Home>Articles>Bill To Ban Arrests for Prostitution-Related Loitering Moves to Governor’s Desk

Senator Scott D. Wiener. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Bill To Ban Arrests for Prostitution-Related Loitering Moves to Governor’s Desk

‘This bill seems to be perfect if you want sex trafficking to even increase in California’

By Evan Symon, June 20, 2022 3:51 pm

A bill to ban arrests for “loitering with the intent of prostitution” was sent to the Governor’s desk on Monday, nine months after both houses of the state legislature first passed it.

Senate Bill 357, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would repeal all laws prohibiting loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution, or directing, supervising, recruiting, or aiding a person who is loitering with the intent to commit prostitution, or collecting or receiving all or part of the proceeds of an act of prostitution. In addition, those who have been convicted of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution can petition the court for dismissal and sealing of their offense or get it resentenced.

Senator Wiener had written the bill because the bill is discriminatory towards, and un fairly targets, black women, Latino women, and those who are transgender. When he introduced SB 357 last year, he also said that criminalizing sex workers does not make communities safer, that they do nothing to stop sex crimes against sex workers, and that sex workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect too.

“We’re experiencing a terrifying epidemic of violence against trans women of color, and we need to be proactive in improving their safety,” explained Senator last year in a statement. “Our laws should protect the LGBTQ community and communities of color, and not criminalize sex workers, trans people and Brown and Black people for quite literally walking around or dressing in a certain way. New York has led the way, and shown that it’s far past time we end this discriminatory targeting of suspected sex workers. We must stop enabling law enforcement to harass trans women of color on our streets. We need to stand with trans women of color and sex workers, and stand with all people fighting for autonomy and safety and against racist and transphobic discrimination.”

Critics have noted that legalized prostitution without penalties actually drastically increases human trafficking, with the bill adding to California’s string of arrest deductions that have led to an explosion of crime in cities statewide. Others worry that SB 357 could also lead to decriminalization of prostitution in the future.

“This bill seems to be perfect if you want sex trafficking to even increase in California,” said California Family Council spokesman Greg Burt. “This bill is really going to affect poor neighborhoods — it’s not going to affect neighborhoods where these legislators live.”

Frank Ma, a former police officer turned security consultant in San Francisco, added in a Globe interview that “This bill is reckless and dangerous. We’ve seen the correlation between reducing prostitution laws and higher crime rates, especially human trafficking, for some time now. This bill has nothing to do with discrimination or trying to make our cities safer like [Wiener] is claiming. It can only lead to more crime, which is exactly the last thing California needs right now.”

A nine month wait of being sent to Governor Newsom

Despite the heavy opposition, SB 357 passed both houses last year. While Republicans from both houses totally opposed it, with many Democrats joining the GOP leaders in either voting no or abstaining, the bill still ultimately passed, with the final Senate vote coming to 26-9 with 5 abstentions and the Assembly vote coming to a narrow 41-29 with 10 abstentions.

However, with such a narrow vote, Senator Wiener stopped the bill from going to Newsom last year, wanting more time to help show how prohibiting loitering with the intent of prostitution was good policy and was in live with Californian values. To the chagrin of supporters, public discourse has only turned around more on crime issues. Once for more progressive policies, citizens have now rallied against them, as they have led to large increases in crime due to the softening of arrest and jailing laws, as well as other policies that make it harder to prosecute many criminals.
Not helping the matter is that one of the bill’s main supporters, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, was just ousted in a recall due largely to his failed policies causing widespread crime increases. And with the issue still on the forefront going into the November elections, Wiener made the decision to bring the bill up to the Governor on Monday.

“Today we’re sending to the Governor SB 357, which passed last year,” tweeted Senator Wiener on Monday. “SB 357 repeals the crime “loitering w/ intent to commit prostitution.” An officer can arrest someone based on how they look. Arrests target trans women/women of color. Time to repeal it.”

“This seems risky,” added Ma. “Wiener seems to know that his window for getting this through is closing and that that understanding he wanted in the last nine months just did not come what with all the worry against crime. Now, a lot of vulnerable lawmakers this election have their reputations on the line by having their name attached to the vote on this. And so does Newsom. He’s kind of a shoe-in, but if he signs this, [GOP Gubernatorial candidate] Dahle will have a really good piece of evidence to hammer in how weak Newsom is on crime. Wiener may have waited until after the primary to send this up, in fact, he probably did, but it is still very risky to sign this.”

As of Monday afternoon, Governor Newsom has not said whether or not he would sign the bill into law.

