Dahle says the pubic’s comments swayed legislators to move sex trafficking bill forward

They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and public opinion can make a difference, even in polarized red and blue world of today’s politics. Here’s a case in point.

On Wednesday, July 12, 1st District Assemblywoman Megan Dahle bitterly criticized the Assembly Public Safety Committee for killing a bill Tuesday, July 11, that would make sex trafficking of a minor a felony.

Megan Dahle

“The Assembly Public Safety Committee’s decision is a shocking betrayal of our commitment to protect the innocent and hold criminals accountable,” said Dahle, co-author of the bill, SB 14, said on Wednesday. “We must send a clear message that the exploitation of minors will not be tolerated in California and that the legislature values the safety of our children.

While this legislation may not seem to be such a controversial bill, the bill failed in committee without even a single aye vote from Democrats.

Ah, but Thursday, the committee revisited the bill, approved it and sent it on.

“This is a very important piece of legislation,” Dahle told Lassen News Thursday in an exclusive interview after the committee finally approved the bill. “It passed out of the Senate 40-0, so we were all shocked and very disappointed that it was held up yesterday in Public Safety. But with pressure from my caucus and from victims and survivors reaching out all the way up to the governor, we were able have it re-referred and heard again in Public Safety where it passed and will move on to appropriations.”

Dahle said the public pressure applied to elected officials on this issue made the difference and flipped the committee’s final vote.

“Earlier in the session we (Republicans) pushed when public safety wouldn’t hear the fentanyl bill that we proposed,” Dahle said. “I know we’re on the winning side of these issues. These are bipartisan issues people care about for the safety of their children. People should be held accountable both for selling fentanyl that kills as well as sex trafficking a minor … On these two issues it’s very partisan. These issues affect all of our communities whether you’re Republican or Democrat, and we need to come up with some real solutions … “

Down in the deep blue heartland of the state capitol, they saw it differently.  According to a story in the Sacramento Bee, “A bipartisan outcry led by (California) Governor Gavin Newsom caused the bill to come back before the committee whose members promptly voted for it — save for (Democrats) Mia Bonta and Isaac Bryan, who abstained.”