As Rhode Island enters another legislative session, we should keep a careful eye on other states so we can spot progressives’ destructive plans when they make their way here. Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen points out, in the Washington Examiner, a big one out of California:
Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right.
SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.
Government imposes too many criminal penalties for people’s free activities, catching too many people up in the system and making it more difficult for them to overcome adversity and thrive. But can we at least agree that the underage sale of sex is a likely indicator that the public has an interest not in punishing the kids, but in taking a closer look at what their problems are?
To be sure, I’ve got a generally dark view of government’s ability to do such things, but as with legalizing marijuana, we have to acknowledge our current circumstances and consider the effects of changing them at this particular time in a particular way. If our society were healthier, with strong social institutions, instead of deteriorating ones, we might consider changes that will tend to produce socially harmful effects, but to do so in a rush of progressive ambition is lunacy.
ADDENDUM (12/31/16 4:16 p.m.):
In anticipation of objections, I should address immediately objections that the intent of the law is not as Allen suggests. Nobody should doubt that most progressives think they’re doing good by their actions. But consider this, from bill author Holly Mitchell:
The problem is that not every county has services available in juvenile justice for minor victims.
Followed with NBC’s note that:
Various district attorneys’ offices in the state have expressed a similar apprehension toward the law —but some say it’s because the state just isn’t ready to provide adequate services.
Good intentions can be deadly. If they feel, for whatever reason, that sex for money is in their best interest, CA children can now know that the worst-case will be services (for which they’re probably already eligible).