April 20th Update

Update: Results of Action after April 16th Alert

Thanks for your contacts and prayers.  Several of us attended the meeting to protest changes in H.B. 571, that appeared to accomplish the dreaded outcomes of S.B. 304 that had already died in committee for lack of a quorum.

Just minutes before the meeting convened, Representative Golick asked us to come out in the hall, so he could explain our worries away.  He assured us there is no connection between S.B. 304 and H.B. 571, pertaining to the State Sexual Offender Registry, although similarities in language caused our alarm.

Again, the next day, April 20th, I took all three versions of S.B. 304 to him and explained how the language moved from Code Section to Code Section, causing changes in H.B. 571 to appear as another move to accomplish S.B. 304’s goal.

First, S.B. 304 was in Code Section 16, relating to sexual offenses.  Then, the proposed committee substitute put it in Code Section 15, relating to juvenile offenses, victim compensation and programs and protection for children and youth.  That was outright confirmation that the goal of S.B. 304 was to provide victim compensation for juvenile workers in the sex trade.

In addition to that, Lt. Gov. Cagle’s legal staff had stated to us, personally, that the issue of S.B. 304, deeming juvenile sex workers eligible for victim compensation, would be back in the 2011 session.  So, we’re on high alert for bills that could be used to attach that language before this session is over.

We were assured on Monday, April 19th and I was assured again on Tuesday, April 20th, that H.B. 571 is not being used for that purpose, but we remain vigilant.  One other bill in the current process could be used as a vehicle, but hopefully, that won’t happen, either.

Again, I thank you for your wonderful response.  A really good thing has happened during this process.  Both House and Senate are very aware that any attempt to legalize or decriminalize prostitution, masturbation for hire or pornography (for any age) will be met with stiff opposition.