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15 thoughts on “Bill To Ban Arrests for Prostitution-Related Loitering Moves to Governor’s Desk

  1. Will our CA cities be able to absorb the additional crime, drugs, sex trafficking, and unsafe streets that this bill will bring? In S.F., at least, I know they already look the other way for everything related to prostitution, supposedly viewing it as a benign, “victimless” crime, which it definitely is not. Street prostitution attracts every other sort of crime and problem like a magnet. No one wants this in their neighborhoods or on their city streets. Ask them! It is not benign.
    I’m glad that there was controversy in the legislature. I’m glad so many came out against it. But WHY on earth are we allowing the bills introduced by San Francisco Sen Scott Wiener and his friends to prevail in the state of California in the first place? It makes no sense. Not every Dem in the legislature is as nuts as the Wiener crowd. Do we really want every city in California to be destroyed by this sick culture as S.F. has been?
    If Gavin Newsom signs this he is bringing more crime and drugs and violence and trafficking to our city streets. He is already known to be a governor who has done everything possible to turn the state’s cities into brutal third world countries —- ask anyone who visits us from elsewhere! Does he really want to add more hell to the current hell of our once Golden State?

  2. Just as our lax enforcement of the vagrancy and drug laws has attracted the homeless from all over the country, this law will attract human traffickers from far and wide to California.

  3. A recent trip to San Francisco, to see some live music in the Tenderloin, brought 2 of my friends face to face with a young man who was face down, drooling and bare assed up near where they had parked their car.
    This kid was drugged out of his mind and they got the sense he had been raped, or something.
    This is San Francisco’s reality now.
    It is possible that this kid may have been loitering on Larkin street when a stranger (let’s call him John)
    established a commrodery with him (let’s call him a “trans woman of color or sex worker”)
    and ,perhaps, they easily obtained some drugs and then …..?
    I know for a FACT that the SFPD does not want to arrest trans people of any color because it is too difficult to book them and place them.
    If Scott Weiner was really trying to protect anybody , he would not have included the ‘protection for pimps’ clause into this bill.
    Or , is it that he is willing to jeopardize the safety of the real women and girls who will be affected by this bill for the handful of ” trans women of color and sex workers” that he feels need government protection ?
    The HUMAN PEOPLE who are being pimped and pandered and trafficked every day NEED to have the ‘system’ assess if they are being PIMPED,PANDERED OR TRAFFICKED!
    …We will never know if that kid in the alley could have avoided his fate that night if he had been “harrassed or arrested ” by the SFPD instead.

    1. Mary, to us what your friends witnessed and what you have described are HORRORS, not goals of society. Are Scott Wiener and his ilk going to claim they don’t know their legislative “work” inevitably leads to these nightmares? Are they going to pretend they don’t know that they have cheapened life, made human beings into objects for malevolent predators’ use and that absolutely nothing good can come from whatever it is they are working so hard to achieve? How about Gavin Newsom? Is he going to “lean in” to the dread and panic that has become just another day for so many on S.F. streets and elsewhere? WHY is our governor also pushing for a hell on earth for Californians? I’ll never understand the pursuit of what we are now seeing and living with in this state, not if I live to be a thousand years old.

  4. Why haven’t we recalled Scott Weiner ?
    Very well said, Show ,
    you are absolutely right .
    This make my blood boil !
    I have come to expect this from Scott Weiner,
    but I am so upset that ANY of the people that represent
    me voted yes on this !
    I guess the Pimp Caucasus lobbied hard for this bill ?
    WT actual F ?!?!

  5. Oh yes, the Pimp Lobby! In CA it sure looks like we actually have one.
    You’re so right, that anyone would vote YES on this is maddening (and astounding).
    What you wrote above about S.F. streets illustrated so dramatically and well why this law will only add another layer of hell to what is already there.
    Maybe one day we will see the beginning of the end of this nightmare for them (and for us).

  6. Thank you, Show.
    So , I call Senator Wieners office this afternoon and spoke with the man who answered the phone (not Scott) and I told him I needed to understand why they felt the need to include the ‘pimp clause’.
    This guy told me something about how the ‘ bottom b*tch gets arrested when she is DRIVING 5-6 girls around, and then she can not get a job.
    I almost hope that Newsom does ‘make it so’ because then we can can get him out of there for being soft on crime.
    New law- if you want my vote, go spend a week in the tenderloin with no cameras rolling for those photo ops.
    I really hope that katy will do a big expose about this.
    Newsom probably will sign it because this change in the law will allow prisoners to go free.
    Help us Katy G.

  7. As usual, the reasoning behind this dumb, pro crime bill is insulting to blacks and Hispanics. Since most of those contacted by police in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, loitering for prostitution and leaving used condoms behind in the same neighborhoods will likely be black or Hispanic, they will get a pass because………………..racism. But having those criminal activities in black and Hispanic neighborhoods is OK because…………………….Democ???? legislators and their governor ARE RACIST TO THE CORE. Keep voting them in.

  8. Here is my theory: Scott Wiener is Beelzebub (the Lord of the Flies) “reincarnated” and has been put here to oversee the restoration of two ancient cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, in California (San Francisco and Los Angeles).

  9. More proof that Scott Wiener is California’s resident sexual deviant lawmaker…

    He needs psychological help for his sexual fixations and perversions – he is NOT NORMAL and this law proves it…

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