sen. Bates said.
Based on much of the testimony coming from law enforcement, it does more harm than good, Sen. Bates concluded.