Following public outcry and a steady stream of testimony in the state Senate on Friday, lawmakers in Hawaii vowed to end an exemption which allows police officers to engage in sexual acts with prostitutes while in the course of their duties.
House Bill 1926 was originally intended as a prostitution penalty reform bill. As it was originally written, the new bill would have removed the exemption altogether. However, following testimony from police officials, lawmakers in the House reinstated the provision and passed the bill, sending it on to the state Senate with the exemption back in place. Since then, advocates, policy experts and even other police officials have openly questioned and in some cases expressed outrage over the policy.
On Friday, the state Senate heard testimony about the bill which, as expected, was pretty mind-blowing. One lawyer, Myles Breiner, testified that a client of his had sex with at least three officers before being charged with prostitution, according to KITV. (I'm sorry, what did I just write? Three officers? This is a joke, right?)
By the way, Breiner also pointed out that, according to the law, you don't actually have to engage in any sex act to be arrested for prostitution. "[The] statute, the language has not changed. Crime is committed by verbal agreement," he said. "You don't need to engage in sex to commit the offense. It's ludicrous." (My years and years of tirelessly studying episodes of Cops also backs up Briener's legal assesment.)
This so-called "exemption" is looking more and more like bullshit everyday. Thankfully, it looks like many lawmakers are coming to their senses, via KITV.
"You can expect that exemption will be out of the recommendations of the chair," said [Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee Chairperson Clayton] Hee.
Added Democratic Sen. Malama Solomon, who represents Hilo: "I find that appalling. I just can't understand how that can happen."
two of us all of us, Senator Solomon.The Judiciary Committee voted on Friday to defer a vote on until March 28 and at this point it appears lawmakers will vote on a bill without the controversial exemption (FINGERS CROSSED).
Image via AP Images.