Gavin Newsom Responds to Legal Push Regarding Child Predators

On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) took an unusual step to rescue a Republican-authored bill that had been blocked by Democrats in the State Assembly. The bill aimed to classify trafficking a minor as a “serious felony.”

Earlier in the week, the bill, known as SB 14 and introduced by Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), had received unanimous approval in the State Senate. 

It highlighted the alarming number of reported cases of human trafficking of minors in California. 

California’s “Three Strikes” law drawn up in the 1990s would make human trafficking of a minor a severe felony, eliminate plea bargaining, and mean life imprisonment if the perpetrator commits as many as three felonies.

However, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), the chair of the Public Safety Committee, refused to advance the bill, disappointing Grove and others who supported the measure.

In a surprising move, Governor Newsom, along with the leader of the California Assembly, has now expressed their willingness to collaborate with a conservative lawmaker on the bill, aiming to strengthen the criminal consequences for child sex trafficking. 

This intervention comes in response to progressive Democrats rejecting the bill in committee.

The governor’s involvement reflects the mounting pressure Newsom and other state leaders face to address public concerns about rising crime rates. 

Despite California experiencing relatively low levels of violent and property crimes compared to previous decades, citizens’ worries about crime have been increasing, as indicated by polling conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Expressing surprise at the bill’s failure, Newsom reached out to Grove on Wednesday morning to discuss the matter. 

Despite his support for left-wing prosecutors advocating criminal justice reform, such as George Gascón, Newsom is striving to present a tough stance on crime. 

Although he has stated that he will not run for president in 2024, Newsom is widely believed to be preparing for a future presidential bid. 

He has also argued with Republican governors from “red” states on various social issues.